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NNP Blog

Oct 27 2022

Skull & Crossbones Small Change Note

A Halloween-themed 1-penny small change note originates from Elizabeth, New Jersey, where it was printed by “S. KOLLOCK” in 1790. Wikipedia identifies the printer (“S. KOLLOCK”) as most likely Shephard Kollock, Jr. (1750-1839). Kollock published the New Jersey Journal during the Revolutionary War and later published proceedings of the New Jersey State legislature. Kollock also produced the 3, 4, and 6-penny notes of this date, although these do not depict the skull on the reverse. These notes served as “paper coins,” and were suitably thick to allow for some degree of circulation. The use of a skull on paper money is uncommon, and perhaps acted as reminder of the fleeting nature of life (and money too, in this context).

Link to Early Paper Money of America (Newman Portal online edition): https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/imagecollection/513468

Link to March 25, 1790 Borough of Elizabeth issue: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/imagecollection/513983

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