Checks From Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt On Display At Local B - WNCN: News, Weather

Checks From Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt On Display At Local Bank

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Visitors to the Huntington Bank branch on High Street in downtown Columbus can get a real glimpse of history through some unusual financial records.

Checks written by George Washington, James Madison, and Abraham Lincoln are all on display.

One of the checks was signed by Washington for $500. But for what is not known.

Some of the checks are for amounts as little as $1.56, from Franklin Roosevelt, and as large as $10,000, which was signed by Samuel Clemons, who was better known as Mark Twain.

Images Of Checks, Display

But a check signed by Lincoln one day before his assassination has perhaps the greatest historical significance.

"I mean, it was written to self, and it was the day before he was assassination, so probably the last check that he was able to sign as President of the United States of America. I've heard speculation that this might be his last known signature -- that's what we also heard from a well-known historian," said Andy Livingston, executive vice president of Huntington.

It is believed that Lincoln was using the money to pay off his wife's shopping debts. In today's money, the $800 debt translates to $10,000.

The items came from a man who was on the board of a small bank in Cleveland. He donated the checks to the bank that was eventually bought by Huntington.

"Some people collect coins. Some people collect cars. This gentleman really liked checks, and I think the tie really, was certainly because of his banking experience," Livingston said.

The checks were on display in 1976 for the Bicentennial at the Ohio Historical Society.

"After the exhibit was broken down, the checks were put in boxes, and those boxes sat as is for 30 years until a Huntington colleague went through them and found what we had," Livingston said.

Now, the checks will make the rounds at Huntington branches, so children and history buffs throughout the region can look at financial history.

"It's interesting back in 1799 when George Washington signed that check, he was moving commerce just like we do today, maybe with a debit card, a credit card, or a check," Livingston said. "I think just the historical significance as they study history and go through history in schools, that boy, there was the … same monetary way of doing business 200 years ago as there is today."

The display is free and open to the public, and will run until the end of July at the branch on High Street, near Broad Street and across from the Ohio Statehouse.

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