Massachusetts: 1737
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    Massachusetts Currency


    An emission of £2,625 in small shange bills of credit authorized on July 7, 1737. These notes were authorized at 6s8d per ounce of silver, that is, a three fold the value over the Old Tenor notes. At the time of issuance these notes were called New Tenor bills but with the emission of Second New Tenor (forfold tenor) notes in 1742, the 1737 issues became known as Middle Tenor and the Second New Tenor notes were simply called New Tenor. This was the second Massachusetts emission of small change notes, the first having been issued in June of 1722 (of parchment 1d, 2d and 3d notes) to prevent the acceptance of William Wood's base metal Rosa Americana coinage.

    John Bushnell cut the wood blocks for the ornamental borders (signing the 4d variety JOHN BUSHELL SCULP) while John Draper cut the copper plates to print the fronts and also typeset the backs. Newman states this issue was signed by William Dudley, John Jeffries and J. Willard although the example he shows lacks signatures and has no serial number. On each denomination the woodcut design differs, issues were: 1d, 2d, 3d, 4d, 5d, and 6d.


    2d               Serial Number: none                        MA 1737 - Middle tenor

    Signers: unsigned.

    Size: 59x65mm (front border design 55x60mm).

    Comments: The note is torn in several places and is completely backed with conservation paper. The front top border shows two winged putti holding a fruit basket. The upper corners display 2d in black ink while the lower corners have 2d in white on a black checked background. On the outside of the left border near the base of the vinestem is a letter that appears to be an f or an s. The typeset text on the reverse is not visible through the thick paper backing, based on the text found in the 5d example found in Newman, the 2d text would be: This bill of Two Pence equal to six pence of the Old Tenor.

    Provenance: Purchased through the Robert H. Gore, Jr. Numismatic Endowment from the R. M. Smythe and Co. Sixth Annual Chicago Paper Money Exposition Public and Mail Bid Auction, no. 196, February 17-18th, 2000, lot 1012, where it was stated the authenticity of the note has been questioned (without quoting a source); the Smythe firm then listed the reasons they felt the note is original.