1891 Seward 50 Dollar Treasury or Coin Note

US currency 1891 50 Dollar Treasury or Coin Note William H. Seward
Series 1891 $50 Treasury Note depicting William H. Seward with the signatures of William Starke Rosecrans and Enos H. Nebecker.
Fifty Dollar Treasury Note Series 1891
1891 $50 Treasury or Coin Note
1891 50 Dollar Treasury or Coin Note, William H. Seward

The note is found plated in the well received book "100 Greatest American Currency Notes," by Q. David Bowers and David M. Sundman as number 56 on page 85.

Obverse: Bust of William H. Seward, Secretary of State from 1860-1869. He negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia, a transaction which at the time was called “Seward’s Folly.” This note is extremely rare as only 25 pieces are still reported outstanding on U.S. Treasury books. Small red treasury seal at right and ornamental floral devices at the borders.
Reverse: Vintage frame ornate design.
Signatures: (as depicted) William Starke Rosecrans, Register of the Treasury and Enos H. Nebeker, Treasurer of the United States.

Inscriptions:  Series of 1891  -  Legal Tender Act July 14 1890  -  Register Of The Treasury  -  Treasurer Of The United States  -  Treasury Note  -  The United States Of America Will Pay To Bearer Fifty Dollars In Coin Washington, D.C.  -  Amer Septent Sigil Thesaur  -  Sheridan  -  This Note Is A Legal Tender At Its Face Value In Payment of All Debts, Public and Private, Except When Otherwise Expressly Stipulated In The Contract.

A face design made even more rare as the $50 denomination was skipped in the 1890 series and produced in limited numbers in 1891 The note is one of only 22 recorded examples for this single Friedberg number design. Of the 22 examples six are in Governmental collections and another permanently resides in the ANA museum leaving a scant 16 pieces available to collectors. The print run for this design was 80,000 examples and of which only 23,500 were distributed. Treasury records reported only $1,250.00 worth or 25 notes are outstanding.

The portrait vignette of William Seward at center is one which is quite dramatic as it displays him in a full profile view. William Seward is well known by his most notable achievement as Secretary of the State when he negotiated the deal to purchase the Alaska Territory from Russia which at the time was mocked and known as Seward's Folly. He retorted to those who questioned the purchase by saying "It will take people a generation to find out." Seward also was an intended target in an assassination attempt which was directly related to Abraham Lincoln's murder on April 14, 1865 but ultimately survived even after being stabbed several times. Seward ultimately led a long life for the time period and passed away at the age of 71 in 1872 with his legacy being immortalized on this rare banknote.

 1890 - 1891 Series
The Treasury Note (also known as a Coin Note) was a type of representative money issued by the United States government from 1890 until 1893 as a result of the Legal Tender Act of July 14, 1890 (Sherman Silver Purchase Act). This Act authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to issue these notes in payment for silver bullion purchased by the Treasury Department. The entire issue of these notes thus became backed by metallic reserves. The notes were redeemable in actual coin, but whether silver or gold coin should be paid out was left to the discretion of the Secretary of the Treasury.
  The coin notes were issued in denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, and $1000 Dollars of the series of 1890 and 1891. A 500 Dollar note with portrait of General Sherman was also authorized and a plate made, but only a proof impression of the note is known; it was not placed in circulation.
  The obligation on the Treasury or Coin Notes is as follows: “The United States of America will pay to bearer ...... Dollars in coin ... This note is a legal tender at its face value in payment of all debts public and private except when otherwise expressly stipulated in the contract.”

  A distinguishing feature of the Series 1890 notes (and one that greatly appeals to collectors) is the extremely ornate designs on the reverse side of the notes. The intent of this was to make counterfeiting much more difficult, but opponents of the design argued that the extensive detail would make it more difficult to distinguish between genuine and counterfeit notes. Consequently, the reverse designs were simplified on the Series 1891 Treasury Notes issued the following year.

  The Treasury Note was issued by the government to individuals selling silver bullion to the Treasury. Unlike other redemption notes like silver and gold certificates (which stipulated whether the note was backed by and redeemable for silver or gold coin, respectively), Treasury Notes stipulated only that they were redeemable in coin. This allowed the Treasury to fulfill the note's obligation in silver coin, gold coin, or both, at its discretion when the note was redeemed. This flexibility allowed the Treasury some control over releasing gold or silver when the relative value of the two metals fluctuated. The origin of the term "Coin Note" to describe the note is unclear – it may refer either to the coin it could be exchanged for, or derive from the fact that it was issued to pay for silver that would later be turned into coins.

1890 Issue

1891 Issue

1 Dollar      2 Dollars      5 Dollars      10 Dollars      20 Dollars      50 Dollars     

100 Dollars       1000 Dollars

United States 50 Dollar Bills

Enos H. Nebeker, Treasurer of the United States
Enos H. Nebecker (June 26, 1836 – January 6, 1913) was a United States banker who was Treasurer of the United States from 1891 to 1893.
  Enos H. Nebecker was born in Covington, Indiana on June 26, 1836. His parents had moved there from Piqua, Ohio. His father was a country banker and farmer and was active in the Whig, and later the Republican, parties. Enos received a common school education and studied for a year at Asbury University (now DePauw University). He then returned home to work with his father.
  Nebecker was elected Auditor of Fountain County, Indiana in 1870 and held that office for four years. He was a delegate to the 1880 Republican National Convention, where he supported James G. Blaine, and, after Blaine's elimination, James A. Garfield.
  He later campaigned for Benjamin Harrison. In 1891, President Harrison named Nebecker Treasurer of the United States, with Nebecker holding office from April 25, 1891 to May 31, 1893. Nebecker died in Covington on January 6, 1913.