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Early Federal

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North Carolina Paper Money 1830s-1860

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The American Revolution [1775-1781]

The collection has an interesting cross sampling of currencies authorized by North Carolina officials between the eve of the Revolution and 1780, when James Davis printed the state's last wartime issues. There are currently fifty North Carolina bills from this period, eight of which are pieces produced in 1779 by Hugh Walker, a little-known printer in Wilmington, N.C. That year the mysterious Mr. Walker printed the state's authorization, because a smallpox epidemic in New Bern prevented James Davis from doing so. To learn more about the production of North Carolina's "smallpox currency" of 1779 and about printing in eighteenth-century North Carolina, click here to read an article published in American Numismatic Society's December 2005 issue of The Colonial Newsletter.

It should be noted that although the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, political actions and military confrontations in Britain’s colonies the year before, such as at Lexington and Concord and Bunker Hill, effectively date the outbreak of the American Revolution to 1775. North Carolina’s own 1775 issue of currency was authorized by the provincial congress after civil unrest forced Royal Governor Josiah Martin to flee the colony in July 1775.

North Carolina 1779 issues Two examples of North Carolina's 1779 issue.

Two examples of North Carolina's 1779 issue. Hugh Walker, who printed this currency, used subtle or "secret" marks on the money to help distinguish genuine bills from counterfeit ones. An example of those marks can be seen on the bill in the foreground. Note the two dots or umlaut over the "e" in "Silver."

See all the images from The American Revolution Era.