Issued before the Federal government began printing and distributing currency, obsolete or "broken bank" notes are among the most popular collectibles with today's paper money afficionados. The presently offered piece is one of the more popular issues, with the principal vignette depicting a herd of six horses galloping across a field from the viewer's left to the right. This scene dominates the upper left corner of the note, with the state seal of Georgia and a medallion bearing the denomination to the right. A second medallion, again bearing the denomination (as a Roman numeral) appears in the lower left hand corner. Beside this, filling most of the lower central portion of the note, is a financial obligation which states that "THE BANK OF MORGAN Will pay FIVE DOLLARS to Bearer on demand", followed by the city of issue - "Morgan" - and the date - "May 1 1857". In the lower right hand corner of the note is a small vignette depicting a very attractive young lady, with her left hand raised to shield her eyes from the sun. She wears a period dress, and is very properly seated beside a plant of some type. This vignette is enclosed in an oval frame, with a floral design highlighting the frame. Along the bottom of the note, immediately below the financial obligation, are the signatures of "J H. Smith" and "J. W. Guiney"(?) in their capacities as "Cashr." and "Prest.", respectively, neatly separated by a small vignette of a sleeping dog. The imprint of "Bald, Cousland & Co. Philadelphia" appears between Smith's signature and the frameline, while that of "Baldwin, Bald & Cousland, New York" can be found in a similar position below Guiney's signature (which of these entities did the actual printing is not sure). A small shield design can be found in each corner of the note at each of the junctions of the inner framelines, adding a touch of elegance to the overall appearance of the piece. A bright red "FIVE" protectorate (anti-counterfeiting device) appears atop the financial obligation at the lower center. The verso, as with many notes of this era, was left blank.
The town of Morgan, Georgia, is located in the southwestern corner of the state, and serves as the county seat for Calhoun County. It was incorporated on May 5, 1856, and was named after General Daniel Morgan, a prominent Revolutionary War figure. It is not the largest town in the county, but it is centrally located, hence its position as the county seat. According to the 2000 census, the population of the city of Morgan was 1,464 individuals, a 481% increase from the previous official counting. Calhoun County, named for Vice President John C. Calhoun, is a major producer of peanuts, pecans, soybeans and livestock.
The presently offered specimen is in crisp uncirculated condition, with sharp contrast and strong ink uptake. The red protectorate is dark and bold, adding a nice splash of color to an otherwise black and white note. The signatures are strong, with the difficulty in identifying the individual signers attributed more to the penmanship than the quality of the note. Though this note is cut tight along three sides (the top is somewhat wider than the rest), the inner framelines are complete and well defined. Two paper imperfections (vertical line by main vignette and small spot by secondary vignette), caused during production, are noted for accuracy. Overall measurements are approximately 3.00 x 7.25 inches. A very attractive and popular issue.