|Click on this photo to enlarge it and read the names of the 1954 First National staff.
It was launched in 1854 as the Provincetown Bank in a new building at 290 Commercial Street, known today as Puzzle Me This. It became a national bank in 1865 with its capital stock doubling from $100,000 to $200,000. It was quite different from Seamen’s Savings Bank, which had incorporated in 1851 as a mutual bank, owned not by stockholders but rather by its depositors, and remaining so today.
|The 1854 original building at 290 Commercial Street still stands,
now hidden by a newer front added on in stages, beginning in 1921.
|Picture bright colors, harlequin flags and benches in front of Puzzle Me This.
The American Revolution had been financed by the printing of paper money, basically an IOU, to pay the soldiers and suppliers, who could spend these notes just like the reserve of gold and silver coins that theoretically backed up these bills.
Soon banks in various states were printing their own notes, and a dollar issued in one state could be worth a lot less elsewhere. Eventually President Lincoln signed the National Currency Act, declaring the federal dollar as the sole United States currency, with a couple of thousand federally chartered banks printing the notes. Each particular design and denomination looked alike, wherever it had been printed, except for the name of the bank and its charter number, appearing on every note. The charter number of the First National Bank of Provincetown was 736.
|This 1882 series $5 note was a brownback rather than a greenback.
|This crisp, clean 1863 series $50 Provincetown note is worth about $13,734.
So keep an eye out when you come across old books, papers, boxes, trunks and the like, when you tear down a wall, or even visit a thrift shop or yard sale. If you see something that vaguely looks like money, it may be worth something.