American religious leader (1805–1844) who founded the Latter Day Saint movement. Exceedingly rare Kirtland Safety Society $2 bank note, 6.75 x 3, January 4, 1837, issued to Newel K. Whitney, signed at the bottom by Joseph Smith, “J. Smith, Jr., Treas.,” as well as Whitney, “N. K. Whitney,” and Frederick G. Williams, “F. G. Williams.” In very good condition, with overall wrinkling, scattered toning and soiling, and a tiny piece of tape affixed to reverse.
Organized as a joint stock company on January 2, 1837, the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company was set up to serve the financial needs of Joseph Smith’s growing Mormon community in Kirtland, Ohio. With no formal banking charter and insufficient assets to back their notes, the KSS quickly failed and was dissolved by November of 1837. Sparking intense distrust of Smith and the LDS leaders, believed to be enriching their own lives at the expense of their community, hundreds of bankrupted Mormons left the church as Smith faced lawsuits for ‘running an illegal bank.’ This incredibly rare bank note, issued two days after the KSS’s establishment, holds not only the signature of the LDS founder Joseph Smith, but also that of influential leader Newel K. Whitney and counsel in the First Presidency of the Church, Frederick G. Williams. A highly desirable and hard-to-find piece from the tumultuous beginnings of the now widespread religious movement. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.