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But it was obsolete before I opened the box

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Fenntucky Mike


In addition to foreign banknotes I also collect Obsolete and NBN's from the State of Michigan and I recently picked up this beauty.


It's not in the best shape but the price was right and the $3 notes are always hard to find because of the "nonstandard" denomination (the $3's are the most popular because of this and harder to find). It's not a real attractive note in regards to the design, a simple geometric design wreathed in a stylized floral design was used for the left and right dies, then a depiction of an eagle for the center image. The eagle is not well depicted, with an overly large body in relation to the wings and to put it politely is "ratty' looking. Especially when compared to a similarly depicted eagle on say a 1918 FRN.


These "Wildcat" Banks began popping up in 1837 (Michigan was admitted to the Union on March 15, 1837) shortly after the first Michigan State Legislature session ended (March 22nd).  During the first session the General "Banking Law" was passed and went into effect on March 15, this law authorized any 12 persons to make an application to the treasurer of the State for a bank. The capital stock had to be at least $50k and not more than $300k and 30% of this capital had to be in specie by the time of commencing operations. But due to economic hardship, over-trading and mismanagement a large amount of debt, nationally, was accrued, as a result the specie would not meet the outstanding debt. Reacting to this, eastern banks got their states to suspend specie payments this caused a drain of specie out of the State of Michigan so on June 22, 1837 specie was suspended by the Michigan banks enabled by an act of the Michigan legislature. The suspension of specie payments meant that unscrupulous individuals could open a bank/s without having to redeem the bank notes until May 16, 1838 when specie payments were to resume. The state legislature sought to curb this by appointing three bank commissioners instead of just one and have them examine the books and specie of said banks. The examiners found that instead of actual gold and silver, specie certificates were being used and were given by bank officers as a receipt of specie being held on deposit. Also "borrowed" specie was often used and then returned by a fast courier. One such instance of borrowed specie involved another Allegan County wildcat bank, a local Native American was transporting the needed specie, to present to an examiner, from one bank to another but the canoe he was traveling in capsized and the specie fell to the bottom of the Kalamazoo River (another story for another Journal entry). The Bank of Allegan (Organized Dec 30, 1837 - closed 1839) was one of many banks that began operation during this time, it was formed using "borrowed" specie. The opening and closing of this bank falls nicely into the "wildcat" timeline, around $100k was "poofed" when the bank closed.

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