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Printed Before 1936

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Value of Old Banknotes from The Ontario Bank of Bowmanville, Canada

Old Money from The Ontario Bank of Bowmanville

The Ontario Bank originally opened in Bowmanville.  Don’t let that fact confuse you.  Bank notes from this institution could be marked as being from Bowmanville, Toronto, Montreal, Oshawa, Dundas, Guelph, Lindsay, Prescott, Alexandria, or Peterboro.  The Ontario Bank existed from 1857 until 1906.  Their bank notes range in date from 1857 to 1903.  We have more information about specific bank issues below.

In 1905 it was discovered that the general manager of the bank had been using bank money to make risky stock purchases that ultimately depleted the bank’s reserves.  The Bank of Montreal took over the bank’s liabilities in 1906.  All depositors were paid in full and the general manager went to jail for his crimes.

August 15th 1857 Bank Notes:

These dates read as Aug’t 15th 1857 or Augt. 15 1857.  The first dating convention was used by notes engraved as being from Bowmanville.  The second date was applied to notes engraved as being from Montreal.  Some have city overprints, others do not.  Notes without overprints are extremely rare.  $1, $2, $5, and $10 notes were printed with the 1857 dates.  All of those bank notes are extremely scarce if they have the engraved Montreal designation.  Bowmanville notes are definitely more common for the one and two dollar denominations, but they are equally scarce as five and ten dollar bills.  All notes say “Chartered By Act Of Parliament” and reference the capital of $2,000,000.  We are definitely interested buyers of these bank notes.

August 3rd 1860 Bank Notes:

These only exist as $20, $50, and $100 proofs.  They were printed by the American Bank Note Company.

August 15th 1861 Bank Notes:

These are slightly more common than 1857 notes, but they are still extremely rare.  The same denominations of $1, $2, $5, and $10 bills were printed.  Once again, only the two lower denominations are really ever collectible.  Bank notes were also printed with and without city overprints.

August 1st and November 1870 Bank Notes:

Counterfeits do exist from the series of 1870.  Authentic and issued bank notes are extremely scarce.  We have a $4 bank note pictured below.  Despite the fact that fives and tens were printed, the $4 bank note is pretty much the only one that is collectible.  These can says Augt 1st 1870 or Novr. 1st 1870.  There is no premium for one denomination over another.  These were printed by the British American Bank Note Co. Montreal & Ottawa.
1870 Ontario Bank Note

July 3rd and September 1st 1882 Bank Notes:

These bank notes from The Ontario bank were issued as $5, $10, and $100 bills.  These reference the capital of $1,500,000.  It wasn’t until the next series year that we see “Incorporated in 1857” printed on currency.  These are much more common as proofs than issued bank notes.  Any discovery from this series date would be a great find.  Please contact us if you have one.

June 1st 1888 (or 1903) Bank Notes:

Here is another very rare series of bank notes from The Ontario bank.  We know that just under 600,000 of these 1st June 1888 bank notes were printed.  That printing total was split between $5, $10, $20, and $50 bills.  You are really only likely to find five dollar bills available on the market today.  We have included a proof of a ten dollar note below.  Some bank notes are overprinted in red ink with the year 1903.  We think this corresponds with when George R.R. Cockburn replaced W.P. Howland as the signer on these bank notes.  Printing duties were handled by the American Bank Note Co. in Ottawa and New York (N.Y.).

January 1st 1898 Bank Notes:

If you want a bank note from The Ontario bank then you will probably have to settle for a $5 bill from 1888 or 1898.  These are far from common, but they are the most available of any issues from the bank.  They are also the newest.  Each bill should say Jan. 1st 1898.  The bank notes were signed by George R.R. Cockburn and by another bank official.  These were printed by the British American Bank Note Co. in Ottawa.


We buy all types of Canadian currency. We are especially interested in bank notes from The Ontario Bank of Bowmanville. You might be surprised at how much money we can offer for some currency. Send us an email with pictures of the front and back of your bank note and we will respond quickly with our offer.