The company was founded by Samuel Montagu in 1853 and first operated as an investment bank. It subsequently specialized in precious metals during the Australian gold rush, by managing exchanges between buyers and sellers.
In 1911, it was one of the founding members of the London Bullion Market Association. In 1980, the bank fell victim to the greatest theft in the history of the United Kingdom: 321 silver bars were stolen during a transfer between London and Germany.
In 1992, Midland Bank, one of Britain’s foremost banking institutions and owner of Samuel Montagu & Co., was re-acquired by HSBC. Samuel Montagu & Co became integrated with the private bank, which stopped using its name in 2000.