A five-dollar bill issued by Kirtland Safety Society Bank of Kirtland, Ohio, 1837.

The Kirtland Safety Society Bank was founded in November 1836. Like many local banks during the 1830s, it issued its own notes, like this one, to serve its customers. However, the bank issued notes totaling far more money than it actually had in specie—gold and silver—in its vaults. Kirtland Safety Society Bank collapsed during the financial crisis of 1837 because it could not honor the currency and loans it had issued in only a few short months of existence. Notes like this one, representing money from a failed bank, are called obsolete or broken bank notes.