$5 Proof

Illinois State Security Bank, Equality


This bank opened as a Free Bank in 1859 and did not live up to its name, failing in 1861 along with 89 other Illinois Free Banks. While not a financial success, the notes were absolutely stunning with bright red end panels and, in this case, a gorgeous vignette of iconic riverboats. Very rare.

Equlity, IL — a tiny town (541 pop. 2021) in Southeast, Illinois near the Ohio River on Hwy 13. between Harrisburg and Shawneetown. Nearby is the historic site of the Crenshaw House (John H Crenshaw), also known as the “Old Slave House,” because Crenshaw was reputed to be part of the “reverse underground railroad,” capturing free Negroes in the north and transporting them into slavery in the south. Kentucky, a slave state, is just across the Ohio river from Equality.

Ironically, Equality is now known as a center for LQBTQ rights advocacy, living up to its name!