Michael Sullivan forwarded these notes on a copy of W. L. Ormsby's work, "A Description of the Present System of Banknote Engraving" recently offered by Spink.
I've been a long-term collector of counterfeit detector, bank note engraving, and related material since Charlie Davis sold me a Heath pocket edition counterfeit detector at the 1991 ANA Convention in my original hometown of Chicago. Over the years I've collected literature on US counterfeit detectors and bank note reporters, original manuscripts and legal documents related to 19th century US counterfeiting, 19th century British paper money counterfeiting and prevention, and a wide range of material on bank note engraving and vignette books.
In a recent issue of The E-Sylum, you shared information on the Spink Oct. 4, 2010 sale 1022, lot 1730 offering a copy of the Ormsby book titled A Description of the Present System of Bank Note Engraving (1852). The Spink lot photograph looked familiar. After looking at my own Ormsby in possibly red unique cloth and my second copy in half-leather, there was still something oddly familiar with the lot. I called Spink to inquire about it.
Spink shared additional information including tears & loss of paper on some endpapers. Comparing images of the Ormsby in the Spink sale with the Kolbe-Adams June, 1990 auction lot 389, they look nearly identical (rebacked with specific marks on the lower front cover). While not completely assured, my conclusion is that the Spink offering was actually the original John Adams copy.
Any NBS member or E-Sylum reader who would like to correspond about the the literature of counterfeiting, counterfeit detection, and bank note engraving can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
SPINK TO SELL RARE 1852 ORMSBY WORK SEPTEMBER 29, 2010
Wayne Homren, Editor
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