The Virginia Gazette

Today in the 1770s: April 12

WILLIAMSBURG, April 12, 1774.
Within these few days I have discovered that an attempt has been made to counterfeit the TWENTY SHILLING BILLS of 1769, a forged bill of the sort, I am persuaded very innocently, to be exchanged at this office. Though the forgery is basely executed, I think it prudent to caution the public against impositions. The print, the coat of arms, the signing of Mr. Blair's christian name, the different devices, and especially the badness of the figures of the dates, will point out the forgery to every one tolerably acquainted with the good bills. The water lines differ very materially from those of the genuine paper. Instead of the water letters K.E.R. appearing under the signers names, as they ought to do, there is to be seen something like an obscure W. and the letter A. very plainly; the letters K.E.R. are thrust forward under the coat of arms. Till this bill made its appearance, I never had the slightest reason to suspect that any other than the 5l. Bills had been counterfeited, and thrown into circulation. If any gentleman should upon good grounds entertain doubts of any of the rest of the paper money, I beg it, as a singular favour, that he would be pleased immediately to transmit every suspected bill to me by express, of which I will gladly pay the expence. RO. C. NICHOLAS, Treasurer.

Virginia Gazette (Rind) April 14, 1774

Language notes:

Water lines or letters are watermarks, the signature or trademark of a papermaker added by means of a thin wire to the paper mold before processing individual sheets of paper. Counterfeiters would have found it almost impossible to duplicate an authentic watermark.

Sources: Gravell

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