Alton & St. Louis Packet Co.


Extremely Rare and Historic

At the center, a cargo-laden steamboat in three-quarter view travels away from the town toward the viewer, with a large tree limb in the water ahead adding to the narrative of daily encounters with nature on the river.
At age 18 William Henry Reid came to Alton in 1858 to work at the bank. His industriousness as a bank employee led to a new position at the packet company where he was responsible for the freight and passengers on the line. Reid was in charge when the young Prince of Wales (later Edward VII, ascending as King after the long reign of Victoria) traveled from Alton to St. Louis on one of the firm’s boats. During the Civil War, these boats carried Union munitions as well as passengers and freight. This example is in superb condition for a scrip note that would have circulated heavily as these notes were used for fares, freight payments, and most importantly, to make change from larger banknotes.
Originating from the Eric Newman Collection, this note contains a rich history. Newman was fascinated with Alton notes, across the river from St. Louis, and this is one of the finest he encountered. An alluring and extremely rare southern Illinois transportation scrip, the high quality suggests the note was printed in St. Louis, and is appropriately collected with St. Louis and Missouri notes. Although undated, its style appears to be late 1850s or early 1860s, which corresponds with the time-frame of the signature on the note.
Formerly of The LII Collection