Better Know Your Notes: John Sherman on $50 Third Charter Nationals

Our new series “Better Know Your Notes” seeks to give insight into the people, places, and themes found on paper money. Our first edition looks at John Sherman whose portrait is found on $50 National Banknotes of the Third Charter period.

John Sherman was born in Lancaster, Ohio, on May 10, 1823, to Charles and Mary Sherman. He was the eighth of eleven children, including older brother, William Tecumseh Sherman.

Sherman was elected as a U.S. Representative from Ohio in 1855 and served in that role until 1861. That year he was elected to the Senate by the Ohio legislature to replace Salmon P. Chase, who had been nominated Secretary of the Treasury by President Lincoln.

During the Civil War Sherman, then on the Senate Finance Committee, worked closely with his predecessor Chase to finance the war effort. Sherman and Chase pushed for the legislation that became the First Legal Tender Act, which resulted in the issuing of United States Notes (or Legal Tender Notes) in 1862. The act helped put the Federal Government on more firm financial ground and turn the tide of the war.

In 1863 Sherman introduced legislation that became the National Banking Act of 1863, something Chase had originally pushed for in 1861. This established a system of nationally chartered banks throughout the nation and modernized the American banking system.

From 1877 to 1881 Sherman served as Secretary of the Treasury for President Rutherford B. Hayes before returning to the Senate. During his second tenure in the Senate, Sherman sponsored legislation for the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Silver Purchase Act of 1890. The Silver Purchase Act resulted in the issuance of Treasury Notes (or Coin Notes).

Sherman served in the Senate until 1897 when he accepted President William McKinley’s nomination to become Secretary of State. He retired from that post in 1898 at the onset of the Spanish-American War and retreated from the public eye. Sherman died at his home in Washington, D.C. on October 22, 1900. Just two years later his portrait appeared on the new Third Charter $50 National Banknotes, which were a result of the bill Sherman introduced in 1863.

Join our mailing list

Don't miss an auction!

Subscribe to our newsletter.


Contact Us

West Coast Office • (800) 458-4646

Midwest Office • (800) 817-2646

East Coast Office • (800) 566-2580

[email protected]

Hong Kong, China Office • +852 2117 1191

[email protected]

Follow Us

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter

We are sorry, an unexpected error occurred!
Please enter a valid email address

I'm Interested In...

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Stack's Bowers Galleries e-newsletter.