1690 Massachusetts Colonial Note

PTBarnumPTBarnum Posts: 16 ✭✭
edited October 19, 2018 1:19PM in U.S. & World Currency Forum

It has been a while since I posted on this forum and thought I would share this little cutie pie!

The First Paper Money (or "Public Bills of Credit") To Be Issued By Any Government of the Western World – including all of Europe and America! This is one of the most compelling and momentous pieces of currency in the history of human kind. Faced with a pressing need to pay for the costs associated with King William’s war against Canada, on December 10, 1690 the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony passed legislation authorizing the issuance of paper money for general circulation. Previously, all forms of currency had an intrinsic value of gold, silver, or copper. This note, on the other hand represents the first form of money with no intrinsic value whatsoever. Instead, the value of the note was backed by the Massachusetts Bay Colony who guaranteed it and authorized its acceptance as an alternate to hard currency. The legislation also stated that these notes can be redeemed with the Treasury for the equivalent in hard currency “IF” available. A novel idea to help support the war effort, today as it stands there are only 7 examples known with 3 permanently impounded in museums. With only 3 other examples available to own, this is a rare and incredible opportunity to own a SIGNIFICANT PIECE OF WORLD HISTORY. Listed in Q. David Bower’s book as the 3rd note in the “100 Greatest American Currency Notes,” securing this note will elevate any numismatic collection to "WORLD CLASS" level.

Meredith Hilton

Kagin's, Inc.

[email protected]



  • bkzoopapabkzoopapa Posts: 156 ✭✭✭

    Sorry not the earliest. During the siege of Leyden (Dutch) prayer book pages were pressed together using a coin die to make emergency “paper” money, the first. Sweden also started to issue paper money in 1661 with the earliest surviving example dated 1666.

  • Timbuk3Timbuk3 Posts: 10,443 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Interesting historical information, thank you for sharing !!! :)

  • element159element159 Posts: 331 ✭✭✭

    Cool! One of the earliest notes, and already it is fraudulently raised :)

  • StaircoinsStaircoins Posts: 2,506 ✭✭✭

    Not bad, not bad at all!


  • Wow! This one’s a beauty... If this really is the First Paper Money by Any Government of the Western World, then you are truly lucky!

  • johnny9434johnny9434 Posts: 19,289 ✭✭✭✭✭


  • sellitstoresellitstore Posts: 1,122 ✭✭✭✭

    I think that Mr. Hilton is claiming that this is the first paper money with only a promise backing it rather than an actual commodity like gold or silver. He is not claiming that it's the first paper money in the Western world.

    The 1666 Swedish notes represented and were exchangeable for silver or copper. Also, the first paper money, the Chinese Mulberry Bark notes issued from the late 1300s-1600s represented strings of copper "Cash" coins, so the 1690 Massachusetts issue might very well be the first paper money based solely on the faith of the government issuing it.

    Collector and dealer in obsolete currency. Always buying all obsolete bank notes and scrip. Ebay listings
  • SaorAlbaSaorAlba Posts: 6,028 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 22, 2018 6:58AM

    @sellitstore said:

    , so the 1690 Massachusetts issue might very well be the first paper money based solely on the faith of the government issuing it.

    Curiously though it is not largely discussed now, but the issue of paper money by the colonies was a contributing factor in the run up to what would become the American Revolution. The British crown never sanctioned the colonies issuing paper money. Occasionally the crown issued edicts prohibiting further issues, but the colonial authorities were of another mindset - actually were from the Massachusetts-Bay coinage issues from 1652-1682 on up to independence.

    That said, the note is amazing, a note I would dream of owning. My daughter owns a note far older, one of the Ming Dynasty notes from the 14th century.

    Edited to add:


    Well there goes the house, the kids college education etc but damn I'd love to own that one.

    In memory of my kitty Seryozha 14.2.1996 ~ 13.9.2016
  • logger7logger7 Posts: 4,300 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Interesting promissory note. Most paper money was to finance war, right?

  • garrynotgarrynot Posts: 1,875 ✭✭✭

    It’s in great condition. Truly amazing.

  • AlexinPAAlexinPA Posts: 688 ✭✭✭✭

    1690, wow! Amazing.

  • logger7logger7 Posts: 4,300 ✭✭✭✭✭

    About the time of the witch trials and Judge Hathorne. A lot of history is tied up in that note.

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