$10 1889 Note Design
Face Design: St. George Slaying Dragon / Queen Victoria / Bank Crest
Back Design: Lathework, Counters, Bank Name and Bank Crest
Prior to the 1944 revision of the Bank Act, Canadian chartered banks were allowed to issue their own banknotes in denominations of $5 and higher. As this essentially provided the banks with a huge interest-free loan until the notes were redeemed, almost all of the chartered banks issued their own notes. However, the vast majority of these notes were redeemed and destroyed before 1950, and most chartered bank notes are extremely difficult to obtain today, especially in uncirculated condition. Most notes prior to 1920 are exceptionally rare, often with no high grade issued notes surviving and only a few rare proofs.
The term "proof" for bank notes relates to a special type of notes rather than the grade. When most new note designs are created, a very small number of "printer's proofs" are prepared by the bank note company. These are "test" or "sample" notes used to check the quality and to send to the client (the bank) for approval. They are usually single sided without signatures or serial numbers, and are sometimes prepared in black and white to test the intaglio dies. They are either printed on thin smooth paper which can be mounted on cardstock, or printed directly on card stock. From the mid 1800s to the 1940s, the bank note companies have put away and saved a few examples of most of the notes they have printed. These surviving printer's proofs now provide a rare opportunity for a few collectors to own an original and important piece of Canadian banking history.
The Bank of British North America 1836 - 1918
The Bank of North America was formed in England in 1836 as a private institution to conduct business through branches in the various North American provinces. Each branch obtained a Provincial Charter. The bank began business with capital of £1 million without double liability to shareholders. In 1840 the promoters of the bank secured a Royal Charter, which stipulated that no notes smaller than £1 could be issued. Only The Bank of North America, of all the chartered banks, made use of the Free Banking Act of 1850 to enable it again to extend its issue to $1 and $2 notes, which it did until 1870. The expansion of this bank in Canada influenced the Canadian banking system through the infusion of large numbers of young British bankers who had received their early training in British banks. Once in Canada, these young bankers gradually joined other Canadian institutions and at one time no fewer than eleven Canadian banks were under the general management of former employees of The Bank of British North America.
In London the directors of the bank found it increasingly difficult to conduct operations in Canada during World War I. Although the bank was well managed and sound, the war had imposed restrictions on travel and communications, making it difficult for the directors to keep in touch with Canadian conditions. They concluded that a merger would be advantageous, and in April of 1918 the bank was absorbed by The Bank of Montreal. At the time of merger, the bank had a paid-up capital of nearly $5 million, a reserve fund of about $3 million, total assets of $78 million, and was represented by 92 branches.
• (2) $10 1889 Bank of British North America banknotes (two piece set - face and back proofs)