Old Scottish Banknotes

February 21, 2020

One of the discussions I regularly have is in regards to the number of old Scottish banks and the colourful artistry of old Scottish banknotes.

Early English banknotes by comparison were large plain white pieces of paper sometimes issued by local ‘town’ banks but mainly by The Bank of England.

The Bank of Scotland was formed in 1695 in the same year as the Darien Company. These companies were created to make trading easier for Scottish businessmen, as prior to this time all bills and finances were handled through agents in London who charged a fee for their services.

In the early 18th century the Darien Company collapsed. The Royal Bank of Scotland was formed around 1727 and competed fiercely against the Bank of Scotland.

These two companies were joined by The British Linen Company in 1746. As seen from the name this bank was actually formed by a group of linen traders and manufacturers. Twenty years later the company ceased their other activities to concentrate solely on the more profitable banking business. The word “Bank” was added to the company name in 1906.

Seeing the initial success of these three institutions other businessmen and like-minded individuals soon joined forces to form banking companies which would operate throughout Scotland. Each of these ‘local’ banks would issue their own individual and highly decorative banknotes. Over time some of these companies would merge with or be bought over by rival banks. Others would collapse financially in the various banking crises and cease to exist.

It is these early notes which are now collectable and highly prized.

I look forward to hearing from you if you have any early Scottish banknotes for sale.

I am also interested in buying old English banknotes.