Paper Money

Don Kelly sells rights to national bank note reference

A new chapter in documenting the history of national bank note was begun during the recent June 9 to 12 International Paper Money Show in Memphis, Tenn.

Don C. Kelly, author of National Bank Notes — A Guide with Prices, announced he had sold the intellectual property rights to his book and the National Bank Note Census project information to national bank note collector Andrew Shiva of New York.

It was 30 years ago when the first edition of the book was introduced to the collecting public in New Orleans during the 1981 American Numismatic Association annual convention.

The 500-plus page book is now considered the standard guide for those who collect national bank notes.

Kelly said in Memphis that he would continue to “dabble” in the paper money business but decided the time was right to hand over custody of the information to a like-minded person.

Kelly said he began collecting in 1963 and placed his first commercial paper money ad in the classified ad pages of Coin World in 1969. He said he got started collecting paper money when he bought a set of Federal Reserve notes from Luther Witt, a dealer in Franklin, Ohio.

As he moved along in his collecting life he met John Hickman, whom Kelly called “inspirational.” Hickman, who died in 1995, was a researcher of national bank notes and willingly shared his information with his fellow collectors.

Kelly and Shiva both want to keep Hickman’s memory alive by sharing information about national bank notes.

Shiva, a clinical forensic psychologist, said he is in the process of establishing a currency foundation to “promote the hobby and provide bias free and factually based information.” He said a website devoted to national bank note information is in the works.

During the Memphis show Shiva presented a special display of 126 national bank notes with information about the signers.

Shiva said he and Kelly will be working closely together on the next edition of the national bank note book, which they say they expect to publish in late 2013 or early 2014. Kelly said he would co-author that edition with Shiva.

Anyone wanting more information about the future plans of Kelly and Shiva can contact Kelly by telephone at (513) 523-6861 or by email at or by visiting his website at ¦

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