Early Federal Period [1782-1820s]
The collection has examples of the last currencies authorized and circulated by the State of North Carolina during the eighteenth century. James Davis’s son Thomas produced North Carolina’s 1783 and 1785 in his print shop in Hillsborough. Also preserved in the collection are two very rare uncut sheets of North Carolina scrip or “due bills” that date from the 1790s. In addition, there is an equally rare collection of treasury notes and proof sheets associated with the “illegal” paper money that North Carolina’s state government issued between 1815 and 1824. The University Library purchased these notes and sheets in 2001 from R.M. Smythe and Company in New York. Several of the specimens in that acquisition are the same pieces that are illustrated in the 1992 edition of Confederate and Southern States Currency by Grover C. Criswell, Jr.
The issuer of this scrip was likely a prosperous merchant in one of the principal towns in either the state's coastal region or piedmont. For years after the Revolution, due to severe, widespread devaluation of state and "Continental" dollars, many Americans distrusted any paper money that utilized the decimal system of dollars and cents. Public officials and private businesses, as is exemplified in this scrip, often preferred to revert to the British duodecimal system of pence, shillings, and pounds.
See all the images from The
Early Federal Period.