Bank of the Republic, New York


A superb grade issued note from this rare bank and (one of, if not ) the finest seen. Proofs from the series surfaced in the 1990 ABNCo. sale and were purchased by John J. Ford, Jr. In addition to their rarity, he was interested in the strong tie to Confederate financial history. The signer of this note was Georgian Gazaway Bugg Lamar. He was president of this bank and also the Bank of Commerce in Savannah. Immensely wealthy and connected in New York, he was perfect for a critical task representing the fledgling Confederate government to obtain and print their first paper currency. The 1861 Confederate Montgomery issues have a fascinating background woven with intrigue; but unfortunately not necessarily backed up with complete primary source confirmation. Using Lamar as agent, they were ordered by the Confederate Treasury and printed in New York at the National Bank Note Company. His connections via his New York City bank facilitated the engraving, printing, and shipping from Manhattan. The 607 four-subject sheets printed (with $1000, $500, $100, and $50 notes) were sent to Montgomery prior to the attack on Fort Sumter. Confederate Treasury Secretary Christopher Memminger requested a second printing of 1,000 sheets of the two lowest denominations just prior to the Southern blockade ordered by Lincoln. Although period documents indicate Confederate notes that may have been printed concurrently by the American Bank Note Company were seized in New York, there were 999 two-subject sheets that arrived in Montgomery on May 2, 1861, to commence issuance. In essence, Lamar was the architect in charge of the plates, their ordering, and shipping. After the War, Lamar continued as a wealthy landowner and financier.

Numerous Bank of Commerce notes were signed and still exist with Lamar’s signature. However, few New York notes signed by him still exist and this is the finest by far. Beautifully engraved and printed by Danforth, Bald & Co. (where Cyrus Durand brought his lathe patents and later was at the National Bank Note Company). Ships are seen at sea in the center, and red “V” protectors flanks. At the right is “Lord Byron” in the oval. An important historical artifact and much rarer than any Montgomery note.
Formerly of The LII Collection