July 26, 1775 “Allegorical / Gunpowder” Revolutionary War Propaganda Woodblock Print Note Extremely Rare
Provincial Convention of Maryland. July 26, 1775. One Dollar and Two Thirds of a Dollar. “Allegorical - Gunpowder” vignette. Propaganda and Political Revolutionary War Issue. Choice About Extremely Fine.
This historic American political “propaganda” engraved woodblock design is on the first design Revolutionary War period Maryland note issue. Its wonderful quality appears comparable to the Newman plate note for this issue as shown illustrated on page 174 of the 5th edition of THE EARLY PAPER MONEY OF AMERICA by Eric Newman. This note certainly ranks with the finest examples on this rare issue and one of the best in quality that we have ever offered. Both its face and reverse sides are very well printed. All designs, including most of the left border are on the paper. This note is clean in appearance, well signed in brown ink by John Brice at lower left. It is very boldly printed in black on Handmade period cotton fiber laid period paper having a Jumbo size margin top and right outer borders. There is some expert conservation to deftly seal some scattered centerfold and small edge splits. The historic upper half shows a vignette that is printed from a Hand-engraved woodblock printers plate which has a “Folk Art” style of appearance. A similar “museum” quality $4 denomination example sold in May of 2004 for over $16,000 in the Stack’s, John J. Ford Jr. Auction, Part III.
Overall, this note is superior in appearance. It is a very rare, highly desirable, and historically important, being with the best early American Revolutionary War political, and American propaganda patriotic currency issues. Eric Newman states in his reference, “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 an American 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 shown 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 design cuts carry the text, “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). One of the most significant and major highlights of this sale.
A truly extraordinary and historic note, the quality of which appears comparable to the Newman plate note for this issue, it is just that nice. In fact, we believe that this is the single finest quality example of this extremely rare issue that we have ever had the pleasure to offer. As typical for the issue, bold and richly printed on the face, somewhat less so on the reverse (exactly as shown in the plate note for THE EARLY PAPER MONEY OF AMERICA). This is the single sharpest example we have offered, even the “LIB” text in the flag in the upper right being clear and distinct. Quite clean in appearance, with very mild overall circulation, and quite defect fee, only a hint of some trivial expert repair about the centerfold. Signed in brown ink by James Brice. Being a hand-cut woodblock print the design has a very definite “Folk Art” look and appears somewhat mussy in places, as made. Ex: EAHA Auction, December 8, 2001, Lot number 703.