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Saturday, 22 March 2014


Cheques (or checks in American English) were first used in the English Civil War when the wealthy stored cash in goldsmiths' safes.

The first known cheque was written (for £400) on February 16, 1659. It was merely a slip of paper with a payment instruction from merchant Nicholas Vanacker to his scrivener (17th century forerunners of bankers).

The first traveler's cheques,went on sale in London on January 1, 1772. They were issued by the London Credit Exchange Company and could be used in ninety different European cities.

Cheques became common among the upper classes from the 1820s. The first literary use of the word cheque book was in the 1848 novel Vanity Fair.

A rancher in Oregon named Bill Brown would often write checks on any paper available. This often included soup can labels and newspaper margins. As he was rich and known for this, the banks would cash the checks without question.

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