Gateway

This bill looks like it’s worth 10 bucks — until you see it’s the last of its kind

David Anderson, owner of Goldmine Coins and Relics, shows off what’s believed to be the only remaining $10 bill issued by the First National Bank of Gig Harbor.
David Anderson, owner of Goldmine Coins and Relics, shows off what’s believed to be the only remaining $10 bill issued by the First National Bank of Gig Harbor. The Gateway

As far as anybody knows, there’s only one. And David Anderson has it.

Anderson, owner of Goldmine Coins and Relics in Gig Harbor, owns what’s believed to be the only remaining $10 bill issued by the First National Bank of Gig Harbor.

The bill, issued in 1929, is valued at about $5,000, he said.

“I am very proud of owning it, and proud to display it in our new shop,” Anderson said. “I’m excited to show everyone a little bit of history in Gig Harbor.”

Between 1929 and 1933, the First National Bank of Gig Harbor printed $37,530 worth of national currency, including 1,728 of the $10 bills, according to antiquemoney.com. In addition, the bank printed 2,178 $5 bills, 384 $20 bills and 120 $50 bills.

Of all those, only seven bills are known to still exist, including the one held by Anderson. The other six are in private collections.

Anderson got the rare $10 bill more than a year ago, when a customer brought it and currency from banks in Ellensburg and Eugene, Oregon, to Anderson’s company, which buys and sells, among other things, gold, coins and currency.

Anderson said he instantly bought the Gig Harbor bill, which was “by far” the rarest of the three he bought from the customer.

“I really wanted it, and he showed it to me a couple years prior,” Anderson said. “I told him I would love to have cause I am the only coin shop in Gig Harbor.”

He declined to say more about the transaction, including how much he paid for the bill and who the seller was.

The bill was printed at the end of a 67-year period — from 1862 to 1929 — when U.S. banks were allowed to issue their own currency, based on the population of the cities where they were located.

“Gig Harbor had a really low population,” Anderson said, “so there weren’t very many released.”

The National Bank of Gig Harbor was started in 1926 by Seattle banker Carl Nielson. Having their own bank meant residents could get loans and make deposits in Gig Harbor, rather than have to travel to Tacoma or Seattle.

The Great Depression soon followed, however, and the bank closed in 1933.

In 1946, Nielson opened another bank in Gig Harbor, naming it Peninsula State Bank.

As for the First National Bank’s orphan $10 bill, Anderson plans to have it professionally framed and hung in Goldmine Relics’ new location at 5160 Point Fosdick Drive.

The company is moving from 5287 Olympic Drive Northwest, where it’s been for six years, because it needs more space to display its inventory and to house a jewelry laboratory to repair pieces or make new ones.

The grand opening will be Saturday (Nov. 3).

The shop will have lots of coins and bills up for sale.

The $10 bill won’t be one of them.

“I promised the gentleman who sold it to me I would never sell it,” Anderson said. “I am a proud owner of it. We are the one coin shop in Gig Harbor and it’s something a coin shop should have in Gig Harbor.”

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