St. Nicholas Bank, 1854-1893
Remembered only by currency collectors who value its notes that featured Santa Claus, this historic bank operated on Wall Street throughout the second half of the 19th century. Historian Stephen Mihm found that the bank was established in 1853 with a capitalization of half a million dollars and operated until 1893. As a state-chartered bank, it issued its own currency notes in the years prior to the creation of federal notes. The bank was led by Caleb Barstow, who served as president from 1856 to 1874 and was remembered for his generosity. The bank's notes incorporate ships (the original Saint Nicholas was the patron saint of sailors), several images of Santa, and even one bill with early New York founder Peter Stuyvesant.
Backstory and Context