New Jersey 1827 $20

Franklin Bank  Opposite New York 

Incorporated 1925 – closed 1827

Lewis M. Wiss Cashier      W. A. Thomson President (William)

This obsolete banknote has relatively little history to offer. The bank itself was only open for two years, from 1825 – 1827, so it is not surprising that there wouldn’t be much to tell.

The note has an attractive design, printed by Durand and Wright, New York, and was probably engraved by Asher Browne Durand, who was active in engraving from 1824-1834. Asher and Cyrus Durand were innovators of design, creating many devices to assist including geometric lathes and devices for carious lines and ovals. These inventions set the design for many banknote engraving styles for generations.

This note displays these early innovations clearly with attractive guilloche type designs in the corners and upper right, three of which have the numeral 20 within them. Franklin of course is represented, twice, and a lovely vignette of whom I assume would be a representation of Bounty laying a laurel on a bust of George Washington with a large eagle, talons holding arrows and an olive branch, looking back at her. A small steam powered side wheeler is placed at the bottom center. The elements are perhaps not what we would consider fantastic, but they were very nice indeed for 1827. 

Much less is known about the bank president, W(illiam). A. Thomspon, other that the obvious fact that he served as the bank president. A little more – very little – is known of the Cashier, Lewis M. Wiss, and this due in part to his letters the president Jefferson and Lincoln which were archived in the Library of Congress.

Mr. Wiss sent a letter to Thomas Jefferson concerning improvements on a dry-dock system invented by Thomas Jefferson while he was in office. A second letter was sent to congratulate Abraham Lincoln in his re-election.

Franklin Bank of New Jersey $20 front 1827
Franklin Bank of New Jersey $20 back 1827