Commercial Bank of Newfoundland Notes

A few months ago we discussed the history of the Union Bank of Newfoundland and their bank notes, highlighting a few of the superb examples that were available in the Geoffrey Bell Auctions Ltd. Toronto Coin Expo 2017 Spring Sale as part of the Covered Bridge Collection, so it’s only natural to talk about the closely related Commercial Bank of Newfoundland and some of the notes you may come across, if you’re lucky.

“Cousins” may be a good term to describe these two institutions; they shared a backyard, conducted business in ways that left them vulnerable to negative economic trends, and they both failed during the run on them that occurred on December 10, 1894, the day that would be called Black Monday.

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The Commercial Bank of Newfoundland was the youngest of the nation’s three banks, having been founded in 1857, and both of these banks were responsible for nearly all of the paper money in use in Newfoundland at the time of their collapse, nearly driving the country to bankruptcy.  The Commercial Bank of Newfoundland printed notes from their onset in 1857 and their last issues were in 1888.

The Covered Bridge Collection at the Expo Spring Sale featured a beautiful trio of 1888 notes in denominations of $2, $5, and $10.  The 2016 Fall Sale presented a $4 (one pound) note from 1867 that always impresses with its appropriate seal and codfish vignettes.

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The Coin Cabinet currently has a selection of Commercial Bank of Newfoundland banknotes listed in their eBay Store, including some of the highly sought after one pound issues from 1857, 1858, and 1859, with the latter being the only known example.

These incredible pieces of Canadian history are what makes numismatics so exciting, even if it’s frustrating knowing we’re not able to draw the stories they’ve witnessed out of them.  Keep watching our blog for more numismatic news as we get ready for our RCNA convention educational seminar in Boucherville and take note that the deadline for consigning to the Toronto Coin Expo 2017 Fall Sale is approaching quickly.


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