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A new nation forged its independence through blood, bullets and bonds. Used to help finance the American Revolution, these loans are the earliest examples of the national debt. Several issues are presented, along with a very rare bill of exchange signed by Revolutionary War financier Haym Salomon. The collection is also proud to present a Treasury Circular signed by Alexander Hamilton.

The Bank of The United States was the nation's first attempt at a Hamiltonian central bank. Over two separate twenty-year periods, the country had a Congressionally chartered national bank. Featured within the collection are several rare documents, including two Bills of Exchange signed by the (Second) Bank's president, Nicholas Biddle.

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The War of 1812 notes are considered by many to be America's first paper currency. Issued to help finance America's second war with Britain, these Treasury Notes played an important role at a time when America had no central bank. Four examples are presented here from the 1815 series.

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From territorial expansion to industrial innovation, the nation went through extensive change in the decades preceding the Civil War.  Great economic change accompanied this period as well.  The Herbstman Collection features an Interest Bearing Note from the Panic of 1837, as well as several examples of loans used to finance the Mexican-American War.

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At the time, the Civil War was the bloodiest most expensive war in our nation's history. The United States would ultimately need to borrow over two billion dollars by war's end. Presented are examples of registered and coupon bonds, as well as the 1863 Interest Bearing Notes and the 1864 Compound Interest Treasury Notes.

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Consol bonds were issued by the Treasury Department at various times during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries to refund the national debt. Presented are two examples of registered Consols, representing two of the three bonds known outside the Bureau of the Public Debt.

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The Refunding Certificate was issued as a way for citizens to own an affordable government security. Issued in 1879, it was in circulation until 1907, when it was redeemed by the Treasury. The note was a hybrid of both currency and debt, and issued only in a $10 denomination.


The Spanish-American War proved to be a turning point for both Spain and the United States.  The Spanish Empire saw its final collapse as America entered the 20th century expanding its influence. This 3% issue was used to finance the war.  The collection features three rare examples: a registered $20 bond, a $20 bearer bond, and a $100 bearer bond, both complete with coupons.

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For centuries, Europe sought a passage to connect ocean travel from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In 1882, France began construction of the Panama Canal- the most ambitious earthmoving project in human history. By December 1888, France was forced to abandon the project, whereby the United States government took over the task of completing the canal. In 1904 work resumed, and ten years later the U.S. opened the canal to the world.  The Herbstman Collection is proud to feature one of two known bonds from this historic issue.

In 1917, America joined the Allied Powers in the first global war of the 20th Century. To finance this massive military undertaking, Treasury Secretary William Gibbs McAdoo created the Liberty Loans- bonds that were the birth of the modern Treasury market. The Liberty Loans presented here represent the most complete collection of World War I bonds publicly known.

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Bonds were not the only means the government used to sell debt to the public. Before, during, and after both World Wars, Savings Stamps were issued as an affordable alternative to Treasury securities. In addition to Savings Stamps, the Postal Service issued Certificates of Deposit and Postal Savings Bonds.  Examples of the stamps, the certificates of deposit, and Postal Savings Bonds are presented.

To compensate WWI veterans and their families for their military service, Adjusted Service Bonds were authorized by Congress as a remedy to the problems caused by the 1924 Bonus Act legislation. To compensate WWII veterans for their accumulated leave, Congress authorized Armed Forces Leave Bonds. Examples of both are presented.

The U.S. Treasury has sold Savings Bonds as a way for citizens to support the government and save for the future.  While these non-marketable bonds represent a small part of the national debt, they have played an important role in raising money for the Treasury. Featured are several examples of different series securities.

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Over the course of the last century, U.S. Treasuries became a cornerstone of the global financial system. Treasury Bills, known also as T-Bills, are the Treasury's shortest-term marketable debt obligation. Traded electronically today, these securities are the rarest securities within numismatics, and The Herbstman Collection proudly features two of the five examples currently known.

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U.S. Treasury Notes, known colloquially as T-Notes, are the single most traded sovereign debt instruments in the world today.  These securities are the Treasury's medium-term marketable debt instruments, and are viewed as benchmark for interest rates both domestically and around the world.  Like Treasury Bills, these Notes are numismatically very rare. The Herbstman Collection features the largest known collection of bearer and registered examples.

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The modern U.S. Treasury Bond has a maturity date of 30 years, and is the Treasury's longest-term marketable debt instrument.  This gallery features examples of bearer and registered Treasury Bonds issued from the 1930's through the 1980's, when the U.S. Treasury Department discontinued all paper securities.

Included in this part of the collection are historical books relating to bonds, advertisements, editorial cartoons, subscription forms, and other ephemera relating to U.S. Treasury history.  Also featured are galleries devoted to the Liberty Loan, War Savings Stamps, and U.S. Savings Bond Campaigns.

Copyright The Joe I. Herbstman Memorial Collection of American Finance 


All Rights Reserved

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