The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 24, Number 52, December 26, 2021, Article 28


George Manz submitted this article about banknotes of the Weyburn Security Bank to be displayed at the 2022 Spring Regina Coin Show. Thank you. -Editor

The Weyburn Security Bank and its Rare Banknotes
By George Manz, FRCNA

  Weyburn Security Bank $5 note

In the early 1880s, the Canadian Pacific Railway began to bring settlers into southern Saskatchewan to farm the prairie landscape. The village of Weyburn was founded in 1899.

The Weyburn Security Company was formed in Weyburn in 1902 by a small group of American settlers from South Dakota and Minnesota. They purchased 50,000 acres of land with the aim to settle southeastern Saskatchewan.

They soon realized for their real estate, private banking, insurance, and lumber business to succeed, they needed to set up a chartered bank. So, in 1910, they petitioned the Canadian Parliament for a charter to incorporate as The Weyburn Security Bank.

On January 1, 1911, the Weyburn Security Bank opened for business with $1 Million in capital and branches in nine southern Saskatchewan rural towns and villages.

In 1924, the Weyburn Security Bank had branches in 27 different towns and villages as well as Weyburn. For more than 20 years, the small bank had to compete with much larger Canadian chartered banks.

Initially, the Weyburn Security Bank prospered by providing banking and other services to its mainly farming clientele.

Unfortunately, the Great Depression resulted in three successive crop failures. So, the Weyburn Security Bank had discussions with the Imperial Bank of Canada, which until then did not have any bank branches south of the mail line of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

In 1931, the Weyburn Security Bank ceased to exist after it merged with the Imperial Bank of Canada.

The Imperial Bank of Canada continued until 1961, when it amalgamated with the Canadian Bank of Commerce to become the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC).

  Weyburn Security Bank $10 note

The best history of the Weyburn Security Bank is Cecil Tannahill's ground-breaking book Saskatchewan Trade Tokens, Paper Money Scrip. In it, Tannahill writes,

“When the Weyburn Security Company made application for the charter they also made application for the issuance of bank notes and the dating of the notes was timed to fit in with the commencement of business as a chartered bank. The order for the notes was placed with the American Bank Note Company, Ottawa, and notes dated January 3rd, 1911 were issued in denominations of $5.00, $10.00 and $20.00. The newly printed notes were shipped to the Head Office in Weyburn and were sent out to the various branches on requisition by the branch Managers. The requisition was to specify how many notes of each denomination were required and it was to be taken into consideration that the $5.00 and $10.00 notes would be shipped from Head Office in sheets of four (4) and the $20.00 notes in sheets of two (2). The notes were to be cut by the Manager of the receiving bank and who was also responsible for the countersigning of the notes before they were placed in circulation. The Manager was required to gather in all soiled and mutilated notes and have them ready to send into Head Office when requested to do so. It was quite apparent that the officers of the Weyburn Security Bank wanted new notes available in each branch at all times and they appeared quite particular as to the condition of other notes being used. Their notes were very acceptable to the people of the region and it appears that 1925 was the peak year of circulation as records show $858,910.00 as notes outstanding.

And what notes they are! The face of the $5 note depicts a train in a city, while the $10 note portrays allegorical women and children. The $20 note has the portrait of a woman in an oval frame supported by two cherubs.

  Weyburn Security Bank $20 note

Tannahill writes,All soiled and mutilated notes when returned to Head Office were held until the next Director's meeting, at which time 3 Directors would count and burn the notes and the amount duly recorded.

The reason why Weyburn Security Bank notes are so rare is because the WSB officials cared about the appearance of the notes and then burned the vast majority of them. The 9th Edition of Charlton Standard Catalogue Canadian Bank Notes lists only 50 notes known to exist with nine of them in institutional collections.

The Regina Coin Show will display four issued Weyburn Security Bank notes at its 2022 Spring Show and Sale. As well, five Proof Weyburn Security Bank notes will accompany the display.

The show takes place on April 23-24, 2022 at a new venue: The Italian Club, 2148 Connaught Street in Regina.

George Manz is President of the Regina Coin Club and Fellow of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association.

For more information on the Regina Coin Club, see:

Rosa E-Sylum FPL 21 Ad 3

Wayne Homren, Editor

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