14 Incredible Artifacts From New York Banking History

Citi board game

Photo: Julia La Roche for Business Insider

Have you ever wondered how New York City became a global financial powerhouse?  The Museum of the City of New York has just unveiled its “Capital of Capital: New York City Banks and the Creation of a Global Economy” exhibit explaining how this happened.

This new exhibit, which commemorates the 200th anniversary of Citigroup, takes visitors through the rise of NYC’s banks from an early source of credit for local merchants to the global financial centre they make up today.  

We checked out the exhibit yesterday and it has some pretty cool historic documents and artifacts.  We’ve included some highlights in the slides that follow.

This is Bank of New York's ledger book containing the accounts of George Washington.

Source: Capital of Capital

This might look like a strange log, but it's actually a section of water pipe installed in 1799 from Aaron Burr's Manhattan Company (the predecessor of today's Chase).

Source: Capital of Capital

This is the 1812 minute book with notes from the first meeting of the Board of Directors of the City Bank of New York, which is of course today's Citi.

Source: Capital of Capital

Source: Capital of Capital

After the Civil War, investment banks began to rise as underwriters for massive infrastructure projects. These are examples of bank stocks.

Source: Capital of Capital

This 1922 Savings Bank Machine is a precursor to an ATM. However, it's not certain where it was installed or if it was ever used other than just a novelty. It worked by a user depositing coins in the machine and a receipt would come out. The user would then write their account number on half of the receipt and deposit it back in the machine by opening the horizontal door and slipping it through the slot. Pretty neat!

Source: Capital of Capital

Of course, famed financier J.P. Morgan is featured in the exhibit. That's an old magazine cover he graced.

Source: Capital of Capital

This is a vintage ticker tape machine which printed out stock prices.

Source: Capital of Capital

Speaking of ticker tape, here's the one from the stock market crash of 1929.

Source: Capital of Capital



Source: Capital of Capital

No this is not real gold bullion. It's a replica gold bar inscribed 'FNCB travellers Checks 'Better Than Money.'' It's undated and it served an an advertisement.

Source: Capital of Capital

This vintage 1964 Citi board game looks fun.

Source: Capital of Capital

The exhibit continues to take the visitor through the later part of the 21st century and even through the 2008 financial crisis. In this section, the Bloomberg Terminal even gets a shout out.

Source: Capital of Capital

And so does the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Source: Capital of Capital

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