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State Bank of North Carolina two-dollar note, ca. 1816; repaired counterfeit

North Carolina Collection Gallery, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Publication Date
  • North Carolina
  • Bank Notes
  • Law


Prior to the expansion of North Carolina's banking system after 1830 and the injection of more paper money into the state's economy, shortages of currency occurred in many locations. Given such shortages, citizens of that period, as in the colonial era, frequently tried to extend the life of tattered currencies by mending or reinforcing them. This two-dollar note is one example and is bolstered with newsprint that someone lightly glued to its backside. The note itself, which is ostensibly an issue of the State Bank of North Carolina, appears to be counterfeit. The form of William H. Haywood's signature looks suspicious, and the image of the spinning wheel is poorly rendered. The most telling evidence that this bank note is not genuine is the distinct handwritten misspelling of Fayetteville ("Fayettsville") on its right end. It is highly unlikely that branch officials would have made such a blatant error in identifying their own town office and would have then issued this note. As far as the newspaper backing is concerned, this repair was probably done in the latter half of 1823 or in the years thereafter. One news item on the paper alludes to recent judicial decisions in Missouri and Kentucky regarding the legality of the "Replevin Law," an 1819 statute that required creditors to accept in repayments a bank note they regarded as unstable and of questionable value. In Kentucky, the state's court of appeals ruled that law unconstitutional in 1823.

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