Lot 132: Colonial Currency, Maryland July 26, 1775 Allegorical - Gunpowder Political Note
Historic Autographs, Civil War Encased Postage Stamps, Colonial, Revolutionary War, Federal Era, Coins, Currency, Medals
December 10, 2016
Rancho Santa Fe, CA, USALive Auction
1775 "Allegorical / Gunpowder" Political Propaganda Issue Political Woodblock Vignette Note By Thomas Sparrow
Provincial Convention of Maryland. July 26, 1775. Two Dollars and Two Thirds of a Dollar. Thomas Sparrow Engraved "Allegorical / Gunpowder" Woodcut vignettes, Propaganda and Political Revolutionary War Issue. Conservation. Very Fine.
Fr. MD-75. This a truly important 1775 Revolutionary War Maryland paper money rarity. It is a historic classic, Colonial American Patriotic Propaganda note engraved by Thomas Sparrow. This uniquely styled type is shown illustrated on page 174 of the current edition of THE EARLY PAPER MONEY OF AMERICA" reference by Eric Newman. The overall quality of this note makes it very collectible. The face side is particularly clean and well printed with its designs nicely centered on the Handmade cotton fiber laid period paper. There is overall light conservation to restore the upper left corner and seal some trivial splits. The note is evenly circulated with two old mounting stain traces removed within the face upper vignette allowing for a more pleasing, even appearance. It is signed in brown ink by Robert Lloyd Nicols at bottom right. The reverse side appears just a bit nicer, well above average for this issue with most all of its details and designs upon the paper. Overall, this classic note appears pleasing for display.
The Allegorical vignettes displayed on both front and back are totally unique in their designs as compared to any other Colonial era currency. The vignette at the upper half on its face side displays a Hand-engraved woodblock printed vignette which has a "Folk Art" appearance. At right, a female figure holding a Liberty Cap on a pole, representing AMERICA, is shown trampling on a scroll marked "SLAVERY" having a column of American troops marching behind her. That vignette also shows King George III of Britain setting fire to an American city with a torch, while also symbolically trampling upon the Magna Charta. The right side border cut design includes the text: "An appeal to HEAVEN." The left side border text reads: "Pro Aris et Focis" which translated from Latin reads: "for altars and the hearth." The reverse side is entirely given over to a vignette signifying Peace and Liberty.
Previously, a choice Four Dollar denomination of this rare Maryland currency issue sold in May of 2004 for over $16,000 in the John J. Ford Jr. Collection Auction, Part III. The current Newman reference lists it at an overly aggressive value of $25,000 in Very Fine. It is only the first example of the Two Dollars and Two Thirds denomination we have had the pleasure to offer in the past four decades. This July 26, 1775 Maryland "Allegorical-Gunpowder" issue note is considered to be one of the most prized, historically important and desirable of all Colonial and Revolutionary War notes.
Eric Newman states in his reference titled "The Early Paper Money of America," that this specific issue was brought about pursuant to a resolve of the Maryland Convention to promote the manufacture of gunpowder.
The face displays a propaganda-filled woodcut, engraved by Thomas Sparrow, which depicts Britannia receiving a petition of the Continental Congress, "CONG PETI" from a female figure representing America.
America is trampling on a scroll marked SLAVERY and is holding a Liberty Cap in front of American troops carrying the flag of Liberty, LIB; and on the left, George III is trampling on the M(agna) CHARTA and applying a fire brand to an American city which is under attack by a British fleet.
The side border cuts carry AN APPEAL TO HEAVEN and PRO ARIS ET FOCIS (For altar and hearth). On the back side, the figures of America and Britannia are shown achieving peace, PAX TRIUMPHIS POTIOR (Peace is preferable to victory), LIBERTY, T. SPARROW and FG (Frederick Green, the printer).