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NNP Blog

Sep 26 2017

U.S. Comptroller of the Currency Annual Reports

The Legal Tender Act of 1862, authorizing $150 million in national “greenbacks,” along with the National Bank Act the following year, shifted control of the nation’s currency from a patchwork system of local banks to a centralized authority. The National Bank Act was hotly contested in Congress, with the issue of state vs. federal control always in the minds of legislators. The 1863 Act mandated an annual report from the Comptroller of the Currency, prior to this related information had been included in the annual reports of the Secretary of the Treasury.

The Comptroller reports included statistics on national banks, the legal tender supply, bank dividends and reserves, and all manner of odds and ends. The 1872 report complains about “shinplaster” notes issued by states in violation of federal banking law, apparently with the intent of escaping banking taxes. Summary data for the Mint detailing the annual coinage and bullion deposits is also found. The Newman Portal has added the Comptroller of the Currency annual reports for the years 1863-1980 (here). Newman Portal acknowledges FRASER, the digital library of the St. Louis Federal Reserve, for granting permission to reuse their existing digital scans.

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