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$5 1888 Note Design
Face Design: Farmer feeding hay to horses / Indian Brave / Woman with hand on Wheel
Back Design: Lathework, Counters and Bank Name
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 Ontario Bank 1857 - 1906 Bowmanville, Province of Canada
The Ontario Bank was established in Bowmanville, Canada West, in 1857 (and later in Toronto). It was discovered in 1905 that the general manager had been falsifying the books to hide Wall Street losses that had obliterated the bank's reserves. The bank did not suspend payment, but when difficulties were encountered though some of its lumber accounts, an arrangement was made in 1906 whereby all liabilities were taken over by the Bank of Montreal. Together with certain other banks, the Bank of Montreal assumed all liabilities and paid depositors in full. Criminal charges were laid against the general manager and the president. The former was sentenced to the Kingston Penitentiary, but the president was exonerated of complicity.
• (2) $5 1888 Ontario Bank Chartered Banknotes (two piece set - face and back proofs)