Paper Money

Higgins Museum announces topics of 2018 forum

Among the topics at the Higgins Museum 2018 National Bank Note Seminar, set for July 26, is Steve Sweeney’s “The Iowa Census; Evolving & Maturing.” Shown is one of the national bank notes from Iowa that he tracks — an Original Series $2 note from the Clinton National Bank.

Original images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

The program is prepared for the Higgins Museum 2018 National Bank Note Seminar, set for Thursday, July 26. 

Six speakers are scheduled for the event at the Okoboji, Iowa, museum: Peter Huntoon, Mark Drengson, Steven J. Sweeney, Larry Adams, Michael B. Scacci, and Mark B. Anderson. Continental breakfast will be available at 8 o’clock on Thursday morning, with the program scheduled to get underway at 8:45. Early arrivals from outside the area are invited to attend a welcome reception from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday evening, July 25.

Peter Huntoon will offer a presentation on the 1873 to 1885 currency design era that was dominated by the work of designer and inventor George Casilear. As chief engraver at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, he patented the lettering process that dominated every new series of paper currency produced during that time-frame.

Minnesota specialist Mark Drengson will examine “National Banks, Bankers and Banknotes of Southern Minnesota,” concentrating his focus on the issues of the southwestern corner of the state. 

Past Society of Paper Money Collectors president Mark Anderson, drawing on banking history recorded by his grandfather, will present “A Tale of Two Wisconsin Banks; Comparable Inceptions, Divergent Outcomes,” an examination of a pair of the state’s rural banks that shared close proximity.

Steve Sweeney, co-author of Iowa National Bank Notes, will discuss “The Iowa Census; Evolving & Maturing.” As the project’s still active “census keeper,” he will provide valuable insights into the value and vagaries of census records. 

Finally, Higgins curator Larry Adams and president Michael Scacci will jointly explore counterfeits in “Reasons to Not Fire an Engraver; Counterfeits from 1862 to 1920,” a presentation tied to the Bob McCabe reference Counterfeiting and Technology.

The registration fee for the seminar is $75. Registration applications and remittances should be directed to The Higgins Museum, 1507 Sanborn Ave., P. O. Box 258, Okoboji, IA 51355. 

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The Society of Paper Money Collectors is the lead co-sponsor of the seminar. Other sponsors are the Central States Numismatic Society and the Professional Currency Dealers Association. 

A discounted registration fee of $60 is available to members of these groups and the Iowa Numismatic Association.

For additional information on the 2018 Higgins Museum National Bank Note Seminar, contact curator Larry Adams at 515-432-1931, or email him at

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