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Currency Appraisal and Old Paper Money Dealer
Greg Davis
Back to National Currency Summary

National Gold Bank Notes (1870 - 1875)

National Gold Bank Notes are rare and wonderful relatives to National Currency.
The notes were issued from select National Banks and redeemable in gold between 1870 and 1875.
They were only issued by a handful of banks all but one of which was in California.
The outlier was Kidder National Gold Bank of Boston. No notes are known from Kidder.
These notes are similar to national bank notes of the period but the paper they are printed on is tinted gold.
One of the coolest features of the notes are the backs which have images of circulating gold coinage of the period.
This feature makes them a natural cross over collectible for the coin collectors of the world.
Similar to the Morgan back Silver certificate of 1886.
The notes were issued in $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $500, $1000 and $5000 denominations.
$500, $1000 and $5000 notes are not known to exist but if one were found it would be a million dollar note.

Banks that issued National Gold Bank Notes

  • First National Gold Bank, San Francisco CA
  • National Gold Bank and Trust Company, San Francisco CA
  • National Gold Bank of D. O. Mills and Co. Sacramento CA
  • First National Gold Bank, Santa Barbara CA
  • First National Gold Bank, Stockton CA
  • Farmers National Gold Bank, San Jose CA
  • First National Gold Bank, Petaluma CA
  • First National Gold Bank, Oakland CA
  • Union National Gold Bank, Oakland CA
1870 $5.00 National Gold Bank Note. $5.00 1870 $5.00 National Gold bank note
The $5.00 is the most common National Gold Bank note if common is a word that can be used here.
This beautiful note is drawn on the First National Gold Bank of San Francisco, the only bank to issue in 1870.
Because so many are found in wretched shape these notes command a real premium in nice condition.
With about 400 notes known to mankind it's not rare as a type but because collector demand is so high it's a pricey note.
You can expect a range of values for these notes to run from $2000 for a rag to $35000 for a premium example.

1873 $10.00 National Gold Bank Note. 1873 $10.00 National Gold bank note
A very nice example of the type. With about 150 known the $10.00 is much scarcer than the $5.00.
A note like this will have an estimated range of values between $2000 and $20000.
A truly Gem example could bring a fair amount more.

1873 $20.00 National Gold Bank Note. $20.00 National Gold bank note
The rarity really ratchets up with the $20.00 bank note. With less than 100 known it's a tough note.
This series suffers from a preponderance of low grade notes because they circulated so long.
This denomination in particular is near impossible in a nice grade.
A run of the mill example will be in the high four figures while a mice example can break into low to mid five figures. The nicest note known was donated by Aubrey and Adeline Bebee to the ANA museum and can be seen here:
Finest Known $20.00 National Gold Bank Note
If you haven't seen the Bebee collection it's worth the effort and can be found here:
Bebee Collection at the ANA Museum

1870 $50.00 National Gold Bank Note. 1870 $50.00 National Gold bank note
So this series goes from 350 known, to 125 known, to 100 known to less than 6 known for the $50.00 note.
You can imagine what this does to the prices and availability of this note.
Of the six known to exist one was laminated. A group of dealers bought the note and tried to
dissolve the lamination with acetone. Sadly for everyone the note dissolved with it.
So, there are really only four available to collectors since one is in the ANA museum and one is destroyed.
If a new note were to show up in nice grade it's conceivable that it would bring mid five figures to possibly six figures.

1873 $100.00 National Gold Bank Note. 1870 $100.00 National Gold bank note
Oddly enough, there are 33% more $100 National Gold Bank notes known than the $50 in the series.
Regardless, they are still considered very rare and bring the bucks when they do show up.
This is a note that gets the hobbies attention. The last one I could find that sold was from 2007 and before that, 1997