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NNP Blog

May 07 2019

Florence Nightingale on Obsolete Paper Money

May 12 is International Nurses Day and marks the 199th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. Nightingale is the founder of modern nursing and today acknowledged for elevating the occupation to a professional level.  British by birth, she rose to prominence through her medical service during the Crimean War (1853-1856). Among her greatest contributions was the use of statistical methods as a tool to manage public health. It is no surprise that Nightingale has been the subject of engravers ever since, such as this $2 Western Bank of Missouri note from the Eric P. Newman collection. A second example comes from Minnesota, a Winona County Bank $1 from 1858. A final example reminds us of the ever present paper money counterfeiters, this an 1859 $20 counterfeit note from the Farmers Bank of Missouri. The last was acquired by Newman from D.C. Wismer, the dealer who tipped off Newman to the existence of Missouri paper money in the Col. Green estate – Newman followed up with Chase Bank (the estate administrator) in New York, and the rest is history. This particular note sold for only $132, a lot of provenance for a little currency.

Image: Western Bank of Missouri $2 (1861), from Newman VII (Heritage Auctions, 10/2015, realized $6,462.50).

Image: Winona (MN) County Bank $1 (1858), from Newman VII (Heritage Auctions, 10/2015, realized $2,115).

Image: Farmer Bank of (Liberty) Missouri $20 (1859), counterfeit, from Newman VIII (Heritage Auctions, 11/2017, realized $132).

Update: In the E-Sylum of 5/20/2019, paper money researcher Mark Tomasko demonstrated that the identification of Florence Nightingale on these notes is in error. See https://www.coinbooks.org/v22/esylum_v22n20a11.html.

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