The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 26, Number 11, March 12, 2023, Article 22


In May and September Kagin's Auctions will offer colonial notes plated in Eric Newman's classic work, The Early Paper Money of America. Here's the press release. -Editor

  Vermont 40 Dollars front Vermont 40 Dollars back
Vermont February 1781 Forty Shillings Note

58 Newman Plate Notes Featured in Kagin's Auction of John J. Ford Colonial Currency Highlights

Kagin's Auctions will be offering 58 plate notes from the standard colonial currency reference, The Early Paper Money of America by Eric P. Newman. The first on-line only auction is scheduled for May 20, 2023, and the second September 23, 2023. Each auction will contain scores of Newman plate notes and rarities.

Reference works typically illustrate the Finest Known Specimens of each type or variety listed as their plate notes, and that certainly is the case with these John J. Ford Highlights notes.

It is quite rare these days to encounter an auction sale with even 5% of the coins or currency being finest known specimens. Even the top 18th century Registry Sets don't usually contain more than 10% of reference plate notes in their offering, observed Donald H. Kagin, President of Kagin's Auctions. We are excited to offer a sale that includes over 15% plate notes out of the 375 notes in our upcoming two auctions of Highlights from the John J. Ford Colonial Currency Collection.

All the notes were purchased from five auctions of the John J. Ford collection sold by Stack's spanning almost three years from May 2004 until March 2007.

All 13 Original Colonies and Georgia along with a few private scrip notes are represented in this offering. Featured lots include a Vermont FT-7 February 1781, 40s, PCGS VF-35 from the F.C.C. Boyd Estate, Massachusetts MA-34CF and MA-44 dated May 31, 1710, Contemporary Counterfeits of 20s and 50s respectively (both Newman Plate Notes); an exceedingly rare and possibly Unique Rhode Island RI-1 August 16, 1720, 2s, and a Rhode Island RI-43 February 2,1741/2 6d in PCGS AU50.

  Massachusetts 16 Shillings front Massachusetts 16 Shillings back
Massachusetts November 17, 1776 Sixteen Shillings

Also offered in the two sales are four of the immensely popular Paul Revere printed November 17, 1776 Sword in Hand notes including the MA-248 16s PCGS AU55 details (Newman Plate).

Early Paper Money of American 2023 edition book cover In cooperation with the publisher of Greysheet, Kagin's is offering the 2023 6th edition of The Early Paper Money of America at the discounted price of $90 or free to successful purchasers of $10,000 or more from the auctions.

Colonial Paper Currency represents one of the most historically important periods in our nation's history. Although as a series, these notes have been overshadowed by their coinage counterparts, they nonetheless are as important, not only in telling our nation's early history, but also its actual survival as an independent nation. Without the emissions of Colonial notes during the Revolutionary War, the United States could not have paid its troops or for their provisions, and the Great Experiment of an independent Republican government would have surely failed.

The first Colonial Issue of the 1690 Massachusetts Bills of Credit to pay for a failed military excursion, were in fact the first official bank notes in the Western World. Only Russia and China had printed official notes earlier. The utility of paper currency was soon recognized and despite fears of inflation, thousands of notes were printed by the Continental Congress and by every colony and Georgia. During the Revolutionary War, the printing of such notes was rampant. Without any precious metal backing, the notes quickly inflated until they were worth more as leggings to protect the Revolutionary troops during their winter campaigns then as money. Eventually, goods of little value were disdained as, not worth a Continental.

Despite their abundance in the 18th Century, through the centuries, most of these notes have been lost through redemption, heavy commercial use, and damage. Fortuitously a few insightful 19th century numismatists collected and accumulated these notes so today's numismatists can appreciate and enjoy them. From about 1910 until the 1950's one such collector, F.C.C. Boyd, amassed the largest collection of Colonial Currency ever formed. His collection was eventually purchased by John J. Ford.

A great many of the Ford notes, especially the very rare pre-1760 notes were imaged in 1967 for the standard reference work, The Early Paper Money of America by numismatic scholar and collector, Eric P. Newman.

From October 2003 through October 2007, Stack's auctioned the massive Ford collection of coins and currency in 21 different sales. Five sales featured Ford's Colonial Currency—the most comprehensive collection in history. An additional three sales conducted in 2013 by the combined company of Stack's-Bowers Galleries also contained Colonial Currency.

In 2015, the Eric P. Newman Collection was sold in multiple sales by Heritage Auctions. This and the Ford collection were by far the two largest collections of Colonial Currency sold in the last century.

For more information, see:

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

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Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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