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A Territorial Legacy of a Bygone Capital

Hailing from a town whose existence came into being literally overnight, Guthrie in what is now modern-day Oklahoma served as the territorial capital from 1889 through 1907 and briefly as the state capital from 1907 to 1910, the first few years after Oklahoma became the 46th state admitted to the Union.

Befitting Guthrie’s status as the territorial capital, a bank bearing the name the Capitol National Bank organized within the boundaries of Guthrie in 1892. This institution, which operated until 1904, was one of a number of banks that sprang up in the Territory of Oklahoma and Indian Territory prior to statehood in 1907. These banks, authorized by the National Banking Act, issued National Currency which was backed by bonds deposited in the Treasury of the United States.

Notes bear the names of thousands of banks and localities like Guthrie which were spread across the United States and its territories. Today such notes are extremely popular with collectors seeking to represent hometowns or current places of residence.

Featured in our August 2024 Global Showcase Auction will be a Serial Number 1 $10 from the Capitol National Bank of Guthrie. This is one of just four known examples recorded by the National Bank Note Census for this short-lived institution. It is also among only a small handful of Serial Number 1 National Bank Notes recorded for any territorial bank on the United States as a whole.

As most territorial notes are scarcely traded and rarely appear at auction, the opportunity to acquire a comparable note is rare — as fleeting as Guthrie’s tenure as the territorial and state capital which would soon change after this bank ceased operations in 1904. In 1910 70.81% of Oklahoma voters opted to move the state capital from Guthrie to Oklahoma City, relegating Guthrie’s once important status to little more than a historical footnote.

To consign your numismatic items to one of our upcoming auctions, please call 800-458-4646 or email [email protected].

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