Massachusetts: June 18, 1776
Table of Contents
June 18, 1776
An emission of £100,000 in legal tender bills of credit. About 8,000 bills were printed in each of the denominations . One half of the bills of each denomination were payable in "Lawfull Money" from the treasury by June 18, 1778 and the other half by June 18, 1779. Bills under $1 in value were typeset and had denominations in shillings and pence. Bills of $1 (i.e. 6s) and over had three border cuts on the front along with an oval vignette derived from Paul Revere's "Sword in hand" issues, showing an American soldier holding a sword in his right hand and the Magna Charta in his left (actually it is a scroll labelled MC or MA CA). This is a document signed by King John in 1215, popularly interpreted as conferring rights to all free Englishmen. The back was rather simple consisting of only the typeset spelling of the denomination with a two line border above and below. Denominations of $1 and above were called in for exchange by acts of October 13, 1777 and December 13, 1777. Lower denomination issues were recalled by an act of October 13, 1778 (to be exchanged for the "Codfish" bills of October 16, 1778). All bills were printed on coarse paper by Benjamin Edes. Edes and John Gill published the radical anti-British newspaper, The Boston Gazette and Country Journal. The Journal's office was the meeting spot for the members of the Boston Tea Party just before they went to Boston harbor. Denominations issued were: 3d, 4d, 5d, 6d, 9d, 10d, 1s, 1s3d, 1s8d, 2s4d, 2s6d, 3s6d, 4s, 4s4d, 5s, 5s4d, $1 (6s), $2 (12s), $3 (18s), $4 (24s), $5 (30s), $6 (36s), $7 (42s) and $8 (48s).
1s3d Serial Number: (faded) MA 06/18/76
Signer: Israel Hobart? (faded).
Size: 56 x 81mm, measuring the longest dimensions (front border design: 48 x 71mm).
Comments: The serial number and signature on our example are faded; the back is blank.
Provenance: EANA mail bid auction 1/13/96 lot 367. Purchased through the Robert H. Gore, Jr. Numismatic Endowment.
5s4d Serial Number: (faded) MA 06/18/76
Signer: C. Davis.
Size: not available.
Comments: The serial number is faded and the back is blank.
Courtesy of Early American Numismatic Auctions, Inc. Images used with permission from their on-line auction catalog for the auction of April 20, 1996, lot 468.
$4 (24s) Counterfeit Serial Number: 6381 MA 06/18/76
Signers: John Lewis, Abner Ellis (both forgeries).
Size: 72 x 94mm, (front border design: 69 x 85mm, back border design 28 x 82mm).
Comments: The serial number and first signature are in red ink while the second signature is in black. The bill is prominently denominated as Four Dollars on the front and back with 24s displayed on the front in the corners and at the end of the text. The soldier holds a scroll bearing the initials MC for Magna Charta.
This example is a contemporary counterfeit that was detected and canceled with X marks across the front. The counterfeit can be differentiated from the original as follows: the counterfeit lacks a comma between SHILLINGS and L.M., which is found in the legal issue. Also, the bottom of the J in June is missing and the letter is positioned directly over the ascender of the d in received located on the line below, while in the original the bottom hook of the J is visible and the letter is to the right of the ascender of the d in received. In the date 1779 on the same line, in the counterfeit the 1 is directly above the final t in the word "that" from the line below while the S in Sum is aligned in the space between the straight descending strokes of the 7's in 77 of the date, while in the legal issue the 1 is to the right of the final t and the S is to the left of the bottom stroke of the first 7 in 77. On the back, in this counterfeit example, the top border lines are shorter than the bottom borders, while on originals both borders are long.
From this issue counterfeits are known for the 2s6d, 4s4d, 5s and $4 (24s) denominations. In the text L.M. refers to Lawful Money. On the back is the annotation Cou (or possibly Lou ?), [the first letter faces to the right, if it faced to the left it could be interpreted as an I for IOU]. The annotation is handwritten in a dark brown ink quite similar to the ink used to deface the front of the note.
Provenance: Purchased through the Robert H. Gore, Jr. Numismatic Endowment from the EANA mail bid auction of 4/26/97, lot 241, graded About Uncirculated.
$6 (36s) Serial Number: 3604 MA 06/18/76
Signers: Sam A. Otis (faded) and D. Jeffries.
Size: 73 x 90mm, (front border design: 68 x 85mm, back border design 26 x 84mm).
Comments: The serial number and first signature are in a red ink that has faded considerably, while the second signature is in a well preserved black ink. The bill is prominently denominated as Six Dollars on the front and back with 36s displayed on the front in the corners and at the end of the text. The soldier holds a scroll bearing the initials M-A C-A for Magna Charta. This note was from the half of the emission to be redeemed by June 18, 1778 (the other half was due by that date in 1779).
The text has faded somewhat and the colony name had been traced over in pencil. The text reads:
SIX DOLLARS. / COLONY of the / Massachusetts Bay. JUNE 18, 1776 / THIS Bill entitles / the Bearer to / receive THIRTY / SIX SHILLINGS / L. M. out of the / Treasury by the 18th / of JUNE 1778, and / shall be received for / that Sum in all Pay- / ments, agreeable to an Act of said / Colony. (36s.). In the text L.M. refers to Lawful Money.
Provenance: Purchased through the Robert H. Gore, Jr. Numismatic Endowment from the EAHA mail bid auction of 03/28/98, lot 326, graded Crisp Very Fine.