Origin of Salvaged Bank Note Questioned


Mar 28, 2002
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I was told by a colleague today of a 101-year old man who died in the last week. He was supposed to have boarded the Titanic but he missed it. There you go. Whilst searching for that story I came across this:

Jan 6, 2003, Eufaula, Oklahoma

(Paraphrasing): Sue Beck of Houston, Texas, says she's almost certain a $5 bill recovered from the wreck of the Titanic belonged to her grandfather C.E. Foley, who founded the First National Bank of Eufaula.

The note is from the Eufaula bank and has Nov. 16 1907 printed on it, the same day Oklahoma became a state. Foley, in addition to being a banker and businessman, was an advocate of statehood for Indian Territory, according to the "Chronicles of Oklahoma".

Beck believes her grandfather carried the $5 bill issued by his bank as a momento and packed it with his things in luggage which was put aboard the Titanic. According to family legend, his 2-year old son suffered an appendicitis attack on sailing day in 1912 and they missed it.

Michael Shanklin, assistant curator of the "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition", running at the Omniplex until 6th July, said investigations revealed only one person aboard Titanic had spent a significant time in Oklahoma, one-time Guthrie resident Helen Churchill Candee. But she is not nearly as strong a candidate as Foley for bringing the $5 bill onto the Titanic.

Anyone heard about this Foley chap and his Titanic connection before?

Cheers,

Boz
 
Nov 23, 1996
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Hello:

This issue came up on one of the other Titanic Lists and this was my response to the issue.

The claim was that C.E. Foley who was president of this bank at one time. Was to have traveled on the Titanic and changed his plans at the last moment, due to an illness in the family. However, his luggage took the trip on the ship.

To take a look at this from the other side - The History of the banknote

Based on the information that I have on hand in my files on the various banknotes recovered from the RMS Titanic Inc.

In 1997-1998 I assisted RMS Titanic, Inc in the identification and labeling of various banknotes recovered from the wrecksite, as it was their plan originally to place banknotes recovered on display at the various exhibitions, using banknotes from the local area were the exhibition currently was.

For the Boston, MA exhibition, they used a $10 National Banknote Series - 1902 from the Merchants National Bank of New Bedford, MA. This note as all reproduced as a lithograph and sold at the various exhibitions.

The Note in question should be:

A $5.00 National Bank Note Series 1902 for the First National Bank of Eufaula, OK
Charter Number 5904, Date of Charter 1901. RMS Titanic, Inc inventory number 87/0049-24.

If I can find my National Banknote book I could give more detail, however it is in storage, along with all my research notes on the various bills.

However, I have my copy of the Inventory listing of all banknotes recovered in 1987 at hand. As It is on the back of a framed copy of the lithograph, and various items given to me by RMS Titanic, Inc. I lost interest in finishing this project when George Tulloch was voted out.

The story about it being in his luggage is nice, but not likely as the bill was one of over 789 different piece's of paper money found in one doctor's bag, which most likely held the contents of the purser's safe. These various notes were shown durning the "Famous" Live from Paris program when the safe and the Doctor's bag were opened on "Live" TV in 1987.

Based on this the note would have had to have been placed in the purser's safe by a passenger onboard.

Also If I had my National Banknote Book on hand I could tell you how many of these notes were issued and how many were still outstanding in circulation in 1935 when the National Bank System was eliminated.,

As for the other National Banknote collector's: This is a Rarity 5 State and a R4 Very scarce note with 6-11 notes left in circulation (I could go into further detail if had the National Banknote Book on hand)

Also given the fact that money circulates it could have come from anywhere or anyone as RMS Titanic, Inc., recovered just over 85 National Banknotes out of the total of 789 pieces recovered in 1987.

As a side note 95% of these 789 pieces were in the form of United States Currency, with the rest being from the United Kingdom, Canada, and France and only 3 notes were of the $20's The vast majority of these notes were 1's and 2's and 5's
 
Mar 28, 2002
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Steve, thanks for this detailed information. I had no idea so many notes were recovered and documented. Who's was the Doctor's bag you mention in the 1987 "live" opening in Paris? I take it this cash was transferred from the purser's safe to this bag?

Cheers,

Boz
 

Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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The story fits in with testimony from Lightoller. He told the US inquiry that towards the end he saw the Assistant Purser carrying a bag that he assumed contained ship's business. That would explain how the bag came to be on deck and able to fall clear of the ship. Lightoller mentions that both the ship's doctors were also present.
 
Nov 23, 1996
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Dave:

Since I have been away for a few days you bet me to the answer.

According to testimony of Lightoller, the Assistant Purser was seen on the Boat deck with a doctor's bag.

If I remember correctly this bag was one of the first items recovered from the debris field during the 1987 expedition. The contents of this bag were shown on live Television after it was removed from the Purser's safe during the 1987 "Live from Paris special".

There were several other items in the doctor's bag also such as jewels and gold coins, however I only have an inventory of the type and denomination of the various pieces of currency as that was the area that I was conducting research on back in 1998.
 

thilton

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Mar 27, 2014
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The money from Eufaula Oklahoma was from my great grandfather CE Foley. My great grandmother Rose Foley and their 5 sons (my grandfather being the oldest) had been living in Europe. My grandfather Leo Whitlow (Mr. Foley was actually Leo's step father) had been attending boarding school in Brighton. The family had paid for 1st class voyage on the Titiantic
to return home but did not board at the last minute. Yes, some of their baggage did make it on board. There are lots of story's within the family why they didn't board but I remember very clearly my grandfathers stories (he was 17 years old at the time) We had family lunch every Sunday at my grandparents house and many times my grandfather would share the wonderful story of his memories of being on the
dock, seeing the ship, etc. He also took pictures that he shared and we believe a family member still has them but not sure. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions.
 

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