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Where Would Dr. Lysander Starr Have Done His Banking??

Where Would Dr. Lysander Starr Have Done His Banking??

“By the way, it is curious that you should have come from Topeka. I used to have a correspondent – he is dead now – old Dr. Lysander Starr, who was Mayor in 1890.”

The Adventure of the Three Garridebs (3GAR)

With that quote, Sherlock Holmes would confirm that John Garrideb, aka Killer Evans, had been lying about his tale of Alexander Hamilton Garrideb and his will.

However, let’s go with the theory that Dr. Lysander Starr actually existed in the Topeka, Kansas of 1890. Where would he have conducted his banking business?  What bank notes would be in his wallet?

For the purpose of this article, we will only deal with National Banks located in Topeka and conducting business in 1890.

National Banks were authorized by Congress in 1863 via the National Currency Act. The Act established national banks that could issue bank notes, backed by the United States Treasury and printed by the government itself at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The quantity of notes that a bank was allowed to issue was proportional to the bank’s level of capital deposited with the Comptroller of the Currency at the Treasury. To further control the currency, the Act taxed notes issued by state and local banks, essentially pushing non-federally issued paper money out of circulation. A year later, 1864, the National Bank Act was passed, establishing federally issued bank charters, which took banking out of the hands of state governments.

National Bank notes will have the name of the bank printed on the bank note, have the bank’s federal charter number prominently displayed on the note and are signed by officers of the bank. Now, lets take a look at a few of the National Banks in Topeka at the time.

State National Bank of Topeka (2192)
State National Bank of Topeka 1865 $5 National Currency, via www.antiquebanknotes.com
State National Bank of Topeka $5 1865 National Currency, via www.antiquebanknotes.com

The State National Bank Of Topeka in Kansas printed $31,700 dollars worth of national currency from the time the bank opened in 1874 and stopped printing money in 1905. State National issued 1 single type and denomination of national currency – a $5 national currency note from series 1865. The State National Bank Of Topeka was assigned charter number 2192.

Central National Bank Of Topeka (3078)
Central National Bank of Topeka 1902 $10 National Bank Note, via www.GoldbergAuctions.com
Central National Bank of Topeka 1902 $10 National Bank Note, via www.GoldbergAuctions.com

Dr. Starr would never have had the chance to spend the above note, but it would have been readily available in circulation during the time the Three Garridebs story was unfolding. The Central National Bank Of Topeka in Kansas printed $4,450,490 dollars worth of national currency from the time the National Bank opened in 1883 and stopped printing money in 1935. During its time of having currency printed, Central National issued 10 different types and denominations of national currency. It was assigned charter number 3078.

Kansas National Bank Of Topeka (3790)

The Kansas National Bank Of Topeka, charter number 3790, printed $108,750 dollars worth of national currency from when the national bank opened in 1887 and stopped printing money in 1894. During its life, The Kansas National Bank Of Topeka issued 2 different types and denominations of national currency. Kansas National issued 725 sheets each of $50 and $100 1882 Brown Back National Bank notes.

Merchants National Bank of Topeka (3909)
Merchants NB Topeka $5 1882 Brown Back
Merchants National Bank of Topeka $5 1882 Brown Back, via www.antiquebanknotes.com

The Merchants National Bank Of Topeka in Kansas printed $100,000 worth of national banknotes.  This national bank opened in 1888 and stopped printing currency in 1935 (when all National Banks halted production of new notes), a 48 year printing period. That is a fairly normal lifespan for a national bank. During its life, The Merchants National Bank Of Topeka issued 11 different types and denominations of national currency. The Merchants National Bank Of Topeka was assigned charter number 3909.

Merchants National printed 13,616 sheets of $5 1882 Brown Back National Bank notes, with 4 notes per sheet.  3,996 sheets of $10 1882 Brown Back National Bank notes, with 3 notes per sheet were printed . Also 3,996 $20 1882 Brown Back National Bank notes were printed. Despite saying series of 1882, these bank notes were actually printed by some banks up until 1908.

Merchants National Bank of Topeka circa 1896-1911, via Kansas Historical Society
Merchants National Bank of Topeka circa 1896-1911, via Kansas Historical Society

Merchants National Bank of Topeka remained a viable bank for many years.  In 1993, the bank was acquired and has gone through several name changes in the years that have followed.

 

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