Auction of Revolutionary War Era-1780 Rhode Island Currency Today
An uncut single sheet, also called a “half sheet,” of American Revolutionary War-era Rhode Island currency dated 1780, and a Frank Lloyd Wright leaded glass window are among items that will be auctioned on Tuesday, May 21 from 3-11pm by Direct Auction Galleries at 7232 N. Western Ave. in Chicago, Illinois. Absentee bids are also accepted. Inspection is the day prior from 3:30-7:30pm and one hour before auction time. For a complete listing, photos, and other details visit www.directauction.com, or call 773-465-3300.
Both the Continental Congress and the states issued currency during the Revolutionary War period. This Rhode Island currency like other state currencies was essentially legal tender bills of credit, payable with interest in Spanish milled dollars, a prevalent coinage throughout the colonies.
The bills are identified as issued July 2, 1780 by “The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations” in a single uncut sheet in $1, $2, $3, $4, $5, $7, $8 and $20 denominations. They are hand-signed by “A. [Adam] Comstock” in black ink and C. [Caleb] Harris in red ink, all with the same #1422 serial number on the front. On the reverse, printed are “The United States,” symbols, “Printed by Hall and Sellers” and a guarantee of payment “according to a resolution of Congress of the 18th of March, 1780.” The sheet is in a frame measuring 17″x13″. The sheet itself has a matte over it, with a viewable area of 11″x7⅛”.
The Frank Lloyd Wright leaded glass window is according to the consignor from a home designed by the architect and measures approximately 3′x1½’. Furniture; gold and diamond jewelry; 1880s tobacco and other baseball cards; large bronzes; glass; Tiffany items; Victorian, Pittsburgh, and other lamps; many beautiful paintings, many by listed artists; and a 14K vintage Bucherer men’s watch and other watches are among the other 700 plus lots at this May 21 Direct Auction Galleries auction.
“There are many, many fine items in this auction,” says John R. Modica, son of the auction house’s founders who operates this family business with his cousin John S. Modica. “But to see the Rhode Island currency and to think this was something from the time of the beginning of our country, it gives you a sense of awe.”
Direct Auction Galleries is a Chicago auction house founded in 1962 that specializes in estate liquidations and consignments of fine antiques, jewelry, coins, and collectibles.