The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 25, Number 1, January 2, 2022, Article 12


Website visitor Marion Painter of Astoria, Oregon posed a question this week. I added the illustration of a New Hampshire Continental Loan Office Certificate from the Eric P. Newman collection. -Editor

New Hampshire Continental Loan Office Certificate I am writing to you in hopes that you can point me in the right direction for information regarding Loan Office Certificates. No, I do not own or am wishing to sell one - I just need to know what they are! It seems silly I know, but please have patience with me. I am a genealogist and in reading through some wills I have come across the following in an estate inventory:

One Loan Office Certificate No 1566 for 600 D__
One Loan Office Certificate No 7913 for 300 D__

While the will was written in Brecknock Township, Berks County, PA in 1791, no mention was made of them. They are listed in the estate inventory as I said which occurred in 1796. The portion that they are included on also has other bonds and debts that were due to the deceased, so they appear to be an asset, not a debt. They are not assigned a value, just noted they were there and I don't know what to make of it.

Can you please tell me the best place to discover information on them? Was it an early banking situation?

I reached out to a couple friends who had great responses on this. First, here's what Tom Kays found in the Massachusetts Historical Society Collection of Nathanial Appleton. -Editor

This material consists of receipts and loan certificates for Revolutionary War debt received and issued by Nathaniel Appleton, Continental loan officer for the state of Massachusetts, from 1786 to 1792. The collection primarily consists of documents for the 1790 loan program created by Hamilton, but also contains certificates and receipts from earlier loan programs.

Alexander Hamilton proposed a new plan to fund the national debt. Rather than pay it off, he recommended the consolidation of old debts into new securities (stocks) with public revenues specifically pledged to pay their interest. Subscribers to these certificates of federal debt received a 6% stock issue, interest starting in 1791 and payable quarterly, equal to 2/3 the principal due. The final 1/3 came in the form of another 6% certificate of deferred interest that would start in 1801. Another stock certificate of 3% covered the interest due from December 31, 1789 to December 31, 1794. Hamilton's plan was ultimately a success, and what remained of the domestic war debt was paid off by individual states establishing sinking funds to retire any outstanding debt certificates.

To read the complete article, see:
United States Continental Loan Office, Massachusetts Receipts (

Joe Espositio passed along this excellent National Archives page. -Editor

"Old Loan" And Tax Records

During the Confederation and early federal period, the government raised revenues by borrowing money from private citizens, businesses, and foreign nationals. In exchange, the Treasury Department issued loan certificates and, later, stock. These "Old Loan" records can be used to determine individual wealth or affiliation with a business concern.

The earliest federal tax records containing information about individuals are from the Direct Tax of 1798. The National Archives has microfilmed the only records of this tax in its custody, the records of Pennsylvania.

Most federal tax records available to researchers, however, date from the Civil War. These Civil War records contain information on individual wealth. They may also be used to determine certain occupations, such as doctor, attorney, peddler, manufacturer, or dealer in spirits, because these professions were taxed separately.

Records of the Bureau of the Public Debt (Record Group 53)

The public debt functions of the Treasury Department go back to 1776, when loan offices were established in each of the 13 states by the Continental Congress. These offices were set up to receive subscriptions to the domestic loans for financing the Revolution. After the federal government was established in 1789, the first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, continued the loan office system as part of his plan for funding the Revolutionary War debt. In 1817 the duties and records of the State Commissioners of Loans were transferred to the Second Bank of the United States, which had been chartered in the previous year, and the loan offices ceased to exist.

Continental Loan Office Records

The National Archives has microfilmed Continental loan office records for Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. The records consist mainly of registers of loan office certificates and liquidated debt certificates. The loan certificate represents an early effort to fund the war and circulate the currency; the liquidated debt certificate was an instrument used to consolidate the public debt by settling the claims of individual citizens. In the absence of a circulating medium, certificates of interest ("indents") were issued on these obligations. Other types of records include registers of interest certificates, indexes, journals, ledgers, and accounts current.

Loan certificate registers typically consist of entries under specific denominations, arranged chronologically by date of issue with the name of the subscriber and serial number of the note. Some registers of interest certificates show the signatures of subscribers, but the records seldom show their addresses or other identifying information

To read the complete article, see:
Genealogical And Biographical Research: A Select Catalog Of National Archives Microfilm Publications (Part 2) (

Thanks, everyone! Do readers have anything to add? Can anyone point us to larger collections of images of these certificates? -Editor

For more information on the Newman New Hampshire Continental Loan Office Certificate, see:
Lot 89389 (

E-Sylum Northeast ad01

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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