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Paper Money Auctions – First National Bank of Medicine Lodge, Kansas Serial Number 1 $5 Brown Back

By Brad CiociolaCurrency Specialist, Stack’s Bowers ……
First National Bank of Medicine Lodge, Kansas Serial Number 1 $5 Brown Back. Images courtesy Stack's Bowers Galleries

Stack’s Bowers Galleries is pleased to offer for the first time to the collecting community an incredible serial number 1 $5 Brown Back from the First National Bank of Medicine Lodge, Kansas in the upcoming Official Currency Auction of the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Spring Expo. This note represents a remarkable feat of survival as just $285 of the bank’s total issue of $40,060 in National Currency remained outstanding in 1910.

This is the only known surviving example of National Currency issued by the bank.


The town of Medicine Lodge is located in Barber County. Before the area was settled by whites it was occupied by the Kiowa people who believed the nearby Medicine Lodge River, or A-yadalda P’a as they called it, was sacred due to its high content of healing Epsom salts. The Kiowa constructed a tabernacle a few miles south of the present day town for the celebration of their annual sun dance in 1866. The area was also the site of the Medicine Lodge Treaties signed between the United States and a number of different Plains Indians tribes including the Kiowa, Comanche, Apache, Arapaho and Cheyenne.

A group of white settlers led by John Hutchinson founded the town of Medicine Lodge on a 400-acre site north of the confluence of Elm Creek and Medicine Lodge River in February 1873. The sleepy rural Kansas town grew slowly aided by a bustling local livestock trade. The First National Bank received its charter there on September 24, 1884.

The bank issued only $5 Brown Backs in sheets of four notes each. A total of 2,003 sheets were issued by the bank before it was liquidated on March 1, 1894. The note to be offered is the Plate C note from the first sheet of notes ever issued by the bank. Medicine Lodge had one other note-issuing National bank–the Citizens National Bank of Medicine Lodge–which operated from late 1886 until early 1891. That bank remains unreported with just $175 outstanding in 1910.


A number of light folds are seen, likely from storage rather than circulation. The printed inks retain much of their original boldness while the hand signed bank officers’ signatures are neatly inked and very legible. The note is graded Very Fine 30 by Paper money Guaranty (PMG) with the grading service mentioning “Minor Restoration” which is limited to the margins of the note. This is a fantastic National currency rarity with an excellent location name and the always-coveted serial number 1.

The note carries a pre-auction estimate of $30,000 to $50,000.

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The Stack’s Bowers Galleries Official Auctions of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Spring Expo will be held March 29-31, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. To consign to this auction or a future auction please contact Currency Specialist Brad Ciociola at [email protected] or Director of Currency Peter Treglia at [email protected].

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