Government shifts power from chartered banks

Believed to be a deceptive contemporary counterfeit, some of which remain collectible today, an early Montréal Bank $20 note realized $1,000 as Lot 3415 of the February 2015 Canadian Legacy Sale II by Moore Numismatic Auctions and Canadian Coin & Currency.

For their issuers, banknotes have always been a product of necessity. The card money used to pay soldiers in New France, the early notes issued by chartered banks to control the money supply, and even Canada’s modern notes – upgraded about every decade to combat counterfeiting – are examples of how banknotes serve society’s financial needs. But the right to issue these promissory pieces of paper (or polymer) also comes with broad economic powers, something the government noticed and successfully shifted in its direction beginning in the mid-1800s. While the card money issued in New France beginning in the 1680s “could be considered North America’s first experiment at a paper currency,” the first true Canadian banknotes didn’t begin circulating until the 1800s, according to third-party banknote grader Steven Bell. Continue reading →

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