ANA Auction Colonial Notes Evoke Images of Our Founding Fathers and Historic Philadelphia

Over two centuries ago, influential citizens traversed the cobblestone streets of Philadelphia’s center conducting important banking, commerce and politics. It was those politicians, in harmony with their American born brethren from the Carolinas to Massachusetts Bay, who crafted the Declaration of Independence in 1776. That Spirit of 76’ lives to this day and Philadelphia breathes its history every moment. It is appropriate that we convene in The City of Brotherly Love to conduct the exciting and diversified Stack’s Bowers auction session of United States paper money and related items on Wednesday August 8, 2012 at 5:00 P.M. in the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The 918 lot session contains such a wide selection of American paper money classics and related items, that there should be something for everyone’s taste. Colonial and Continental paper money of course has always been a favorite and this year’s ANA paper money session is graced with the exceptional Tremont Collection of Early Massachusetts Currency. The Tremont Collection is one of the most exciting and historically relevant paper money collections we have been honored to catalog and offer at auction. Formed with a unique eye toward rarity and importance, the notes were printed from handcrafted printing plates and exhibit subtle details that only this individual artistry can endow. The collection contains Massachusetts currency notes from 1740 to 1781, each possessing an individual character that is unlike our modern notes printed in the billions. Viewing each and every note carefully yields rich details, not seen at first glance, that make such rarities charming and pertinent to their time period. Many of these notes are the illustrated Plate Notes in Eric P. Newman’s The Early Paper Money of America and many are the finest known of their types.

The core of the collection exemplifies the engraving craftsmanship of Paul Revere and others who worked alongside him. He was a master silversmith, famous in his day and now, but his paper money is a footnote to most Americans, if known at all. However, in numismatics, his ‘’Sword in Hand’’ image, used on the backs of four series dated 1775-1776, is arguably the most well known American paper money image. It seems fitting, that the illustrious American patriot crafted much of the paper money that circulated in Boston and Massachusetts at the onset of the American Revolution and for several years. The bold forcefulness of his patriot’s stature and sword, holding the scroll of MAGNA CHARTA, create an amazing effect. There were four dates using Sword in Hand vignettes, all are represented in the Tremont Collection in superb condition.

Featured are two stunning August 18, 1775 notes (lot 7273 and lot 7274), the finest of their kind, both from the Boyd Collection where they were treasured by one of America’s greatest collectors. Revere’s earlier copperplate engraving was used on a large format Anderson MA-1 Loan Certificate (lot 7270) and two 1775 Copperplate notes, including the finest known (lot 7271). John Gill and Thomas Fleet worked with Revere to create and print the Codfish Bills and Rising Sun issues. The iconic Massachusetts pine tree, used for decades on the 1652 silver shillings, appears several times on notes from the collection. The pine tree graces the small format 1750 $1/16 type (lot 7269), the backs of the Codfish bills and Rising Sun notes (lot 7284, lots 7287-7290), the face of the rare denomination One Shilling 1779 Rising Sun (lot 7289), and most importantly, the backs of the extremely rare 1776 John Gill ‘’large denomination notes’ where the tree is large and boldly embellished (see lot 7285).

Earlier notes from Massachusetts, prior to 1750, were of an entirely different character. Generally, they were large format and are classified as Bills of Credit. They circulated as money, but were backed differently by the government, depending on the time and circumstances. The 1740 Silver Bank note (lot 7266) offered in the sale is the finest known, backed by bullion and extremely rare as nearly all were redeemed. The 1750 $1/16 mentioned earlier also has unique style, smaller and filling the need to make change. All 28 notes from the collection form a “Who’s Who’s” of Massachusetts Bay Colonial paper money from this fascinating era. Please take the opportunity to enrich your knowledge about these museum caliber Massachusetts notes and obtain treasures for your finely crafted cabinet.

Other Colonial and Continental notes deserve plaudits. The finest early 1746 dated B. Franklin imprint Delaware note is cataloged (lot 7293). Extremely high grade Continental Currency notes have been in low supply and high demand for years. A stunning PCGS Gem New 67 PPQ May 9, 1776 $1 (lot 7312) is the finest we have seen and among the highest graded of all Continental notes. Fiscal paper and documents form a suite of four fascinating items, primarily related to Benjamin Franklin — as Philadelphia as they come. These include a Franklin signed receipt (lot 7323), an unlisted Privateer’s form printed by Franklin at his press in Passy, France (lot 7234) while Minister to the Court of Louis XVI and an intriguing American exchange to be paid at Paris by Franklin and emitted to Caron de Beaumarchais (playwright of the Figaro Plays and integral in intrigues to obtain weapons for the American Revolution, the purpose of this Exchange). The Exchange for 29,000 Livres (lot 7321) is unpublished and signed by John Jay as President of the Continental Congress in 1779.

The 59 lots of Colonial related notes in our ANA sale weave a rich tapestry from this fascinating field of paper money collecting. This truly special selection in our 2012 ANA World’s Fair of Money Auction should garner attention and we welcome your participation.

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