Writer tells story of one woman's contribution to Illinois national bank

Hilliard finds woman who signed national bank notes
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Published : 09/14/11
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The story of the woman who signed national bank notes in a small Illinois town is the focus of an article in the September-October issue of Paper Money, the journal published by the Society of Paper Money Collectors.

Two banks served the needs of the citizens of Noble, Ill. — the Bank of Noble and the First National Bank of Noble, according to Carroll Hilliard. He writes about a visit to the Noble area a number of years ago to look for photographs of the banks and the officers who worked in them.

“It was a typically hot southern Illinois day and I had been to a couple of the local businesses inquiring about where the bank buildings had been located. While in one of those business, I was told that a lady down the street had been employed in one of the banks in prior years and that she might be able to help me with my search,” Hilliard writes.

“I made the short jaunt down the street and found myself at the home of John and Juanita Shafer. Mr. Shafer ran a grocery store and his father had been employed in the Bank of Noble. Mrs. Shafer had been employed in the First National Bank.”

In addition to John Shafer’s bank connection, Mrs. Shafer’s father, Homer F. Diel, was cashier of the First National Bank of Noble. One of Diel’s duties “was to hand-sign the sheets of notes when they were delivered to the bank, and ... her job was to take a very large pair of scissors that had been issued to the bank and cut the sheets into individual notes,” according to Hilliard.

But a surprise awaited Hilliard when Mrs. Shafer said, “The [bank] president was a very busy man and he just didn’t have the time to sit down and sign all of those notes.” She admitted to signing his name to some of the notes.

Among the other stories in this issue: John Gavel writes about the “tipping point” involving paper money and the economy and Harold Don Allen writes about five notes with interesting stories.

C. John Ferreri writes about a trade card — a small printed card for advertising goods and services — with an element that is reminiscent of a patented anti-counterfeitng technique. The technique involved printing steps to create design elements that could not be photographically duplicated.

Lee Lofthus and Peter Huntoon write about the “out in 1910” national bank note trap — “out in 1910” being a term used to describe “the dollar total issued to the bank less the value of notes redeemed from circulation through 1910,” according to the writers. Lofthus and Huntoon state that the figures can be misleading and suggest collectors and dealers be careful in using the data to judge a bank’s note issues.

Christopher B. Kuch offers his suggestions about changing American paper money and coin designs.

The background of Mary O. Movius, president of a national bank, is told by Karl Sanford Kabelac.

For more information about the society, contact the Society of Paper Money Collectors, c/o Frank Clark, Box 117060, Carrollton, TX 75011-7060, or visit the society’s website at www.spmc.org. ■

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