One important takeaway: Dr. Selgin drives another nail in the coffin of the "100% non-fractional gold reserve" argument. He appears to conclusively demonstrate through the historical record that free market conditions will not result in a 100% gold standard. As I have argued before, we have moved onward, never to return to a gold standard, because our monetary theory has simply advanced to far. The idea of non-fractional gold as the only legitimate form of money is excessively retrograde, IMHO.
In Dr. Selgin's view, as I interpret it, it was the instability of land speculation in that boom-bust pioneer era which caused the instability of those banks, not anything inherent in the institution of free banking itself. In effect, our most popular idea of why Free Banks were a failure, is simply wrong.