Paper Money

Kagin's offers colonial notes from Ford Collection

Featured lots from the Kagin’s auction of Colonial notes from the John J. Ford Collection include a Vermont February 1781 40-shilling note in PCGS VF-35 from the F.C.C. Boyd Estate.

Original image courtesy of Kagin’s Auctions.

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, in two online-only auctions, all from the John J. Ford Collection.

The first sale will close on May 20 and the second on Sept. 23. Each auction will contain dozens of Newman plate notes and rarities, a significant number of which are the finest known examples of their type or variety.

“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 from May 2004 through March 2007.

Notes from all 13 original colonies along with a few private scrip notes are represented in the auctions. Featured lots include a Vermont VT-7 February 1781 40-shilling note in PCGS Banknote Very Fine 35 from the F.C.C. Boyd estate; contemporary counterfeits of Massachusetts MA-34 20-shilling and MA-44 50-shilling notes dated May 31, 1710 (both Newman plate notes); an exceedingly rare and possibly unique Rhode Island RI-1 2-shilling note of Aug. 16, 1720; and a Rhode Island RI-46 2-shilling 6-penny note of Feb. 2, 1741.

The sales will also offer four of the popular Paul Revere-printed Nov. 17, 1776, Sword in Hand notes including the MA-248 16-shilling note in PCGS Banknote About Uncirculated 55 Details, another Newman plate note.

Many of the Ford notes, especially the very rare pre-1760 notes, were photographed in 1967 for Newman’s book.

From October 2003 through October 2007, Stack’s auctioned the massive Ford Collection of coins and currency in 21 different sales. Five of those sales featured Ford’s Colonial Currency — the most comprehensive collection in history. An additional three sales conducted in 2013 by 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.

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