The First National Bank of Rhyolite, Nevada

THE FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF RHYOLITE, NEVADA

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Charter: 8686

Year Opened: 1907

In the world of national banknote collecting there may not be a more spellbinding tale than that of The First National Bank of Rhyolite. To understand the allure of this jewel of the west, one must first understand what makes The First National Bank of Rhyolite so special.

Only a small handful of old national banks can claim to be from a town that is not on the map anymore. It is not uncommon for a town to become part of a larger metropolitan area, to move its physical location, or even to just change its name. However, for a town to have been big enough to have a national bank and a century later to not even exist is quite amazing.

At the beginning of 1905 the town of Rhyolite did not even exist; by the end of 1907 it had three railroads, forty-five saloons, and even an opera house. By the time 1910 rolled around the population was down to 700 people and by March 1911 it was safe to say that the town was dead. Rhyolite came about as a boom town, pure and simple. The discovery of gold by “Shorty” Harris and Eddie Cross became news all around Nevada and people flocked to the area known as Bullfrog. The discovery of any natural resource ready to be taken will always bring in the exploiters. In turn came the prospectors, the saloon keepers, the gambling houses, the hotels, the mine developers, the railroads, and of course, the bankers!

The First National Bank of Rhyolite, Nevada received its national charter on 5/14/1907 and opened its doors at The Overby Building. In 1909 The John S. Cook Bank left its building and The First National Bank of Rhyolite took over its former space. This building is one of the few structures still standing in Rhyolite today; it is a mere skeleton of the once palatial place of business it was once described as. The First National Bank did have a monopoly on banking in Rhyolite for a few months with The John S. Cook Bank and The Bullfrog Bank having closed before The First National Bank of Rhyolite finally shut down on March 23rd of 1910.

The town of Rhyolite rapidly deteriorated from a once promising mining oasis in a matter of a few years. As the mining companies faltered, so did the bank. One can assume most loans given in the town went bad and the bank employees themselves jumped ship as well. When the comptroller of currency requested the stockholders pay their debts, the president and all the officers and directors could not be found. It is safe to say they abandoned the town like everyone else.

The First National Bank of Rhyolite issued a total of 4,272 banknotes. The number outstanding at any one time never amounted to more than $12,500 face value. The collecting community has never seen one of these notes. It is not unreasonable to think that some of the notes are waiting to be found though. One could have easily kept a note as a keepsake of prosperous stake. A railway man may have taken one home after a night of gambling and stuck it in his trunk and it has been lost to time. The possibilities are endless. If you do happen to have any currency from The First National Bank of Rhyolite, please tell us about it. We are certainly buyers and you will be pleased and likely shocked at our offer price – no matter the condition.

First President: Oscar J. Smith
First Cashier: Frank H. Stickney

Other People associated with the bank: Pete Busch, Bert L. Smith, James McEntee, S. F. Lindsay, L. P. McGarry, M. E. Stickney, Frank P. Kerns, E. S. Jernegan

 

First National Bank
of Rhyolite

Rarity

Type

10

1902 Red Seal
1902 Blue Seal

9

-

8

-

7

-

6

-

5

-

4

-

3

-

2

-

1

-

Rarity based on state
10 being rarest

Most currency from
Nevada can be rare.
Please
contact us
for our buying prices.