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Jacob Giles Morris Collection of Colonial Paper Money

Mid-19th century
Origin: America, Mid-Atlantic
14" x 12" x 2 1/2"
Paper, ink, pasteboard & leather.
Gift of Beatrix T. Rumford
Acc. No. 2004-68,1
Album of 340 1740s through 1780s Colonial and Continental Currency notes assembled by Jacob Giles Morris (d.1854) during the mid-19th century (see object file for itemized list). Especially heavy in notes from the Mid-Atlantic colonies like Pennsylvania, Delaware & New Jersey.
Label:Born into a wealthy and established Philadelphia family in 1800, Jacob Giles Morris was a philanthropist and collector. He drowned when the S.S. Arctic sank in 1854, leaving his collection to his sister, whose descendants sold his rare coins long ago.

His currency collection has fared better. Still in his original album, Morris' colonial era paper money remained with his family until 2004 when it was given to Colonial Williamsburg. Today, the Jacob Giles Morris collection has the distinction of being the oldest surviving intact collection of American paper money.

Morris's leather-bound book contains 340 notes, dating from 1746 to 1786, and it includes an almost-complete date and denomination set of Continental Currency. While notes from all thirteen original colonies are present, most are from those colonies nearest to Philadelphia. The lack of specimens available to Morris from far-flung colonies speaks to the difficulty of collecting during the early-to-mid 1800s.
Provenance:By descent to the donor (see object file).