Craven County Digital History Exhibit

NC c1748 20 Shillings

Accession Number TP.2000.017.004



North Carolina paper currency, value twenty shillings



[James Davis]



Ink on laid paper



North Carolina, New Bern



After 1748-04-04



OH: 2 ½” (6.4 cm); OW:  5” (15.7 cm)



Engraved twenty-shilling note issued for North Carolina. Printed from engraved copper plate with stuccowork and leafage border on left edge and prancing unicorn in a circle on lower left corner. Printed inscription: “North Carolina/ XXS Twenty Shillings/ Proclamation Mony [sic] according to Act of / Assembly pass’d the 4th of April 1748.” Bill is numbered in upper right corner “1990.” Signed in ink (barely legible) on obverse: “Eleazer Allen” “Saml Swann”/ “E Moseley” and “John Starkey.” Undecipherable ink inscription on reverse.  The note is printed on thin laid paper folded in quarters.






This is part of 54-piece gift of North Carolina paper currency issued between 1748 and 1771 from the same anonymous donor.



Although the engraving is unsigned, the printer of the 1748-issue bills is probably James Davis (1721-1785), North Carolina’s first printer. Davis arrived from Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1749 to fill the post of public printer, an office created that year by the Assembly to print a revisal of the colony’s laws. He set up his printing shop in New Bern. His first job was printing currency for the province. The revised laws were not printed until 1751.

The bill was issued in a series of 2,000.






Permission to use the photograph must be obtained in writing from Tryon Palace Historic Sites & Gardens, New Bern, North Carolina. It must be accompanied by the caption” From the collection of Tryon Palace Historic Sites & Gardens, New Bern, North Carolina; North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Division of Archive and History.”


Obverse Image
Reverse Image

Images scanned by Dean Knight
Text prepared by Nancy Richards and Victor T. Jones, Jr.

Last edited: August 21, 2018

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