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Early Paper Money of America / New Jersey / 1776 March 25

On May 10, 1768 £100,000 in legal tender Bills of Credit in Proclamation Money were authorized subject to the Crown's consent. The Act was rejected by the Crown for legal tender reasons on Mar. 26, 1769. A renewed authorization on Dec. 6, 1769 provided for £100,000 in Loan Office bills of credit and £25,000 to replace worn bills, but was again rejected by the Crown allegedly because the issue lacked legal tender provisions. On Mar. 11, 1774 the 1769 legislation was reenacted and after extensive delays was approved by the Crown on Feb. 20, 1775 with conditions. When the American Revolution began the conditions were deemed void and the bills were issued. The portion for replacement of worn bills was suspended pursuant to an Act passed Dec. 11, 1777 and bills arising from Loan Office earnings were made available for legislative appropriations by the Act of April 17, 1778. The notes were made legal tender by Act of Sept. 20, 1776 and called in by Jan. 1, 1780 pursuant to the Act of June 8, 1779.

David Rittenhouse who in 1792 became the first Director of the United States Mint engraved at least the decorative border for the £6 on which he cut his name in tiny letters. See July 2, 1746 issue for denominational symbols. The faces of the £3 and £6 are in red and blue. The faces of the other denominations are in red and black. Nature printed backs printed in black by Isaac Collins on mica flaked paper watermarked NEW JERSEY. Signers were Jonathan Deare, John Hart*, Jonathan Johnston, Joseph Smith, Robert Smith, John Smyth, and John Stevens, Jr.

To minimize labor and material to print the £3 bills (£6,250 required) and the £6 bills (3,125 required) using red and blue ink on the face, and black on the back it was determined to use only one printing form for each denomination, for each color, a total of 6 forms. The sheets of paper selected had space for four bills, two on each side. Printing the red and black simultaneously in separate areas was feasible. The first printing make-up had the bottom border of the £3 face abutting the top border of the £6 face with little space in between. This would leave almost no clear margin on those border edges.

The forms for the backs were placed to the sides of the face forms to obtain proper registry for the completed bills. The backs had no borders close to the eventual finished edges and thus would have adequate clear margins on all four sides. The printing of 3,125 £3 and 3,125 £6 bills was accomplished with four impressions for each four bills. Then the forms for the £6 printing were removed from the chase to print the balance of the £3 bills, but the £3 forms for the face and the form for the £3 back were adjusted to create a greater space between them, to allow clear face margins. The only known full sheet of £3 bills has four £3 bills with large margins on face and back with spindle holes on the long axis so registry would result when the sheet was rotated in printing. Eight impressions were needed to produce 4 £3 bills on each sheet. The result of this second printing was clear margins. The accompanying images illustrate the results of this process.

1s Plate letters A, B & C [81,250]
18d Plate letters A, B & C [62,500]
3s Plate letters A & B [50,000]
6s Plate A. Small coat of arms [18,750]
6s Plate B. Large coat of arms. Defective nature print [18,750]
12s Plate letters A & B [37,500]
15s [25,000]
30s [12,500]
£3 Bees on back. Umlaut instead of dot over i in Reign (possibly a secret mark) [6,250]
£6 RITTENHOUSE in tiny letters in the center ornament of left border of face [3,125]

See also: Ray Williams, "The Signers of the 1776 New Jersey Bills," The C4 Newsletter, Vol. 23, No. 3, Fall 2015, pp. 34-38.

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