Most of these have been posted in the lengthy "Old checks" thread (http://goccf.com/t/178681), but I thought I'd compile them all here. These are not checks exactly, more like short-term loans, but they have the same features. I enjoy them because of their similarity to obsolete banknotes. All of these were issued prior to the Civil War.
I posted this one earlier but neglected to point out an interesting detail. When I found this promissory note I noticed the small eagle on the left, but apart from that it was fairly non-descript. I almost passed over it, but then looked a little closer.
The eagle is part of a medallion engraving, created by a "ruling machine" which converts 3-D objects into very fine parallel lines, much like a topographical map. What I realized is that the medallion was actually a U.S. coin -- the back of a $2-1/2 quarter eagle gold piece. But somehow the engraving had been reversed and elongated. I'm not sure how that came about, but using Photoshop I flipped and shrunk it back to it's original form.
And here's an example of the type of coin used to make the engraving.