To Loammi Baldwin's Letter on the March towards Trenton

Loammi Baldwin as a Signer of Massachusetts Paper Money

By 1780 the Continental Currency had hyperinflated to the point where the phrase "Not worth a Continental" struck home.

In an attempt to salvage the currency, the Congress in 1780 stopped authorizing the printing of paper money in its own name - but encouraged the states to issue new currency, as they had in the past. To do so they created a resolution Mar. 18, 1780 to this effect. Subsequent resolutions that year approved Massachusetts printing £394,000 of the paper currency. For each of the denominations of $1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 20 it meant 26, 267 were printed.

The face was printed in black and the reverse in black and red.

To help reduce counterfeiting, these were printed on EDEN MILLS paper, produced in Pennsylvania. Following on inventions of Benjamin Franklin earlier in the century, the paper contained flakes of mica and threads of blue silk. Border cuts and emblem cuts on back were created by Henry Dawkins, who had spent two years in prison for forgery.

The paper money was signed normally by three individuals. Two were to be well recognized upstanding citizens, and the third signed as a guarantor. Those signing the currency were paid a very small amount for their signatures.

Signers were Loammi Baldwin, Richard Cranch, Thomas Dawes, Samuel Henshaw, Samuel Osgood and Ebenezer Wales. The guarantors included Nathaniel Appleton, Peter Boyer, Joseph Henderson and Thomas Walley.

Loammi Baldwin signed many thousands of these with ink that sometimes is as strong today as when he signed - and sometimes is quite faded.

The notes were not long in circulation, given the continued hyperinflation, and thus many are in very good condition.