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    Rare and Distinctive 1734 Portsmouth Merchants' Note

    Province of New Hampshire December 25, 1734 Portsmouth Merchants' Note 7 Shillings Fr. NH-38.4 PMG Extremely Fine 40.
    This is a uniquely styled Colonial "Tall Bill," and an intriguing issue, not unlike the 1740 banking "schemes" notes from Massachusetts. These notes were issued by the group of merchants led by Hunking Wentworth, in Portsmouth, during the period the Crown prohibited the Colony from emitting further bills of credit. Due to the scarcity of other bills of credit and specie in circulation, the association issued these notes to facilitate commerce (hence the motto BENEFICIO COMMERCI on the face). However, early in 1735 a large group of Boston merchants agreed not to redeem such notes. These bills were 1% interest bearing, payable in 1746. They were printed on two sides on laid paper from well-engraved copper plates. In the center are the detailed obligations. Scrollwork and sculptural corners are at the top. At lower left is the Pine Tree emblem with the motto BENEFICIO COMMERCI. The back has a distinctively designed ship sailing westward, with ornate foliate scrollwork above.

    The face has three sharply penned signatures; on the back below the ship vignette it is countersigned by Hunking Wentworth. Boldly printed from a deeply inked plate and exceptionally well detailed. PMG notes this as "Stained," and that discoloration is confined to the unprinted lower right portion and impinging upon the Rindge signature. We sold the Newman Collection note (PCGS About New 53) for $21,600 in our November 1, 2017, sale. This is one of the few pre-1750 notes available to collectors with any regularity. It combines its interesting issuance history with a superbly crafted plate design.
    From the Hunter Collection.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2021
    11th Thursday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 20
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 312

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