Imagine walking into a cafe, buying a drink with a bill from Molsons Bank, and getting change in the form of a Bank of Montreal bill.
Sound like product placement gone wild? It’s actually the way things used to be in Canada, until 1935, when the Bank of Canada became the sole legal issuer of Canadian legal tender.
Until that day, many banks and corporations issued their own paper currency, all with their own designs, all promising to redeem a certain amount of gold to the holder of the bill.
That’s the way it was pretty much everywhere, until central banks came into fashion in the twentieth century.
Check out these bills from the days when Canada had privately-issued money.
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