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Huntington Bank discovers original checks signed by Lincoln, Washington, Edison, Twain and others
The Plain Dealer ^ | Wednesday, January 11, 2012 | Teresa Dixon Murray

Posted on 01/15/2012 12:07:29 PM PST by DogByte6RER

Huntington Bank discovers original checks signed by Lincoln, Washington, Edison, Twain and others (photo gallery)

Photobucket President Abraham Lincoln made out this First National Bank printed check to "self" for $800 on April 13, 1865, two days before he died.

BROOKLYN -- Dozens of personal checks -- some 150 to 200 years old and signed by the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Charles Dickens, George Washington and Thomas Edison - have been unearthed by Huntington Bank.

Some of the historic checks, all signed by U.S. presidents, were unveiled Tuesday and are on display at Huntington's newest branch in Brooklyn. The display is free and open to the public seven days a week until Jan. 31.

The checks had been in storage since 1983 at Huntington's Columbus headquarters, after Huntington took over Union Commerce Bank and acquired boxes upon boxes of old records.

Only last year did a Huntington employee realize the boxes included personal checks written by a total of 24 presidents and a host of other famous figures, including authors, inventors, composers and community leaders.

"We really didn't open them up until about a year ago and we realized, wow, these are pretty valuable," said Huntington spokesman Bill Eiler.

One check on display was written by Abraham Lincoln on April 13, 1865 -- the day before he was shot and two days before he died.

The check, for $800, was written to "self" and drawn on the First National Bank of Washington, D.C. According to Eiler, the check was reportedly used to get cash to pay debts ran up by his wife, who was known to be a big spender. An $800 tab would be the equivalent of $11,260 today.

The check itself is worth about $25,000 today, according to Cowan's, a Cincinnati appraiser that valued the entire collection of 70 checks at $75,000.

Also among the checks are one from author Ernest Hemingway, written in 1932, for $3.50 to Curtis Publishing Co.; one from civil rights leader Susan B. Anthony, written in 1897, for $5.63, to pay a woman for office supplies; and one from Thomas Jefferson, written in 1793, for $22.69, to Jacob Stine.

The checks were quite a find, said Bill Barrow, special collections librarian at Cleveland State University.

"These are remnants of a vanished society," Barrow said.

He noted that actual checks with original signatures puts a human face on these famous figures from history. They show these people had bills too.

Barrow pointed out that most people probably didn't write many checks back then, so they took their time and often signed with proper, very legible signatures.

The April 1865 check from Lincoln is of special significance, he said. "The fact that President Lincoln had this in his hand the day before he was shot, it helps connect people."

Huntington has been rotating portions of the collection to various locations across the six states where it has branches. Eiler said some of the other checks could make their way to Northeast Ohio branches in the months ahead. For now, Huntington was trying to draw attention to its Brooklyn branch, which opened last month at the corner of Ridge and Memphis, on the site of an abandoned gas station.

Loretta Stanton, retail area manager for Northeast Ohio, said the bank had another branch in Brooklyn until about five years ago, but said it wasn't a good location. So it was closed. Huntington had been looking for another opportunity because it had "a huge gap" with no branches for many miles, Stanton said.

Huntington plans to open 12 additional branches in Greater Cleveland this year.


TOPICS: Chit/Chat; History; Local News; Miscellaneous; Society
KEYWORDS: americanhistory; banking; checkingaccount; checks; congress; education; entertainment; foundingfathers; georgewashington; historicaldocuments; lincoln; media; mittromney; obama; potus; ricksantorum; sarahpalin
Photobucket This check signed by George Washington in 1799 is valued at $10,000 today. Although it has some slight tears, it has a "strong signature."
1 posted on 01/15/2012 12:07:36 PM PST by DogByte6RER
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Photobucket James Monroe, president of the United States from 1817-1825, made out this autograph check on December 15, 1815, for $37 to Henry Sheppard.
2 posted on 01/15/2012 12:08:19 PM PST by DogByte6RER ("Loose lips sink ships")
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Photobucket Ulysses S. Grant, president of the United States from 1869-1877, signed this printed check on December 21, 1866 for $268.64 to Washington Corporation.
3 posted on 01/15/2012 12:09:49 PM PST by DogByte6RER ("Loose lips sink ships")
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Photobucket President Thomas Jefferson, in office from 1801-1809, signed this check, dated Dec. 14, 1793, as Secretary of State for $22.69 to Jacob Stine.
4 posted on 01/15/2012 12:12:24 PM PST by DogByte6RER ("Loose lips sink ships")
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To: DogByte6RER

Nifty!


5 posted on 01/15/2012 12:12:58 PM PST by skr (May God confound the enemy)
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Photobucket President Abraham Lincoln made out this First National Bank check to "self" for $800, reportedly to pay debts incurred by his wife, a day before he was shot and two days before he died.
6 posted on 01/15/2012 12:13:52 PM PST by DogByte6RER ("Loose lips sink ships")
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Photobucket President George Washington wrote this Bank of Alexandria check from Mount Vernon, VA., on May 31, 1799, six months before he died, for $500 to William Thornton.
7 posted on 01/15/2012 12:16:23 PM PST by DogByte6RER ("Loose lips sink ships")
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To: All

See more of the photo gallery at:

http://photos.cleveland.com/4501/gallery/historical_checks_on_display_at_huntington_bank_branch/index.html

Enjoy!


8 posted on 01/15/2012 12:17:51 PM PST by DogByte6RER ("Loose lips sink ships")
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To: DogByte6RER

Thank you for this post and these pictures. It really makes our history come alive.

I still write out paper checks and find very little difference between one of mine and one written out 150 years ago.


9 posted on 01/15/2012 12:20:57 PM PST by thecodont
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To: DogByte6RER
Statement: "These are remnants of a vanished society," Barrow said."

Response: Truer than he realizes now that we are joining "The Third World."

Comment: However, the checks are interesting as historical reminders.

10 posted on 01/15/2012 12:30:13 PM PST by AEMILIUS PAULUS (It is a shame that when these people give a riot)
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To: SunkenCiv

pinging ...


11 posted on 01/15/2012 12:32:32 PM PST by DogByte6RER ("Loose lips sink ships")
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To: DogByte6RER

This is very cool!

Thanks.


12 posted on 01/15/2012 12:39:18 PM PST by FoxPro
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To: thecodont
I still write out paper checks and find very little difference between one of mine and one written out 150 years ago.

I don't see any account numbers, unless the handstamp on Lincoln's check contains his account number? How would banks have figured out which account needed to be debited?

13 posted on 01/15/2012 12:52:33 PM PST by supercat (Renounce Covetousness.)
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To: DogByte6RER

Interesting. Anyone notice the scribbled face of George Washington on the check? I wonder if Lincoln did that?


14 posted on 01/15/2012 12:55:43 PM PST by Obama Exposer
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To: supercat

Aside from the accounting/routing numbers on the bottom of modern checks, I’d say they’re practically identical.

As far as knowing which account to debit, that’s an interesting question. I guess the banks knew who had which account since there were more face-to-face business dealing.


15 posted on 01/15/2012 1:00:31 PM PST by thecodont
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Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

To: Obama Exposer
...Interesting. Anyone notice the scribbled face of George Washington on the check? I wonder if Lincoln did that?...

That appears to be a stamp. Grants check has a stamp that has a postmark on it. Interesting.

17 posted on 01/15/2012 1:13:53 PM PST by FReepaholic (Stupidity is not a crime, so you're free to go.)
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To: DogByte6RER

Does that payee line on that one check say “Domino’s”?


18 posted on 01/15/2012 1:20:27 PM PST by Cyman
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To: DogByte6RER

Neat. Sort of like finding an old plumbing or grocery bill for an historic figure. Actually an old grocery bill would be very interesting.


19 posted on 01/15/2012 1:22:49 PM PST by 6SJ7 (Meh.)
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To: DogByte6RER
One check on display was written by Abraham Lincoln .... According to Eiler, the check was reportedly used to get cash to pay debts ran up by his wife, who was known to be a big spender.

It's nice to know that some things never change.

20 posted on 01/15/2012 1:43:51 PM PST by Nita Nupress
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To: AEMILIUS PAULUS

100 years from now, they’ll uncover a check signed by B. Hussein Omoselm for $6 Trillion.

Payable to China and the Moslem Brotherhood.


21 posted on 01/15/2012 1:56:31 PM PST by LyinLibs (If victims of Islam were more "islamophobic," maybe they'd still be alive.)
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To: TheMom

Neat.


22 posted on 01/15/2012 2:16:58 PM PST by Eaker (Remember, the enemy tends to wise up at the least convenient moments.)
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To: supercat

I clearly remember writing checks in the 1960’s when no account numbers were used. The accounts were held in the holder’s name. Signatures were checked to verify the account holder if there were any questions. Usually the bank teller knew the customers.


23 posted on 01/15/2012 2:21:45 PM PST by etcb
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To: DogByte6RER

Wonder if they all got free checking??


24 posted on 01/15/2012 2:22:52 PM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: DogByte6RER

Is it “ thirty seven & half” dollars. In Post #2?


25 posted on 01/15/2012 2:24:25 PM PST by alpo
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To: DogByte6RER
William Thornton

Born: 20-May-1759
Birthplace: Jost Van Dyke, West Indies
Died: 28-Mar-1828
Location of death: Washington, DC
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Congressional Cemetery, Washington, DC

Gender: Male
Religion: Quaker
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Architect

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: First architect of the US Capitol

William Thornton was trained as a physician, but practiced medicine only briefly, instead earning his living as a self-taught architect. He won a public competition with his design for the United States capitol building, for which he was awarded $500 and a small plot of land in Washington, DC. His winning design, selected by President George Washington, was deemed impractical and altered significantly during construction, but remains recognizable in his blueprints. As an architect, his other buildings of note included Octagon House, which for many years served as headquarters of the American Institute of Architects, and is now its museum.

He served eight years on the Federal District Commission, charged with overseeing the new city's layout and construction, and as the first phase of the District of Colombia reached completion he was appointed the first Superintendent of the US Patent Office. In this position, he had most of the Patent Office's papers secreted to his own estate to save them from advancing British troops in the siege of 1814, and then, as much of Washington was burned, he successfully pleaded with British officers to spare the Patent Office's large collection of modeled inventions. James Madison was Thornton's next-door neighbor in DC until he became President in 1809.

US Official Superintendent of the United States Patent Office (1802-28)
US Official Federal District Commissioner (1794-1802)
American Philosophical Society
Slaveowners
Naturalized US Citizen 7-Jan-1788
English Ancestry

26 posted on 01/15/2012 2:25:28 PM PST by DeaconBenjamin (A trillion here, a trillion there, soon you're NOT talking real money)
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To: Sacajaweau

lol

Or, if they received a free blender for opening an account?


27 posted on 01/15/2012 3:17:12 PM PST by DogByte6RER ("Loose lips sink ships")
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To: alpo

Yes ... it appears it is for “thirty seven & half” dollars, $37.50


28 posted on 01/15/2012 3:24:55 PM PST by DogByte6RER ("Loose lips sink ships")
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To: DogByte6RER

Thanks for the ping DogByte6RER, but this isn’t a GGG topic.


29 posted on 01/15/2012 3:32:54 PM PST by SunkenCiv (FReep this FReepathon!)
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To: DogByte6RER
The checks had been in storage since 1983 at Huntington's Columbus headquarters, after Huntington took over Union Commerce Bank and acquired boxes upon boxes of old records.

What I don't see explained is how Union Commerce Bank came to possess all these historic checks from banks all over the country.

30 posted on 01/15/2012 4:43:35 PM PST by Defiant (President Odinga is setting the stage for chaos in the streets. Obey!)
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To: DogByte6RER

I smell a rat.

I don’t believe for one second this treasure trove was in records storage. They’re awfully vague about it.

It’s a deliberate collection of disparate famous personages. I’m sure it belonged to a collector who kept them in a vault or a safe deposit at the bank. The person died and the bank never made a reasonable attempt to locate heirs — banks here in California sure don’t. They drill safe desposit boxes after one feeble attempt to contact often-elderly owners at old addresses. No obligation to actually find the owner, because they get to split the proceeds with the state.

I hope someone comes forward with information about the RIGHTFUL owner.


31 posted on 01/15/2012 5:31:07 PM PST by Blue Ink
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To: Defiant

Yes! Like you said, the supposed “checks in their records” aren’t even FROM that bank; they’re from all over the country.

Something’s definitely fishy.


32 posted on 01/15/2012 5:33:12 PM PST by Blue Ink
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To: etcb
The accounts were held in the holder’s name.

I guess the number of accounts and volume of checks processed were sufficiently low that name lookup could remain practical. Even without computers, I would think that if the volume of checks got very high, using account numbers would allow for somewhat faster information retrieval than using names. I'm not sure when various techniques of information processing were developed, though. Some optimizations which would be usable even for a paper-based account-management system may not have been developed until after computers came on scene, while others may have been used on paper before their use in computers. It's pretty amazing what people managed to do with paper when they had to.

33 posted on 01/16/2012 4:09:36 PM PST by supercat (Renounce Covetousness.)
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To: Blue Ink

All I needed to hear was “Huntington Bank” and it brought up such awful memories of dealing with them that I can’t imagine that this is the whole story!


34 posted on 01/16/2012 4:22:59 PM PST by Ray'sBeth
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To: DogByte6RER

bookmark


35 posted on 01/22/2012 10:38:12 AM PST by Pelham (Vultures for Romney. We pluck your carcass)
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To: FReepaholic; Obama Exposer

What you’re seeing is a 2 cent tax stamp, similar to a postage stamp, that was mandated on bank checks by the Revenue Act of 1862, in order to finance the Civil War.


36 posted on 01/22/2012 10:48:16 AM PST by Pelham (Vultures for Romney. We pluck your carcass)
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To: Defiant; Blue Ink

“I smell a rat.”

It’s not a rat. They inherited the Union Commerce material and bought the others from collectors like this crew:

http://www.ascheckcollectors.org/index.html


37 posted on 01/22/2012 10:56:46 AM PST by Pelham (Vultures for Romney. We pluck your carcass)
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To: Pelham

Thanks. I actually thought it might be something along those lines, I just thought that the article should have explained how the bank came to acquire all those checks from diverse sources.


38 posted on 01/22/2012 8:38:45 PM PST by Defiant (If there are infinite parallel universes, why Lord, am I living in the one with Obama as President?)
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