CHOICE FRANCIS HOPKINSON-SIGNED CONNECTICUT LIVRES TOURNOIS CERTIFICATE
United States of America - Continental Loan Office in the State
of "Connecticut" Exchange for $30/150 Livres Tournois Third Bill,
Payable at Paris March 10, 1779 Anderson-Smythe US-97-1A. PCGS Very
The Continental Loan Office certificates comprise a series of United States obligations collected with Colonial American currency and United States Federal Loans. These Bill of Exchange certificates were denominated in dollars and European equivalents depending on whether they were ultimately payable abroad or domestically at an authorized location. They represented the interest payments due for "Money borrowed by the United States" from the federal loan sales made at individual state loan offices as noted at the lower left of the obligations. They were printed in sheets of four "Bills," from a "First" at the top to a "Fourth" at the bottom. One or more could be sent simultaneously as necessary for payment abroad. Upon redemption of a First Bill, the other three would be void. According to William G. Anderson in The Price of Liberty, "If the first bill was lost or captured at sea ... the holder would then send the second bill; if it too was lost, he would send the third, and so on. In several instances Congress authorized duplicate sets issued when all four had been lost at sea ..." Only two "First Bills," both sold by us, have been confirmed extant as almost all were redeemed or destroyed. The majority known are Fourth Bills.
This Connecticut certificate is representative of the most commonly encountered "at Paris" series. Printed on laid paper, watermarked "United States 3." The exchange bill numeral is incorporated into the watermark for counterfeit deterrence. (According to author and collector Ned W. Downing, the molds for the watermarked laid paper were fashioned by Nathan Sellers, who was released from military service for this purpose. See "Transatlantic Paper and the Emergence of the American Capital Market" in The Origins of Value, 2003.) 21.0 cm by 9.5 cm. The common layout has black typeset titles, obligations, denominations, and blanks for issuance across. Ornamental bordering is at right. Left and top are printed in aqua. The indenting design is at left, and the denomination at top left with the serial block in the upper right corner. No. 546. Issued to Odiah Loomis, countersigned by John Lawrence for Connecticut. Signed by Declaration of Independence signer Francis Hopkinson (of Pennsylvania) as the "Treas'r of Loans," engraved and printed in aqua. The back has a curious endorsement to a third party. A bold example, very full and broad sized. With sharp color and minus the ink erosion often encountered on this series and type of laid paper. The Hopkinson signature is superb. Though Connecticut Livres Tournois certificates are available, the condition of this example makes it an ideal type piece from this interesting chapter in the early debt financing of the United States. Underrated in this high quality.
Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.
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