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Image Information

Type Currency
Title 20s
Date August 10, 1739
Country United States
Grade Fine 12
Service PCGS
Denomination 20s

Pennsylvania August 10, 1739 20 Shillings Fr. PA-45. PCGS Fine 12 Apparent. This distinctive note has the early "Printed by B. Franklin" imprint and displays Franklin-created anti-counterfeiting features used for the next few decades. Because earlier series were plagued with fakes, the two-sided higher denominations featured spelling and font variations in the text, crown counters (1 crown=5 shillings), and the introduction of Franklin's nature prints on the backs. Although the first Franklin nature prints appeared on March 25, 1737, New Jersey notes, none are known. Therefore, notes from this Pennsylvania issue are the earliest known examples of Franklin's ingenious nature prints and are noteworthy as such. They circulated heavily and most were redeemed for later notes. Thomas Leech (a note signer) engraved the face border cuts and the Penn coat of arms at the left beneath the four crowns signifying the denomination. Signed by Smith, Thomas Leech, Wm. Monington, and Joseph Harvey (perpendicular). On the back, type ornaments are around the perimeter, and the imprint is seen in exergue. The nature print (that varied position depending on the denomination) is particularly bold and very well detailed. Plate A. Noted with "Splits, Tears, and Repairs." Amazingly, the Newman Collection possessed two treasured 1739 twenty shillings notes, one of each plate letter. This example is superior in eye appeal to the Fine 15 Apparent plate B note that realized $3,055 in Newman Part VI in April 2015. A very attractive example with strong details and bold imprint. There are very few notes known from the historically significant first nature print series, and this is one of the better grade examples extant. Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society

From Newman VIII (Heritage Auctions, 11/2017), lot 28110, realized $12000. Image and description courtesy of Heritage Auctions,

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