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Current Exhibition: "The Art of North Carolina Money:
The Stories Behind the Symbols"

bank note

This 1837 note from the Manual Labor Bank in Philadelphia has been nicknamed the "Elvis note" because of the similarity between the note's central figure and the King of Rock 'n' Roll.

Exhibit: June 19 through September 30, 2014

Few of us give much thought to the appearance of the money we carry with us each day. It comes from one source — the United States government — and exhibits very little variation in design. But years ago, until around the time of the Civil War, money was produced by a variety of private institutions in addition to central and local governments. The issuance of money from all of these different sources was confusing and people were often unsure how to distinguish the good from the bad.

Money issuers discovered long ago that an attractive object is more readily accepted than a homely one, so they embellished the money with artwork in the form of vignettes, or pictorial elements. Some of the artwork was just for eye appeal; some had symbolic or local meaning. This exhibition, drawn from the North Carolina Collection, looks at the art of North Carolina's money, tokens, and medals.