CLEVELAND, Ohio — A box found during a bank vaults inventory turned up 70 checks signed by 24 U.S. presidents. The treasure trove was acquired by Huntington Bancshares during a 1983 hostile takeover of Union Commerce Corp.
Wall Street Journal writer David Benoit said the box included what perhaps was the last check Abraham Lincoln wrote — to “self” for $800 on April 13, 1865.
Prof. Richard Sylla of New York University, chairman of the Museum of American Finance, said, “This is a classic example of one bank acquiring another and coming up with some old records as a result.” He worries that many such records are thrown away.
The Huntington had the documents appraised and exhibited them in Pittsburgh before a planned auction. However, public response caused the bank to cancel the sale. The check collection was donated by a former director of Union Commerce and was displayed during the U.S. Bicentennial.