Rare Raised Denomination Colonial – Pennsylvania Issue April 10, 1777
Colonial Currency was issued by the original thirteen colonies, as well as Vermont, from 1690 up through the late 18th century. It is a genre of currency collecting that is certainly not as broadly popular or as well understood as the federal issues that span the Civil War period to the present time. With that said, it is a field of currency collecting that offers far more variation than the comparatively technologically-advanced methods employed by the federal government to produce notes. The nuances of each particular colonial issue are fascinating to the novice collector and as varied as the stars in the nighttime sky. As with any collecting pursuit, it often takes many years of dedication and study to develop an advanced knowledge of such a historically rewarding subject matter.
The Pennsylvania issue of April 10, 1777 was authorized by the March 20, 1777 Act and the money raised was intended to support the Colonial army. There were four lower pence denomination notes (referred to commonly as small change notes), which were more square shaped. The remaining shilling and pound denomination notes used an elongated format with rectangular dimensions, with each displaying the same farming scene on the back. This issue was printed by John Dunlap, who was one of the most successful printers of this era and who was responsible for printing the first copies of the Declaration of Independence. Signers of this particular note were William Thorne and Philip Alberti. Notes of the 4 Shilling and greater denominations were to bear two signatures. A majority of the 200,000 Pounds in bills authorized by this issue were printed in black only, with the balance to be printed in both red and black.
From time immemorial there have been nefarious individuals looking to turn a profit through a variety of means, including debasement of coinage, production of counterfeit notes, creation of raised denomination notes, etc. Many raised denomination colonial notes seem to have been targeted in the northern colonies, particularly currency and fiscal items of Massachusetts. To the best of my knowledge this is the only known Pennsylvania raised note and the only one that has been raised to a denomination that did not exist for the issue. The note in question is quite an enigma due to the fact that the highest authorized denomination for this issue was the 4 Pound note. So how do we explain the presence of this supposedly nonexistent denomination? Through careful study and deliberation, the advanced student of colonial currency will be able to harness his intellect in order to solve this conundrum.
Somebody expended a lot of effort to reap financial gain by dramatically increasing the purchasing power of this note. The work was done with a great deal of skill with the denomination having been raised in a multitude of places: the obligation (the black central text), twice in red ink (both immediately above and below the text), four times in the red border design, and even on the back of the note above the central farming scene. The admonition “To Counterfeit is Death” did not seem to deter this miscreant. There are clues that lead us to determine that this note was a raised note and not a heretofore-unknown high denomination piece. The two signatures on this note are both written in black ink; on the 40 Shilling and 4 Pound notes there is one red and one black signature each. On the two highest denominations there is an additional typeset black border that is seen beyond the red border design; on this note no such border exists. The 8 Shilling note has an additional black text ornamental design that is seen on the inside of the red border design while such a design does not exist for the two highest denomination notes. One final abnormality that is the icing on the cake is that the back design for the two highest denomination notes is printed all in black, but for this note the back design is primarily printed in red, as it is for all of the other lower denomination notes. The verdict is in…this is an 8 Shilling note that has been raised to an 8 Pound note, thereby ending this spellbinding tale of chicanery and deceit and hopefully awakening the reader’s senses to an intellectual curiosity that lies beyond.
Vice President – Professional Currency Dealers Association
December 05, 2015
PCDA announces format change and dates for 2016 Convention
Professional Currency Dealers Association Meets in Rosemont. Announces 2016 Dates.
The Professional Currency Dealers Association held their 30th Annual National Coin and Currency Convention at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare, a Northwest suburban Chicago venue over the weekend prior to Thanksgiving, November 18-22. The event featured a 55 booth specialty bourse heavily weighted with dealers in rare currency, with booth holders from 24 states.
Commercial highlight of the convention was a three session Lyn Knight auction on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings that included both United States and foreign currency. The Central States Numismatic Society, partnering with the PCDA and the Chicago Coin Club, sponsored a four speaker educational forum on Sunday. Presenters included Dr. Steve Feller, whose topic was The Money of Iowa: From Pre-Civil War to World War II Prisoner of War Scrip. He was followed by Dr.Lawrence Lee on The Gold Banknotes of Clark Gruber & Co.: Denver City – Colorado Territory, 1861-1863. Researcher Peter Huntoon gave two talks, John Dillinger: America’s Most Wanted and the Banks That He Robbed, as well as Colonel Green: America’s Most Extravagant Collector.
The educational forum was one in an ongoing series of such symposia conducted by the Central States Numismatic Society at locations throughout the Midwest. These events are organized by CSNS Education Director Ray Lockwood. More information about future CSNS educational forums is available from him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patricia Foley, Convention Chairman for the PCDA event, announced that the 2016 dates for the 31st Annual PCDA sponsored convention will be November 17-19 at the Crowne Plaza. She said, “For 2016 we’ve changed the format a bit and will have public admission on three days, Thursday through Saturday. Hours will be 1pm-6pm on Thursday and 10am until 6pm Friday and Saturday. A $5 registration fee will cover bourse access all three days. We’ll also have an Early Bird/Professional Preview from 10am-1pm on Thursday, for which there will be a $50 registration fee. We’ll also once again have a really favorable room rate at the Crowne Plaza of only $115. People can call the hotel at (877) 337-5793 and mention the “National Currency and Coin Convention” for the discounted rate.”
Bourse Chairman Kevin Foley mentioned that the name of the event has been changed slightly for 2016. He said, “We’ll be known as the “National Currency and Coin Convention” moving forward. While our organization includes many dealers who also have significant coin inventories, and our convention bourse is open to coins, with coin dealers comprising roughly 25% of our booth holders, the new name better represents the core of our membership.”
Dealers interested in booth space at the 2016 National Currency and Coin Convention can contact Foley for an application at email@example.com or by calling (414) 807-0116
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