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A Recent Purchase and a Bit of History (1902 $20 National Bank Note Pensacola, FL)

In recent years one of my favorite collecting interests has been collecting notes from the states and cities that I've lived in previously. As such, growing up in a military family, I've never had the chance to set down long-term roots due to frequent moves before my father's retirement. Of the places I've lived at in the past, Pensacola was arguably one of my favorites due to my involvement with the Boy Scouts of America and the rekindling of my interest in numismatics that occurred while living there. Now recently, an opportunity presented itself courtesy of eBay that I couldn't pass up in the form of a National Bank Note from one of Pensacola's now-defunct banks. I couldn't be happier despite spending slightly more than I had planned originally.

Here is the note in question. These are the Seller's images:


Head of Hugh McCulloch, Comptroller of the Currency from 1863-1865; Secretary of the Treasury from 1865-1869 and 1884-1885.


Overall, National Bank Notes from the American National Bank of Pensacola stand apart from Florida's other national banks. During the American National Bank's existence, it issued $9,595,240 worth of national currency between 1900 and 1935. The bank ceased issuing national currency with the passage of the Gold Reserve Act of January 30, 1934, which resulted in an accounting gain for the Treasury. This move allowed the treasury to retire all bonds against which National Banks Notes could be issued.

A $20 Type 1 from my personal collection.

Consequently, National Bank Notes from Pensacola are well-represented among offerings from Heritage Auctions, eBay, and various online currency dealers. Not to mention, high-grade Type 2 $20s are particularly prevalent among surviving examples from this bank due to discoveries of original bank straps from the 1930s.

Image courtesy of icollector.com.

A Brief History of the American National Bank of Pensacola:

The American National Bank Building overlooking Plaza Ferdinand VII as depicted on a postcard from the 1910s.

The city of Pensacola at the turn of the 20th Century could easily be described as a boomtown due to the city's rapid population growth and its proximity to industries such as railroading, overseas shipping, and lumbering. As a result, the need for expanded banking services had become apparent as the need for processing overseas transactions had grown among the Pensacola banking community. Nonetheless, a group of local men came together with bankers from Alabama and Georgia to form the American National Bank, which would later open in October 1900.

Upon its opening in 1900, the American National Bank was chartered with an opening capital of $200,000, with William C. O'Neal acting as President and A.M. Moses serving as the bank's cashier. During the bank's earliest years, it operated out of the Pensacola Opera House for a period of nine years until the bank's officers purchased the Clubbs Building, which had sat at the corner of Palafox and Government Streets since 1870.

The Old Pensacola Opera House at the time when the American National Bank was a tenant in the building's northwest corner.

However, shortly after its purchase, the Clubbs building was razed to make way for a modern 10-story bank located at 226 South Palafox Street. The construction of which was slated to begin in 1909 at an estimated cost of $250,000. Upon the building's completion in 1910, it was the tallest building in Florida and remained Pensacola's tallest building until the completion of the SunTrust tower in 1974.

The American National Bank as it stood during the early 20th Century at the corner of Palafox and Government streets.

The American National Bank continued to operate throughout World War I and numerous recessions while facing two "customer runs" and one short-term merger. Regardless, the American National Bank continued to persevere during the Great Depression and the 1930s until its eventual acquisition by the Florida National Bank in 1944. The former American National Bank building, now dubbed "Seville Tower," was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and still stands today and is used primarily as office space by local professionals.


Pensacola News Journal, Downtown tower has enjoyed a unique history. https://www.pnj.com/story/news/2020...-enjoyed-unique-history-appleyard/5290814002/

Pensacola|Hometown Currency, Pensacola.

Pensapedia, Seville Tower


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