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National Bank Note Guide To US National Currency - 1862 to 1935

The image below shows a Series 1902 national bank note.
Nationals have many elements and it's not immediately clear what they all mean.
This is my attempt to explain the elements of national currency.
There are different forms of national note but once you know the elements in one, you know them all.
Hover over any element that you want to know about and read the description.
If you have a national bank note and want to know more about it, click here.



1902 $5.00 National Bank Note Blue Seal Bank Charter Number
This is a unique number assiged to indicate which exact bank the note is from.One way to think of this number is that it's the banks Social security number.
The Charter numbers run from 1 to 14320 (FNB Philadelphia to Louisville, KY)
This Charter number appears 8 times on this bill.
See if you can spot them all.Bank Charter Number
This is a unique number assiged to indicate which exact bank the note is from.One way to think of this number is that it's the banks Social security number.
The Charter numbers run from 1 to 14320 (FNB Philadelphia to Louisville, KY)
This Charter number appears 8 times on this bill.
See if you can spot them all.Bank Charter Number
This is a unique number assiged to indicate which exact bank the note is from.One way to think of this number is that it's the banks Social security number.
The Charter numbers run from 1 to 14320 (FNB Philadelphia to Louisville, KY)
This Charter number appears 8 times on this bill.
See if you can spot them all.Bank Charter Number
This is a unique number assiged to indicate which exact bank the note is from.One way to think of this number is that it's the banks Social security number.
The Charter numbers run from 1 to 14320 (FNB Philadelphia to Louisville, KY)
This Charter number appears 8 times on this bill.
See if you can spot them all.Bank Charter Number
This is a unique number assiged to indicate which exact bank the note is from.One way to think of this number is that it's the banks Social security number.
The Charter numbers run from 1 to 14320 (FNB Philadelphia to Louisville, KY)
This Charter number appears 8 times on this bill.
See if you can spot them all.Bank Charter Number
This is a unique number assiged to indicate which exact bank the note is from.One way to think of this number is that it's the banks Social security number.
The Charter numbers run from 1 to 14320 (FNB Philadelphia to Louisville, KY)
This Charter number appears 8 times on this bill.
See if you can spot them all.Bank Charter Number
This is a unique number assiged to indicate which exact bank the note is from.One way to think of this number is that it's the banks Social security number.
The Charter numbers run from 1 to 14320 (FNB Philadelphia to Louisville, KY)
This Charter number appears 8 times on this bill.
See if you can spot them all.Bank Charter Number
This is a unique number assiged to indicate which exact bank the note is from.One way to think of this number is that it's the banks Social security number.
The Charter numbers run from 1 to 14320 (FNB Philadelphia to Louisville, KY)
This Charter number appears 8 times on this bill.
See if you can spot them all.Bank Serial Number
This is the running serial number that is unique to the bank.This number started at 1 and ran until the bank stopped issuing the type.This number would be on every note in the sheet with four notes to a sheet.Treasury Serial Number
This serial number is the Treasurys running count.When this batch of notes was completed the next bank on the press.got the next treasury serial number in order but their own bank number.Cashiers Signature
This is the signature of the cashier at the bank.This signature is stamped with purple ink which isn't uncommon.Presidents Signature
This is the signature of the President at the bank.This signature is hand signed and is what we would call a vanity signature.Hand signed is preferable to stamped and vanity signatures are always nice.Occasionally this signature is the Vice-Presidents.When this happens there is generally a hand written V. or Vice near the serial number.Plate Letter
This is a letter that indicates the notes position in the sheet.This letter has no effect on value.Series Indicator
This shows the series of note, 1902 in this case.This is not the year the note was issued, but when the design was introduced.Possible values for series are 1875, 1882, 1902 and 1929A note with no 'Series' indicator is an original series note from 1865.Register of the Treasurer
This was an office in the Treasury Department.This was on nearly all currency until 1923.Treasurer of the United States
This position is basically the US Governments Banker.interestingly, the last male appointed to this role was in 1949.National Bank City and State
The City and State where the National bank that issued this note is located.These notes are largely collected by location so this is a key value.Bank Charter Issue Date
This is the date the bank was issued a Federal Charter.This date is often thought of as the date the note was issued.Sadly, there is no perfect way to know when a note was released.Bank Title Block
This is the name of the bank that issued the national bank note.With over 14,000 national banks some of these titles can be pretty amusing.Treasury Seal
This is the Seal of the Treasury and it's on every US note ever issued.
For national currency it can be blue, red or brown.