Pilgrim vignettes topic of SPMC journal author

Note designs capture variations on historical scenes
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Published : 12/30/11
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Vignettes on obsolete notes depicting the English Pilgrims are the focus of an article in the November-December issue of Paper Money, the journal published by the Society of Paper Money Collectors.

C. John Ferreri writes about the vignettes depicting not only the landing of the pilgrims in what would become Plymouth, Mass., but also the Mayflower, the ship that brought them to the New World, and Plymouth Rock, which also appears in vignettes on obsolete notes.

A vignette known as Signing The First Constitution on Board the Mayflower, 1620, was used as the central vignette on $5 obsolete notes for the Bank of Cape Cod (Harwich, Mass.). The vignette depicts John Carver, governor of the Plymouth Colony, signing the Mayflower Compact, as the “first constitution” mentioned in the vignette’s title is called.

The Old Colony Bank (Plymouth, Mass.) issued $2 notes featuring a vignette depicting Plymouth Rock with a shelter and some men cooking and others collecting furnishings from a small boat, with the Mayflower in the distance.

In addition to that scene is a depiction of “Samoset, a Pemaquid Indian chief from coastal Maine just walking into their midst and about to surprise the Pilgrims with his command of the English language learned from fishermen who occasioned this coast,” Ferreri writes. “As he approaches the unsuspecting settlers, above him in a pine tree, an osprey or eagle, probably attracted by the cooking food, watches patiently.”

According to Ferreri, the $1 obsolete note issued by the Exchange Bank (Boston) has “the smallest vignette on an obsolete banknote of the ‘Landing’ noted to date.”

The vignette is in the “upper left hand corner of the note” and “plainly shows the Pilgrims in their special hats stepping from their shallop [small boat] to the ‘rock’ and then to the shore, unloading their provisions,” Ferreri writes.

“Obtaining an obsolete banknote with special historical significance was always rewarding to me,” Ferreri writes. “This topic is one of the most interesting I have come across.”

In other articles, Peter Huntoon writes about large-size Federal Reserve Bank notes, Bill Gunther contributes a story about the names on Alabama notes, Jamie Yakes writes about the “never existing” Series 1928 gold certificates and Steve Feller writes about his ongoing survey of Type 64 Confederate States of America $500 notes.

For more information about the society, contact the Society of Paper Money Collectors, c/o Frank Clark, Box 117060, Carrollton, TX 75011-7060, or visit the society’s website at www.spmc.org. ■

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