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Pennsylvania. August 10, 1739. Twenty Shillings. Fine, split and repaired. Printed by Benjamin Franklin.

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Pennsylvania. August 10, 1739. Twenty Shillings. Fine, split and repaired. Printed by Benjamin Franklin.

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Pennsylvania. August 10, 1739. Twenty Shillings. Fine, split and repaired. Printed by Benjamin Franklin. No. 30127. Signed by Samuel Smith, William Monington, Thomas Leech, Abraham Chapman, and Joseph Harvey. Split at horizontal center fold and once reattached with adhesive tape. Repaired and intact, though stained in a band across face and back. Nicely detailed, almost complete where tape once adhered, nice borders, "Printed by B. Franklin" complete and bold at base of back. Good body remains, still possessing the inherent stiffness that caused nearly all issues from this era to split at the horizontal fold. A great rarity and an incredibly historic piece. Though plenty of Pennsylvania (and Delaware) colonial currency says "Printed by B. Franklin and D. Hall" on it, Franklin retired from the printing business by 1748. He spent most of the 1750s through 1770s in England and never laid a finger on a printing press over that interval. In 1739, however, when this note was pulled from his press, he was "B. Franklin, printer," a tradesman, just 33 years old, in the prime of his career as a printer and publisher. Poor Richard's Almanack had gone into print just seven years earlier; by 1739, it was still essentially a local Philadelphia phenomenon. Copies of the Almanack from this era are almost as rare as Franklin's paper money from this era. A 1737 Poor Richard's Almanack brought $16,250 at Christie's in 2009; a first edition passed a half million dollars at Sotheby's the same year. Believe or not, the auction records on this currency issue are almost as elusive as those on Poor Richard's of the same era, yet not so dear. Heritage and CAA, in their long history of selling colonial currency, have offered just one genuine example from the 1739 issue, which brought nearly $3000 over a decade ago. In that description, the cataloguer (presumably Len Glazer, a long-time colonial currency expert) noted "This is the first example of this issue that we have had to offer in any of our sales, and in fact, it's the first example of this issue that this cataloger can recall handling in 40 years of dealing with Colonial Currency." The Ford collection, a multigenerational hoard of paper money extending through the ravenous purchases of F.C.C. Boyd back to the inventories of dealer/collectors Henry Chapman and John Haseltine, included precisely three specimens of the 1739 issue, two of which reached the market in Ford III (2004) and the final of which appeared in Ford VIII. None have appeared since, making this the first note to be offered in almost a decade. It is fair to say the importance of the 1739 notes was underappreciated in Ford; most collectors did not gather that while many notes say they were printed by Franklin, very very few actually were. This one was. Its condition is better than the Ford VIII note (also split and repaired), and superior to the similarly split but unrepaired 15 Shillings in Ford III. The 20 Shillings in Ford III, the Newman plate note, may be the finest in private hands and is probably worth twice (or more) than what it realized in 2004. Franklin was 33 when he printed this note, a small businessman whose scientific and political career lay entirely in his future. The total population of notes that were produced when Franklin was still active in the print shop that bore his name is tiny: even including the once-in-several-lifetimes Ford sales, fewer than a dozen have sold in the last 20 years, and just four of them were from this 1739 emission. This is a prize for anyone who appreciates colonial American history.

Additional Information

Grading Service RAW
Grade N/A
Designation N/A
Mint Location N/A
Strike Type N/A
Circulated/Uncirc N/A
Grade Add On No
SKU or Cert # 8003

Listed below are blog articles related to this product listing, if applicable:

Description

Details

Pennsylvania. August 10, 1739. Twenty Shillings. Fine, split and repaired. Printed by Benjamin Franklin. No. 30127. Signed by Samuel Smith, William Monington, Thomas Leech, Abraham Chapman, and Joseph Harvey. Split at horizontal center fold and once reattached with adhesive tape. Repaired and intact, though stained in a band across face and back. Nicely detailed, almost complete where tape once adhered, nice borders, "Printed by B. Franklin" complete and bold at base of back. Good body remains, still possessing the inherent stiffness that caused nearly all issues from this era to split at the horizontal fold. A great rarity and an incredibly historic piece. Though plenty of Pennsylvania (and Delaware) colonial currency says "Printed by B. Franklin and D. Hall" on it, Franklin retired from the printing business by 1748. He spent most of the 1750s through 1770s in England and never laid a finger on a printing press over that interval. In 1739, however, when this note was pulled from his press, he was "B. Franklin, printer," a tradesman, just 33 years old, in the prime of his career as a printer and publisher. Poor Richard's Almanack had gone into print just seven years earlier; by 1739, it was still essentially a local Philadelphia phenomenon. Copies of the Almanack from this era are almost as rare as Franklin's paper money from this era. A 1737 Poor Richard's Almanack brought $16,250 at Christie's in 2009; a first edition passed a half million dollars at Sotheby's the same year. Believe or not, the auction records on this currency issue are almost as elusive as those on Poor Richard's of the same era, yet not so dear. Heritage and CAA, in their long history of selling colonial currency, have offered just one genuine example from the 1739 issue, which brought nearly $3000 over a decade ago. In that description, the cataloguer (presumably Len Glazer, a long-time colonial currency expert) noted "This is the first example of this issue that we have had to offer in any of our sales, and in fact, it's the first example of this issue that this cataloger can recall handling in 40 years of dealing with Colonial Currency." The Ford collection, a multigenerational hoard of paper money extending through the ravenous purchases of F.C.C. Boyd back to the inventories of dealer/collectors Henry Chapman and John Haseltine, included precisely three specimens of the 1739 issue, two of which reached the market in Ford III (2004) and the final of which appeared in Ford VIII. None have appeared since, making this the first note to be offered in almost a decade. It is fair to say the importance of the 1739 notes was underappreciated in Ford; most collectors did not gather that while many notes say they were printed by Franklin, very very few actually were. This one was. Its condition is better than the Ford VIII note (also split and repaired), and superior to the similarly split but unrepaired 15 Shillings in Ford III. The 20 Shillings in Ford III, the Newman plate note, may be the finest in private hands and is probably worth twice (or more) than what it realized in 2004. Franklin was 33 when he printed this note, a small businessman whose scientific and political career lay entirely in his future. The total population of notes that were produced when Franklin was still active in the print shop that bore his name is tiny: even including the once-in-several-lifetimes Ford sales, fewer than a dozen have sold in the last 20 years, and just four of them were from this 1739 emission. This is a prize for anyone who appreciates colonial American history.

Additional

Additional Information

Grading Service RAW
Grade N/A
Designation N/A
Mint Location N/A
Strike Type N/A
Circulated/Uncirc N/A
Grade Add On No
SKU or Cert # 8003

Related Blog Article(s)

Listed below are blog articles related to this product listing, if applicable:

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