Provenance of very first federal notes trichomonas vaginalis treatment

My article in the June 2017 Bank Note Reporter tracking the provenance and whereabouts of the very first Federal notes that had been saved by Salmon P. Chase, Lincoln’s Treasury secretary, resonated with a lot of people. As a result, I received some needed authoritative information that fleshes out the story.

John Rowe and Joe Sande independently collared me in quick succession within minutes of my arrival on the bourse floor of the June 2017 International Paper Money Show in Kansas City, Mo., to say they could correct and flesh out the stories of these notes. John had information pertaining to the No. 1 $10 1862 Demand Note and Joe knew the whereabouts of the No. 1 $1 1863 Legal Tender Note.

• Fr. 7a – No. 1 $10 Demand Note: Salmon P. Chase; Jay Cook; Sotheby 1970 sale; John Ford; Mike Brownlee; advertised by New Netherlands Coin Co.


in The Numismatist Jan. 1971 as the first piece of U.S. currency issued, “POR” ($4,000); Phil Lampkin.

The cited Sotheby sale was key, so I thought to take advantage of another fabulous resource—the readers of E-Sylum, the electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society edited by Wayne Homren. The subscribers to it comprise a tenacious group of hard-core, highly literate numismatists who simply revel in solving mysteries both numismatic and otherwise. “Otherwise” encompasses anything historical, genealogical, linguistic or scientific. I put out a call to them through E-Sylum, and that hunch paid off in spades.

Bryce Brown, a numismatic book dealer, also contacted me. He had in stock 1970 Sotheby catalogs as well as 1970 Parke-Bernet catalogs, a firm that became part of Sotheby’s soon after. He generously looked through all of them without finding the lots, either.

Be aware that neither Welo nor Brown know me, but they certainly went out of their way to help and spent plenty of their time doing so. These are the types of people who populate the E-Sylum distribution list, which, incidentally, is free. If you wish to subscribe, go to coinbook.org.

The fly in the ointment in this tale was the involvement of John J. Ford, who owned the $10 Demand Note. After he came into possession of it, he offered it through a New Netherlands Coin Co. ad in the January 1971 The Numismatist. That ad is reproduced here. The attribution provided in the ad is a fabrication.

“This particular piece of paper money, the first actual non-interest bearing note issued under the Act of July 17, 1861, and the Supplementary Act of August 5, 1861, was personally presented to famous Philadelphia banker, Jay Cooke, by his close friend, Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase, as ‘the first U.S, greenback.’ It remained in the Cooke family for several generations, only recently finding its way upon the market.”

Years later, when Martin Gengerke was compiling his census, Ford planted the 1970 Sotheby attribution for both the $10 Demand and $5 National notes with him. By then, the $5 National had been discovered. Trusting the world-renowned authority, Gengerke incorporated both attributions into the census without vetting them.

Rowe recalls that they attempted to place it through a discrete intermediary with a Washington, D.C., area collector—probably Phil Lampkin—but he didn’t bite. It then passed into the hands of Ford, whereupon it appeared in the New Netherlands ad. Ultimately, Lampkin purchased it.

This was Ford’s connection with New Netherlands. Coin dealer Moritz Wormser (1878-1940) formed New Netherlands Coin Co. in New York City in 1936. His son Charles (1911-1990), an associate of the company from the time of its founding, ran the firm after his father’s death. In 1950, Charles invited Ford to assist him, and he shortly became a full partner in running the business. The company closed in 1988.

Lampkin was a savvy Washington, D.C., area collector/dealer who liked high-end paper. Veteran D.C. area numismatist Julian Leidman, who knew Lampkin, doesn’t believe the $10 was in his possession when he died, and his remaining notes passed to his daughter.

The numismatic origin story for the $5 National hasn’t changed much since I wrote the first article. However, purged from that account is the Sotheby connection. I recall John Hickman telling me that Lampkin claimed that the note had come down through Chase’s daughter’s family. At this juncture, I would classify this early history as likely but unverified. Regardless, Lampkin did come into possession of the note at about the same time or a little after the $10 Demand Note appeared.

The note then passed from Watts to BNR columnist Mark Hotz via a Byzantine trade. The note resides with Hotz to this day. In my opinion, the $5 National heads the parade in terms of the appeal of the three Chase notes because, in his own hand, Chase penned on its back “First national bank note issued. S.P.C.” What more could you ask to tie a note to such history?

What you can see here is that I have traced the $10 and $5 back to the late 1960s-early 1970s. Chase died in 1873, so we can assume they were in his possession until then. This leaves almost a 100-year gap that is hazy. It is easy to assume that they remained in Chase’s family, but one thing I know about assumptions in this game is that they are always wrong.

“There is no question that renown collector/dealer George Blake, who was an early ferret of fancy serial numbers, once owned the ace. Smith’s biography of Blake states that he exhibited paper money including a dollar bill Series 1, plate 1, serial 1, letter A at the 1914 ANA convention. How he got it is unknown, but the timing of his involvement with it strongly indicates that the piece was the first to leave the Chase family.

“Whether Blake placed it with the Chase National Bank, forerunner to the Chase Manhattan bank, is unknown to me. It is likely because he circulated easily in New York banking circles as he pursued fancy serial numbers in new currency shipped to the New York banks and the Chase bank certainly would have had an affinity for the note. Telling is the fact that ‘On his last birthday, he [Blake] was featured on the advertisements of the Chase National Bank as its oldest living depositor’ ( Numismatist, 1956).

Joe Sande, when he caught me at the 2017 International Paper Money Show at Kansas City, advised that the bankers at the Chase Manhattan Bank withheld the ace from the Smithsonian accession. It now resides in a small collection of historic treasures that are held by the bank in their corporate offices in New York. It is in an exhibit that is not accessible to the public that also includes the Hamilton-Burr dueling pistols, among other high-power objects.

We haven’t detailed every move these three notes have taken, and my tale is not as thorough or robust as the wanderings documented for other premier numismatic objects such as the 1913 Liberty Head nickels. But that’s not all bad. Much of the romance of notes is the mystery that shrouds their travels. We now know enough about these three to titillate us. Maybe we just don’t need to know everything.