A Student of History

January 25, 2008

Rare NC Currency

Filed under: Early America,NC History — John Maass @ 12:40 pm

This note is printed on fine quality period white laid paper, and was recently offered for sale at auction.  N.C. currency from the Revolution or colonial era is very rare, primarily because so much of it was printed on poor quality paper, or was burned upon redemption through taxation.  This note is very nice….

By the way, James Davis was N.C.’s first state printer.  According to an article on-line, In August 1751, Davis published the first North Carolina newspaper, The North Carolina Gazette. The weekly was published until 1761. Several years later, Davis began a second newspaper, The North Carolina Magazine: or Universal Intelligencer. Foreign news dominated the paper. Ads were mostly merchants’ lists of goods, legal notices and notices seeking runaway slaves.

The publication title returned to The North Carolina Gazette in 1768 and finally ceased publication in 1778, when his son, Thomas, his primary helper, went to fight in the Revolutionary War. The newspaper lasted longer than any other early paper – 10 years.

Davis, born Oct. 21, 1721, also printed currency, legislative journals and session laws. He printed at least 100 titles during the 33 years he served as public printer. Although most of the titles were official government books, he published the first nonlegal book written by a North Carolinian and published in the state, Clement Hall’s “A Collection of Many Christian Experiences.”

He served in the General Assembly as a representative and was elected to the Council of State. Before he died in 1785, Davis also served as county sheriff, justice of the peace and commissioner of the Port of New Bern. Davis also was selected to open the state’s first post office in 1755.

Davis’ son, Thomas, became state printer in 1782. He also started his own newspaper in 1785 in Hillsborough, The North Carolina Gazette.

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