National Currency Blog – Canadian Chartered Bank Notes


This may seem like an odd topic for a blog about American national bank notes, but the two have more in common than you might initially think.  Canadian Chartered Bank Notes are kind of like a hybrid between obsolete bank notes and national bank notes.  First off, there has been a lot more written about Canadian chartered bank notes than what we are covering here.

Chartered bank notes most resemble national bank notes in that many are very rare today and most collectors focus on certain regions.  Chartered notes also circulated with other government issues, the same way that national bank notes competed with federal issues.  Unlike obsolete bank notes which all have no legal tender status today, and national bank notes which are all good for face value, the redemption value of a chartered bank note is hit and miss.  All of them have collector value and some are still good at their face value; it just depends on if the bank failed or if it was bought out.

Just like obsolete notes from The United States, many Canadian notes were printed by The American Bank Note Company.  I don’t enjoy admitting this, but Canadian notes are often much more attractive than similar American notes.  Unlike national currency which was standardized and only has about 50 different design types, there are literally thousands of different designs used by the Canadian banks.  It would be absolutely impossible to collect every design type.

Fifty and one hundred dollar bills still tend to be very rare.  Serial number one notes are also hotly collected.  Condition is also of extreme importance the same way it is for all American and Canadian bank notes.

I think the biggest difference between chartered notes and national bank notes would be the quantity printed.  I don’t know the exact number, but hundreds of millions of national bank notes were printed and close to 400,000 still exist today.  Canada has a fraction of the population of the United States.  They just didn’t print any where near as many chartered notes.  So while great national bank note discoveries are made on a weekly basis, the same really isn’t true for chartered notes.  The original supply just wasn’t as large so great discoveries don’t happen as often.