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Obsolete currency note linked to Scotland

By Neil Shafer

It appears that an obsolete currency note from Massachusetts turns out to be an important piece for more than one reason.

Its relevance to Scottish notes is seen in its back design. Apparently Sir William Congreve, who fashioned complex revenue stamp designs used for the backs of Scottish and other notes in the earlier 19th century, must have done some work on back designs of several (?) obsolete notes.


The image here is an example of his work. Words around center: PATENT CONGREVE / CHECK PLATE.

I have no knowledge of any other U.S. currency issue from anywhere with a Congreve back. Perhaps someone more acquainted with Congreve’s American connection can elucidate.

To collectors and researchers, this illustration is quite possibly the first time any issue from the Ipswich Bank has been shown in any numismatic publication. According to Volume 4 of Bowers’ Whitman Encyclopedia of Obsolete Paper Money, no example of any denomination of note from this bank is known to exist, although the bank operated from 1833 to 1841.

While there is no imprint on the note, its style is certainly that of the New England Bank Note Co. There is a handwritten date of Nov. 18, 1833. Black; standing Athena leaning on numeral 1 at left, farm woman with plow at upper center, eagle at right. Back colors: light red and brown.

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