Bank of issue
(912 words)

All credit institutions that issue banknotes are called banks of issue. A special form of bank of issue is the central bank or central bank of issue, which, as protector of the currency in a currency realm, possesses a monopoly on the issuing of bank notes and functions as a reserve bank (banks’ bank).

The earliest banks of issue were run in the 17th century by the London goldsmith bankers, who issued deposit certificates and later “goldsmith notes” for their customers’ deposits. Since in general fewer notes were redeemed than issued, the goldsmith bankers were able to guarantee credit for…

Cite this page
North, Michael, “Bank of issue”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 20 March 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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