Unique!! – La Banque Jacques Cartier $10 1889 issued note

A possibily unique note from La Banque Jacques Cartier will be offered for auction March 28.

The sale, being conducted by The Canadian Numismatic Company (TCNC), is their first appearance at Nuphilex, being held March 27 to 29 at the Complexe EVO, 420 Sherbrooke West, Montreal.

The note is believed to be the only one of that year and series issued by the bank, which failed in 1889, before being reorganized a year later.

The 1889 $10 note has been graded PMG Very Fine 25.

Marc Verret, of TCNC, said it is the only example he knows of which has two signatures, and was actually issued to the public.

“As auctionneers and numismatic enthusiasts we are always in the search for a diamond in the rough, well we just found one,” he said. “A particularly bright, full coloured and possibly unique 1889 $10 La Banque Jacques Cartier has found its way onto the Canadian market. According to The National Currency Collection, Bank of Canada, the only example known to exist of this date and denomination belongs to the Bank of Canada and is a Remainder issue which does not consist of serial numbers and/or countersignatures and thus to be considered as a none issue type. This extraordinary issue has serial #A53681 and bears two signatures and according to the Bank of Canada, is to be considered the only issued note known to exist to date.”

The note comes with an interesting background.

It was found several years ago in a wooden box located in the office of an old-time notary. Inside were documents related to an old contract that was issued at the time at a cost of $12. To cover the cost, inside the box was a 1917 $1, 1923 $1 and this 1889 $10. The contract and payment remained hidden in this box until discovered and purchased several years ago. The note was then put up for auction in May 1998 by Montreal Coin & Stamps. It was estimated at $10,000 and sold for approximately $44,000. It is only recently, in 2008 that the Bank of Canada officially recognised the rarity and possible uniqueness of this exceptional piece.

The front of note portraying Indians on a bluff and a steam passenger train below, a Jacques Cartier portrait at left and the bank building facade at right. It has the theme of past and present, and it shows all of its bright orange, blue and black colours.

La Banque Jacques Cartier opened its door in 1861, and grew in size, as many other Quebec chartered banks did, up until the 1890s. At that time, the economy of Quebec contracted, as a result of the Panic of 1893, as it did through much of Canada and the United States.

The depression created a wave of financial problems, resulting in bank failures. As many of these banks were interconnected through joint financing of various companies, and projects, the failure of one caused problems with the cash flow of another. The first major failure in Canada was La Banque du Peuple, in 1895. This failure undermined the confidence in the banking sector through all of Quebec. The failure of La Banque Jacques Cartier was soon to follow.

The bank failed in 1899, but was reorganized in 1900, and became La Banque Provinciale du Canada, one of the largest chartered banks still in existence. This means that notes of La Banque Jacques Cartier are still redeemable. Only $4,108.50 worth of notes still remain outstanding, but it is probable that many of the 19th century notes have been lost, or destroyed.

All notes of La Banque Jacques Cartier are rare. The only note which surfaces with any regularity is the one dollar note of 1852. Even this note, of which there are possibly ten pieces known, sells for several thousand of dollars in VG or Fine condition. All other later issues are known only as Proofs, and start at $4,000 in VG.

Verret said he believes that the note will bring a solid five figure price. The opening bid is $10,000. Estimates are $25,000 to $50,000.

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