Printing Plates for mid-1800s Banknotes Featured in Upcoming GreatCollections Sale

Posted on 9/30/2021

Six sheet printing plates linked to banks around the country offer a fascinating glimpse into American history.

Printing plates produced for six American banks in the mid-19th century and certified as genuine by Paper Money Guaranty® (PMG®) are being offered by GreatCollections. Each is offered as its own lot, with bidding ending on October 3, 2021.

The plates, produced from the 1840s and 1860s, represent banks in Alabama, Connecticut, Iowa, Michigan and the District of Columbia. Each is accompanied by a PMG Photo Certification that includes two images — one an actual view of the plate and the other a mirror image that shows how the sheets would appear after being printed.

Before the era of federal money began in earnest with the Civil War, individual states and private banks were responsible for issuing currency. These were often printed in sheets of four, sometimes with a mix of denominations. Each of the plates in the GreatCollections sale has a starting price of $6,000.

1850s Montgomery, Alabama Central Bank of Alabama Sheet Printing Plate certified by PMG showing the plate and a mirror image that shows the notes’ design.
Click image to enlarge.

1850s Wapella, Iowa City of Wapello Sheet Printing Plate certified by PMG showing the plate and a mirror image that shows the notes’ design.
Click image to enlarge.

The PMG-certified Printing Sheet Plates being offered are:

  • an 1850s Montgomery Alabama - Central Bank of Alabama $1-$1-$2-$3 (lot 1041797)
  • an 1860s East Haddam, Connecticut – Bank of New England $1-$1-$2-$5 certified by PMG (lot 1041795)
  • an 1850s Voluntown, Connecticut - Granite Bank $1-$1-$2-$3 certified by PMG (lot 1045038)
  • an 1850s Wapello, Iowa - City of Wapello $1-$1-$2-$3 (lot 1041796)
  • an 1840s Monroe, Michigan - Bank of River Raisin $1-$1-$2-$3 certified by PMG (lot 1041794)
  • an 1850s District of Columbia, Washington - The Arlington Bank $5-$5-$5-$5 certified by PMG (lot 1041793)

For students of history, the plates offer treasure beyond the monetary. The vignettes on each plate depict a pastoral land in the beginning stages of industrialization and before being torn apart by the Civil War. The scenes show famers tilling land, tending their animals and chopping wood. They also show steam engines and river boats and stagecoaches. Some depict allegorical images and even US presidents.

All starting prices provided by the auction house.

Stay Informed

Want news like this delivered to your inbox once a month? Subscribe to the free PMG eNewsletter today!


You've been subscribed to the PMG eNewsletter.

Unable to subscribe to our eNewsletter. Please try again later.

Articles List