Vancouver Island Events Website

A Licence to Print Money

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Thursday, May 21st, 2015
10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

“A Licence to Print Money” is an exhibit of historical Canadian banknotes on display at the Sidney Museum. The title conjures up the idea of a very profitable undertaking or business venture – but it was literally true. Up until 1945 many Canadian banks have a charter from the government that allowed them to print their own money. In fact, they were allowed to print more paper money than they had cash reserves to redeem.

While potentially very profitable, it wasn’t without significant risk – shareholders were liable for the bank’s debts up to twice the value of their shares. The exhibit has about 150 banknotes on display ranging from 1820 to 2006.

The exhibit has three themes: government banknotes from the first issue in 1870; chartered banknotes including from many banks that no longer exist; and “the second oldest profession” – fraud artists, con men, and counterfeiters – counterfeits, notes from non-existent banks, and notes from banks created to print money with no intention of ever redeeming it.

Many of us remember the $1 and $2 bills. Here’s a chance to reconnect with and show your kids the money you grew up with. Do you remember the $20 with a loon on the back or $5 with the salmon seiner? But, it’s a guarantee there will be notes you’ve never seen. How about a $4 bill, a $25 bill or a $20 bill with a picture that looks like Shirley Temple? These were all issued at one time by our government. There is an incredible range of banknote designs including some designs that would be considered inappropriate today.

You’ll also see banknotes from the only chartered bank founded in Victoria and the first bank to open a branch in Sidney.

Cost: Donation
Suggested: $5
Category: Arts | Entertainment
    Gallery | Exhibition
Location: Sidney Museum
2423 Beacon Avenue, Sidney
This event is for Everyone
More Info: Peter Garnham
[email protected]
250 655-6355
Event Website
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