Paper currency, Blue Series, Fine
193 x 80 mm (7-1/2” x 3-1/8”)
HISTORY: The First National Bank of Scranton was incorporated in 1863 with James A. Linen (1840–unknown) appointed president and Isaac J. Post (1838–unknown) appointed assistant cashier. The year 1902 found them rebuilding their bank structure following a disastrous sabotage of their existing bank. Isaac Post had been promoted to cashier a number of years earlier and remained their cashier as the board of directors voted on January 14th; four days later, on January 18th, James A. Linen was reappointed by the board of directors as bank president.
OBVERSE: On this $20 bill, the portrait of Hugh McCulloch (1808–1895), 36th U.S. Secretary of Treasury (1884–1885) is prominently rendered. McCulloch served with Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865) and was the last of Lincoln’s cabinet to die. Also, along the upper center are the signatures of the Register of the Treasury, Judson Whitlocke (“J.W.”) Lyons (1860–1924), who served between the years 1898 and 1906, and the Treasurer of the United States, Ellis H. Roberts (1827–1918), who served between 1897 and 1905. At the bottom of the bill, both the cashier’s and the president’s signatures are signed by other than Post and Linen, those with authority to authenticate the bill. A blue seal is engraved at the bottom right corner. Bottom center are the words, “SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA MAY 6, 1902.”
For reference, J.W. Lyons was the first African American attorney in the State of Georgia, having graduated from Howard University Law School, and the second African American to hold the position of Register of the Treasury. The signature of the Register of the Treasury was found on almost all U.S. currency until 1923, along with that of the Treasurer of the United States.
REVERSE: A loosely clad, seated Victory overlooking the U.S. Capitol building, holding aloft a torch in her left hand while supporting a fasces in her outstretched right hand. A bald eagle and shield rest at her feet.
For reference, a “fasces” is a bundle of wooden rods with an axe in the middle. It was given to the Romans by the Etruscans and became a symbol of a magistrate’s power and jurisdiction. In modern times, it has taken on the mantle of justice and law. A fasces is on the reverse of the American Mercury dime. It also hangs on either side of the podium in the chambers of the House of Representatives in Washington, DC.