Alan Stahl, Curator of Numismatics at Princeton University kindly sent me a review copy of the catalog for the current exhibition, "Money on Paper: Bank Notes and Related Graphic Arts from the Collections of Vsevolod Onyshkevych and Princeton University," on view in the Leonard L. Milberg Gallery for the Graphic Arts, Firestone Library, Princeton University through January 2, 2011.
The large size 80-page softcovered catalogue contains a full list of the bank notes on display with color photographs of a few dozen of them. The notes are in excellent condition and the images are marvelous. The earlier E-Sylum included several images of notes, including a large selection of Benjamin Franklin's nature-print notes, as well as issues of Paul Revere and the South Carolina engraver Thomas Coram.
As noted earlier, one of the highlights of the exhibit is the first public display of the recently discovered banknote engraving of a grouse by wildlife illustrator John James Audubon. On display with a sample sheet containing the vignette is an original watercolor by Audubon and a steel printing plate from Audubon's Birds of America. This publication will be the first appearance in numismatic circles of the groundbreaking article by Robert Peck and Eric Newman entitled "Discovered! The First Engraving of an Audubon Bird."
The catalog would be well worth its price for the landmark Audubon essay alone, but there are two wonderful additional illustrated essays: Mark Tomasko writes on "Bank Note Engraving in the United States," and Francis Musella writes on "Benjamin Franklin's Nature Printing on Bank Notes".
Tomasko is a longtime collector and student of bank note engraving, and his essay is an excellent introduction to the topic. Francis Musella is a member of the Princeton Class of 2013. He is pursuing a degree in economics and spent his freshman year cataloging the University collection's colonial notes. It's interesting to see the juxtaposition of numismatic writing by such a young researcher together with one of field's eldest statesmen, the 99-year-old Eric Newman, who was one of the first to write about Franklin's nature printing.
Congratulations to Stahl and the exhibit's contributors - they've created not only a wonderful exhibit, but a catalog of lasting value and importance to the field.
The publication is available for $30 plus shipping from Friends of the Princeton University Library, One Washington Road, Princeton, NJ 08544. Inquiries about ordering can be made to Linda Oliveira at email@example.com or at (609) 258-3155.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NEW BOOK AND EXHIBIT: MONEY ON PAPER
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