Ron Ward submitted this update on scrip of the "First National Oyster Bank". Thanks!
In Vol. 16, No. 25 (June 16, 2013) you showed a scan of a One Dollar "First National Oyster Bank" note from Monaskon, Va.
Last summer, we drove through Lively, Virginia (which really does not live up to its name) and visited Epping Forest Antiques. I asked about coins and tokens, but the owner, Louise deJarnette Jesse, showed me the above One Dollar note. At the time I was not collecting Virginia currency, so thanked her. Since then I have been seeking local Virginia notes with a face value of $1.00 or less. After seeing your scan, I contacted Louise Jesse to see if she still had the note. She said yes and that she had two - one unused and one signed "A. L. Carter" dated Octr, 1st, 1868" which are now in my collection. A. L. Carter was the great-great grandfather of Ms. Louise Jesse.
Ms Jessie also provided additional information about the veracity of the note as follows:
"This $1.00 bill was issued by Addison Lombard Carter during Reconstruction. Carter was an attorney, seafood packer and merchant who lived at "Midway" on the Rappahannock River in Lancaster County, Virginia. He also controlled the adjoining Monaskon Plantation which included a boat landing used on Chesapeake steam boat routes. He maintained an oyster shucking, packing and bulk shipping facility as well as other enterprises including a merchandising operation at the Monaskon landing.
The scrip came in varying full and fractional denominations [10c, 25c, 50c, $1.00 and $2.00] and is commonly titled "Oyster Money". Although the origin of the term is uncertain, it accurately reflects its use by Carter as a "value exchange currency token" given to watermen in payment for oysters that they harvested. The watermen could, in turn, redeem the notes for merchandise in Carter's Monaskon Store.
Not only were Carter's notes used during the period of the Southern Reconstruction to overcome a scarcity of legal U.S. currency, they also contain the satirical reference to the "First National Oyster Bank". No such financial institution existed but the large accumulation of oysters on the river bottom were interchangeably referred to as oyster rocks and oyster banks."
Several of the $1.00 notes have appeared in Heritage Auctions over the past decade or so, but all have been unused notes. A dealer in New England lists all of the denominations, but these too are unused. Prices range from $125. to $400. As far as know, the one from Ms. Jesse is the only signed note extant.
Thanks for the great information! E-Sylum readers are the best numismatic sleuths around.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
WAYNE'S NUMISMATIC DIARY: JUNE 16, 2013
Wayne Homren, Editor
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