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    One of Two Notes Reported - Ex-Grinnell

    Troy, NY - $1 Original Fr. 380 The Merchants & Mechanics National Bank Ch. # 904 PMG Fine 12.
    Certainly one of the highlights of this great sale of upstate New York Nationals, this is an excessively rare note from the city of Troy's most short-lived issuer. The bank, originally established as a state-chartered institution in 1829, was dominated by the Vail family, a prominent old Dutch family in the Troy area. Originally opened by the patriarch of the family, George Vail, his son, D. Thomas Vail, obtained National status for the bank in 1865. However, the Vails were known as risk takers and, after just three years of National Bank Examiner supervision, the family gave up its federal charter and returned to the more relaxed auspices of a state-chartered institution. However, investing in over-valued assets finally caused even the then-complacent New York State Banking Department to close the doors in 1878 whereupon the Vail family was subjected to a series of lawsuits that lasted well into the 1880s.
    For many years, the note we are offering was the sole example known from this briefly tenured bank. It has a provenance that traces back to Lot 2543 in Barney Bluestone's sale of the fabled Albert Grinnell collection in 1945. The note was acquired at the sale by pioneer paper money collector/dealer Bill Donlon who, years later, sold this Original Series ace to another old-time paper money collector, Forrest Daniel of North Dakota. Ironically, Mr. Daniel did not care about the bank's rarity - he just wanted an Original Series ace for a type set and liked the bank's title! Then, at the 1996 Memphis show, with your cataloger acting as broker, Mr. Daniel sold the note to an upstate New York collector who needed it in order to achieve a complete set of examples from all twelve of Troy's note-issuing National Banks. The collector passed away in 2009 and his collection was then dispersed in a 2010 Stacks sale. It was at that sale that our consignor acquired this extremely rare note.
    It is a moderately circulated note that was obviously rescued after spending some time in the channels of commerce. However, aside from a small tape repair, it is very attractive for the grade with pleasing color and bold pen signatures, including that of the infamous D. T(homas) Vail as President. At the time of its last auction appearance, it was still unique for the bank. Since then, another note has finally turned up, but that piece is now ensconced in a long-term holding and will not be available until its owner leaves this mortal realm. Therefore, any collector seeking to obtain as many charters as possible from the "Collar City" needs this Original Series ace and should be prepared to pay whatever is necessary to bring it home.


    More information about New York National Bank Notes.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2021
    21st Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 504

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