Editor's note: The following is the first of a three-part Coin World series about collecting national bank notes using knowledge of U.S. geography and the alphabet, prepared by Michele Orzano for the November 2014 monthly edition of Coin World.
By combining knowledge of the alphabet with a bit of geography, a collector could start on a journey to collect small-size national bank notes in a nontraditional, but no less fun, manner.
Depending on the grade/condition of the notes, no deep pockets are required for this collection. The higher the grade and denomination of the note, obviously, the more you will pay. But with this type of customizable collection you can decide what’s the most fun for you.
Some letters of the alphabet will need to be skipped at first (B, E, J, Q, X and Z), but never fear, there’s a way to incorporate those letters into a specialized sub-set on the same theme. We’ll explore that a little later.
Small-size national bank notes were issued between July 1929 and May 1935. They were printed in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.
Now let’s move on to selecting alphabetically the states that had national banks that issued small-size notes.
From the “A” list of states where national banks issued small-size notes — Alabama, Alaska, Arizona and Arkansas — I selected Arizona and a note from the Consolidated National Bank of Tucson as the first note in the “collection.”
The bank received its charter to issue large-size nationals in 1890 while Arizona was still a territory. It became a state in 1912, and by 1929 the bank was issuing small-size national bank notes.
Fun fact: Tucson has had four different national flags fly over it through the years — Spain, Mexico, Confederate States of America and the United States.