Paper Money

Virginia notes featured in Early American History sale

A uniface F-VA-7, 2-shilling/6-pence, Act of June 8, 1757, note signed by John Randolph and graded Very Good-10 by PCGS with restoration work and the upper right corner missing is the earliest date in the March 30 sale.

Images courtesy of Early American History Auctions.

After 40 years in the San Diego area, Early American History Auctions Inc. is now relocated and open for business in Winchester, Virginia.

When asked “why Virginia?” Dana Linett, president of the firm, said “As a historian, I personally feel more ‘at home’ here. My personal desire was to get back east and be situated where the history I catalog occurred. For instance, George Washington holds significant connections to Winchester. He was a surveyor in the area, was a young officer in the Virginia militia there, and in 1756, Washington oversaw the construction of Fort Loudoun in Winchester, the largest fort on the frontier, which Washington often used it as his headquarters.”

It is not a coincidence that Early American’s first auction at its new location on March 30 will feature, among its 239 lots, Colonial paper money from Virginia.

One such piece, the earliest Virginia note in the sale and estimated in the $3,000 range, is a uniface Friedberg VA-7, 2-shilling/6-pence note, produced under the Act of June 8, 1757, and signed by John Randolph. Graded Very Good-10 by Professional Coin Grading Service, it has restoration work, and the upper right corner is missing. One factor explaining the rarity of this note is that barter, especially in tobacco, ran much of the commerce of Virginia, and the concept of paper money took longer to catch on.

A $300 or £90 note, one of six denominations in the Oct. 16, 1780 “Act for the more effectual and speedy clothing the Army” (F-VA-199), is estimated at $2,500 to $3,500 and graded PCGS Very Fine 25. Newman’s Early Paper Money of America explains that the purpose of this issue was to buy 1,500 hogsheads of tobacco to create a fund for the act’s purpose.

One of the most attractive notes offered is a Virginia, May 1, 1780, 3 Spanish milled dollars note (F-VA-173), graded Choice Uncirculated 63 by PCGS. Its special paper is watermarked “CONFEDERATION,” and is printed in black on the obverse and red and black on the reverse.

All eight Virgina notes offered in the sale are pedigreed to the John J. Ford collection.

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