(5-20-22) First Financial Bank is donating to the Van Wert County Historical Society Museum a pair of $1 bills issued in the late 19th century by a predecessor of the bank, the First National Bank of Van Wert.

Terry Eikenbary and Gary Showalter (L to R), Van Wert County Historical Society, with Deena Aviles of First Financial Bank

The notes had been on display at current and previous First Financial banking centers and will now be available to see for all who visit the museum.

Deena Aviles, district leader and financial center manager for First Financial Bank

“Our mission at First Financial is to be a positive influence to help our communities thrive and that is just as true today as it has been in previous generations. Even under a different name, we’re proud to pass on these historical bank notes to our friends at the Van Wert County Historical Society Museum for the entire community to appreciate.”

The detailed artistry on these notes make them fascinating historical artifacts. The notes were issued by the First National Bank of Van Wert at a time when some banks were allowed to print their own paper currency. Both bills are in the denomination of $1. A description accompanying the notes indicates that they are probably from about 1870 and 1880. Whereas today’s U.S. currency carries the signature of the United States Treasurer and Secretary of the Treasury, these notes were signed by the bank’s cashier and president at the time.

The bank notes had been on display in First Financial banking centers in Van Wert over many decades. After First Financial sought a more visible home for them, the Van Wert County Historical Society Board of Trustees agreed to receive the donation.