Virginia 1855 $20

Exchange Bank, Norfolk, Virginia


Meanwhile in 1855, life went on going with such things like Walt Whitman’s book of poems “Leaves of Grass” being published, along with Longfellow’s “Song of Hiawatha”. The first bridge to cross the Mississippi River was completed in Minnesota, and Congress authorized funds for the U.S. Army’s Camel Corp in the American West.

But in many places, including Norfolk, Virginia, 1855 was a year of a deadly outbreak of Yellow Fever. The sickness carries a primary effect of jaundice, or yellowing of the skin, which gives it the name. Mosquito bites carry this disease with symptoms similar to a typical flu. A major difference is that kidney and liver damage set in along with bleeding from the mouth, eyes and gastointestinal tract. Still a very dangerous disease today, it was much worse in 1855. In the city of Norfolk, Virginia alone, the disease killed well over 900 people in 1855. With the 1850 population recorded at 14,326, that makes approximately 15% of the city’s population taken by Yellow Fever.

The vignette to the lower left is that of the Virginia State Seal. This hearkens back to 1776, when Virginia broke from Great Britain. It is a depiction of Virtue defeating Tyranny, and with the crown on the ground, it is a direct symbol of defeating the British Monarchy. The State Motto is “Sic Semper Tyrannis” – “Thus Always to Tyrants’. This banknote has a nice back design printed in red-orange.

20 Dollars 1855 Obsolete Currency "Exchange Bank, Norfolk, Virginia"
20 Dollars 1855 Obsolete Currency "Exchange Bank, Norfolk, Virginia"