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Bank of Kingscourt

Banknotes of the Irish Private Banks
Bank of Kingscourt, Co. Cavan


Kingscourt, Co. Cavan, Ireland mapBank of Kingscourt 1809

Bank of Kingscourt - 1 Series, Sole Partner

Kingscourt's mystery bank

The Bank of Kingscourt is the only Private Bank known to have issued notes in Co. Cavan. In addition to 1 Guinea notes, Post bills for 3 Guineas have also been seen. Examples of the bank's notes indicate that the Bank may also have operated from a Dublin office, address unknown. The design bears a resemblance to Bank of Ireland notes of this era.

Very little is known about this bank. It does not appear in any list of private banks of the era. Unusually, the names of the partners do not appear on the notes. This bank may have been a case of a merchant who engaged in banking as an adjunct to their main business, similar to some of the Ennis Banks in the West, or to Denis Moylan in Cork. So long as stamp duty was paid on notes, registration as a bank was not required.

Saunders' Newsletter of 13 August 1804 lists a Michael Birmingham as operating as a banker in Kingscourt [1]. This may be the operator of the Bank of Kingscourt. From this, and dates and years seen on notes, we conclude that the bank of Kingscourt most likely may have operated in the period 1804-1809.

The mention of Dublin on post bills, and of the Bank of Ireland as an annotation on a One Guinea bank note has lead to a suggestion that the Bank of Kingscourt might have operated as an agent for the Bank of Ireland. This is unlikely as 1809 pre-dates the era of Bank of Ireland's interest in outside agencies.

Kingscourt is a small prosperous industrial town in south east Co. Cavan. It had a Bank of Ireland branch which closed in 2021. This bank was originally a purpose-built branch of the Hibernian Bank, built in 1922. The Hibernian Bank originally opened in Kingscourt in 1909. Thus, this Bank of Ireland branch is highly unlikely to have any connection to a private bank operating up to 1809.

Bank of Kingscourt Note issues, Banknotes and Post Bills

Examples of banknotes and post bills are known, only in Guinea denominations. Except for one apparently issued note which has been mounted, all surviving notes are unissued. Notes of the Bank of Kingscourt are rare.

One Series of notes known for Bank of Kingscourt

There is one Series for banknotes of the Bank of Kingscourt by design. The identity of the banker is unverified.

Denominations recorded: Banknotes in denominations of One Guinea and post bills for 3 Guineas are known.

Printers: Martyn Seul

Bank of Kingscourt One Guinea note
Bank of Kingscourt, One Guinea proof

Bank of Kingscourt, One Guinea 1809
An issued version of the Bank of Kingscourt One Guinea banknote, dated 7th April 1809

It has been said that the handwritten details on this note could be spurious. Bank of Ireland is annotated on this note. The name of the signatory is unclear, and unlikely to be Michael Birmingham. It could quite reasonably be an employee of his.
[2., 24 Oct 2012, Lot 289; 12 March 2020, Lot 172]

Bank of Kingscourt post bill 3 Guineas
This unissued Bank of Kingscourt Post Bill 3 Guineas dates from 1805-1809 and indicates that the Bank may have also operated from a Dublin office
[3., 28 March 2019, Lot 291]


1. Saunders' Newsletter, 13 August 1804.
2. Auction Catalogue, Noonan's (DNW), London. Important British and World Paper Money, 24 Oct 2012.
3. Auction Catalogue, Noonan's (DNW), London. British and Irish Banknotes, 28 March 2019.

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