The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 17, Number 51, December 14, 2014, Article 4


There are several important numismatic literature lots in the Stack's Bowers New York International sale (lots 2094-2112). Topics include British Security Printing, Counterfeit Detection, and Bank Note Engraving. Thanks . Here are a few of my favorites. -Editor

Lot #2094: 1819 Report on Preventing the Forgery of Bank Notes

1819 Report on Preventing the Forgery of Bank Notes

"Report of the Committee of the SOCIETY OF ARTS, c…….together with the approved communications, and evidence upon the same relative to the mode of Preventing the Forgery of BANK NOTES". London, 1819. Bound in Quarter Green Morocco Leather. Superb.

Very Rare Society of Arts 1819 "Preventing the Forgery of Bank Notes" A stellar and very rare volume, immaculate to behold and early: of great importance by textual content and engraved plates. Octavo. 17cm by 26cm. Finely bound in quarter green morocco leather with two raised bands by Sam Ellenport. Gilt edge titled "PREVENTING FORGERY OF BANK NOTES 1819". Complete, 72pp, plus three additional 57*, 58*, 59*. Six plates (one folding). Half title and full title page (named upper right).Printed by the order of the Society, with imprint T.C. Hansard, Printer. Etc... on title verso. Page 26, illustrated with Hansard’s Bank of England typographical protective micro-letter devices.

Plate I, opposite p32 : "T.C. Hansard’s Plan for a Typographic Bank Note". Printed on delicate paper with embossed central coat of arms. Plate II, opposite p38. Wide margin proof impression plate on card. Bank of England sample note, vignette of seated female center, various devices and text. Signed vignettes and imprint of Lambert, Newcastle-on-Tyne. Plate III, opposite p50. Vertical plate on card stock dated June 4, 1818 and titled. Central vignette of helmeted warrior (style of Heath, Perkins, Fairman) and enclosed in security lathe bands. Plate II, opposite p56. Folding plate of improved printing press. Plate V, opposite p58* intense lathe same for signature area of note by Richard Williamson (with interleave). Stunning. Plate VI, opposite p58* consecutive to last. Steel engraving on card for back of notes by Williamson. Cursive "ONE" center.

A fascinating work, complete and extremely rare and desirable thus. The interior condition is glorious, well printed and deeply embossed text pages. Plates choice overall with barest minimum of library soiling. All are now beautifully bound into a superbly crafted green morocco and complementary cloth volume. The first example we have enjoyed studying and cataloguing. Estimate: $1,500.00 - $2,500.00

To read the complete lot description, see:
"Report of the Committee of the SOCIETY OF ARTS ..." (

Lot 2096: Congreve’s 1820 Principals of Security Against Forgery

1820 Principals of Security Against Forgery "An Analysis of The True Principals of Security Against Forgery; Exemplified By An Enquiry Into the Sufficiency of the American Plan For a New Bank Note; with Imitations of Four of the Most Difficult Specimens of those Notes, Made By Ordinary Means; By which it is proved that there is no adequate Security to be achieved in One Colour, in the present State of the Arts, and that the True Basis of Security is in the Due Application of Relief Engraving, and Printing in Two or More Colours". Sir William Congreve, Bart. Second Edition. London: 1820. Enclosed in Custom Three Quarter Morocco Solander Box. Very Fine.

Significant Volume of & Congreve’s "…Principals of Security Against Forgery…" or "..the American Plan for a New Bank Note."

A superb presentation of this rare and important volume, very well preserved. Enclosed within a custom large octavo (18cm by 26.5cm by 3cm deep) solander box with marbled interior; tan three quarter morocco leather, marbled paper covers. Five raised spine bands with two gilt titled compartments. PRINCIPALS OF SECURITY AGAINST FORGERY and below, SIR WILLIAM CONGREVE. Octavo, 16cm by 24cm. Contemporary brown boards. Complete. (2), x, viii, 39, (1) pages. Eleven engraved plates with tissue guards with one color. Inside front cover with armorial pastedown plate "Congreve of Congreve". Imprint of Whiting, verso of p39. Internally strong, bright pages. Covers and spine properly strengthened and preserved professionally.

Fascinating and understandable text of principals discussed and descriptions of the plates. Plate 1: Bank of the United States (2nd) counterfeit elements (India paper affixed to page). Plate 2: Ancient Greek Bust across, corners with Fairman. Heath female profile (identical to Perkins-Fairman plate previous volume). Plate 3: India paper elements on page, Ancient Greek bust center, various lathe. Plate 4: Wellington ovals repeating pattern (nearly identical to Plate 3 in Perkins-Fairman). Direct to card. Plate 5: India paper lathe elements on page, various. Plate 6: Full plate on card, allegorical vignettes and small vignette dies (style of Fairman, Draper, Underwood, Philadelphia, United States). Plate 7: India paper elements affixed to page, various lathe and elements. Plate 8: Bank of England sample note with Perkins elements and Fairman, Draper, Underwood style vignette. Perkins-Fairman ornate bordering. Plate 9: Bank of England note, similar in style to then current type dated July 16, 1819. Direct to card. Plate 10: India paper elements affixed to page. One vignette and lathe strips. Plate 11: India paper elements affixed to page. Five intersecting lathe chain links. Fig. 1 in black on white and Fig.2 in full-three color Congreve pattern. Very important plate. All warm and bright.

Once again, the first we have studied in detail and catalogued. This significant work should elicit considerable interest from English and American collectors. Estimate: $3,000.00 - $4,000.00

To read the complete lot description, see:
"An Analysis of The True Principals of Security Against Forgery..." (

Lot 2097: Jacob Perkin’s 1821 "Prevention of the Forgery of Bank Notes"

1821 Perkins Prevention of the Forgery of Bank Notes

"Prevention of the Forgery of Bank Notes" bound (with) "Warming and Ventilating Rooms, (with) Ventilating the Holds of Ships", (with) "Hose For Fire Engines", "Improved Ships’ Pump", (and with)"Drawing Off the Back Water from the Water Wheels". All Submitted and Awarded Essays by Jacob Perkins. [London], Various March Dates, 1820. Quarter Leather on Marbled Boards. Enclosed in Custom Three Quarter Morocco Solander Box. Very Fine.

Jacob Perkin’s "Prevention of the Forgery of Bank Notes" Finely and Uniquely Bound with Other Important Perkins Scientific Extracts

Presentation Copy to Charles Toppan, 1821

As are all the volumes in the collection, a masterful and well preserved presentation enhancing visual presentation with highest archival technology and artistry. The original Perkins contained within a large octavo (17.5cm by 24cm by 4cm deep) solander box, three quarter light brown morocco leather with matching covers and interior marbling. Raised bands separate compartments, contrasting leather labels that are gilt titled "Society of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce" below "Jacob Perkins". The original Perkins is octavo, 13.5cm by 21cm. Contemporary marbled boards with new quarter calf spine, straight gilt embossed bands. Complete. (2), 22 pages. Eight engraved plates, first two with tissue guards. Internally bright and choice. Some plates with hints of foxing here and there.

The book extremely well preserved and protected with strong leather binding upon the original boards boasting lovely original marbling. A presentation copy to Charles Toppan (cited by Hessler as a cousin, twice removed) with inscription as such on page (2): "Charles Toppan/London Feb’y 17, 1821".The bank note essay encompasses pages 1-10 with two engraved security printing plates following page 22. Plate 1 and 2: Opposite, identical, double plate with medallion profile female portrait, titled "PERKINS, FAIRMAN & HEATH/SIDEROGRAPHIA". Top vignette as used on FDU and British private notes. Britannia oval dies, lathe and ancient frieze (dies of course similar to those used in other titles’ plates). There are six plates relating to the mechanical transactions. Extremely important content on all fronts.

The bank note siderographic presentation directly relates to the Society of Arts, Perkins, Fairman and Heath and to the prior volumes. The other mechanical essays are of great importance as well and the genius Jacob Perkins gathered several prestigious medals, silver and gold for his work. This final Perkins volume completes a quartet that very much ties together as a suite of primary source material from the 1819-1820 siderographic technology presentations in London at that time. According to the consignor, this is the only such example known with the complete transactions of Perkin’s presentations to the Society of Arts and bound together. It is impressive to behold.

A unique and extremely important volume, presented to its fullest advantage with superb binding, presentation and custom solander box. Magnificent is clearly accurate, both aesthetically and historically. Estimate: $7,000.00 - $9,000.00

To read the complete lot description, see:
"Prevention of the Forgery of Bank Notes"... (

What a stunning consignment! Be sure to check out all the lots online or in the catalog. These are seminal works in the history of anti-counterfeiting technology. I'd love to have even one of these in my library. Below is some additional information released by the consignor. -Editor

The collection is the largest single offering of British Bank Note Engraving and Counterfeit Detection works ever offered at auction. The collection has focused on assembling the most complete collection of works with a focus on quality and preservation. The collection started nearly twenty years ago. Important early additions to the collection include selections from the Bowers & Merena Halpern/Warner sale 1997 and Boys Town Collection. A large portion of the collection reflects private treaty sales and works secured from non-numismatic sources. A few of the more recent acquisitions were secured from numismatic sources.

No expense was spared to ensure the long-term archival preservation of the collection. Many works in original binding have been preserved in exquisite leather solendar boxes or leather bindings.

Stacks-Bowers E-Sylum ad 2014-10-30

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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