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    1726 Edition of Massachusetts Laws
    Including Ones About Coins and Currency

    [Massachusetts-Bay, Province of the]. Acts and Laws, of His Majesty's Province of the Massachusetts-Bay in New-England. Boston in New-England: Printed by B. Green, Printer to the Honourable the Lieut. Governour & Council, for Benjamin Eliot, and Sold at His Shop Near the Town-House in King's Street, 1726. Title vignette with the Royal Arms. (2), 347, (1), 17, (1) pages, final pagination being a Table of Contents. [preceded by] The Charter Granted by Their Majesties King William and Queen Mary, to the Inhabitants of the Province of the Massachusetts-Bay in New-England. (2), 14 pages. Folio [30 by 20.5 cm], contemporary full calf; boards paneled in blind with flourishes in corners and further bordered with double blind fillets; spine with five raised bands. Final printed leaf with marginal loss; annotations to endpapers. Some spotting and browning, mostly marginal. Joints weak, but binding intact. A very good copy of the second collected volume of Massachusetts laws. A notation on the opening blank indicates that this volume belonged to the Town of Norton, and in 1770 was the property of the Parish of Mansfield.

    An early and rare collection of the laws and acts of the Massachusetts Bay colony, printed in Boston in 1726. Of unusual historical importance, being a contemporary printing of the Charter under which the Massachusetts Bay province operated and the acts and laws promulgated for its government. Volumes of the Massachusetts laws were published as compendia (see following lot), in that they were devised as continually evolving documents, added to and redacted and reprinted every so often in volumes of steadily increasing size. The laws and acts published in this volume were passed beginning in 1692, and include the infamous "scarlet letter" law (punishing adultery by forcing offenders to wear a capital A on their clothing for ever after) made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Of more numismatic relevance is the Massachusetts Bay colony's printing of the 1708 Act of Parliament enforcing Queen Anne's 1704 Proclamation attempting to regulate the value of coins being used in the American colonies. This Parliamentary Act is of the utmost numismatic importance for the period, and is discussed by Crosby (Early Coins of America, pages 117-122) and Mossman (Money of the American Colonies and Confederation, pages 48-53). The 1708 Act includes the text of the original 1704 Proclamation, and specifically orders that the text be printed in America: which is what this is.

    Other acts of numismatic relevance included in this volume are: "An Act for Ascertaining the Value of Coynes Currant within This Province," which affirms the continued current status of Massachusetts silver coinage (May 26, 1697; page 87); "An Act Against the Making or Passing of Base or Counterfeit Money" (May 29, 1700; page 147); "An Act for Making and Emitting of Bills of Publick Credit" (May 27, 1702; pages 170-172); "An Act Against the Diminishing and Counterfeiting of Money" (March 10, 1702; page 175); "An Act Against Counterfeiting the Bills of Credit on This Province" (May 31, 1704; pages 181-182); "An Act for Exchanging the Twenty Shilling Bill of Credit, &c." (May 31, 1710; page 210); "An Act for Securing the Bills of Credit on the Neighbouring Governments" (May 30, 1711; page 211); and "An Act for the Better Securing of the Bills of Credit on This Province from Forgery and Corruption; and for Drawing in the Ten Shilling, and Three and Six-penny Bills" (May 27, 1713; page 229-230). There are many subsequent laws relating to coinage and paper money as well, the most important of which may be the printing on pages 299-300 of the "Act for Emitting Five Hundred Pounds in Small Bills of Several Denominations, to Be Exchanged for Larger Bills by the Province Treasurer," which illustrates the June 1722 issue of One Penny, Two Pence, and Three Pence notes. Evans 2762.
    Estimate $5,000.
    Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

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    Auction Dates
    November, 2018
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    Truth Seeker: The Life of Eric P. Newman (softcover)
    A powerful and intimidating dealer of the 1960s, backed by important colleagues, was accused of selling fraudulent gold coins and ingots to unsuspecting numismatists. Who would go up against a man like that and, over the course of decades, prove the fraud? Who would expose a widely respected scholar as a thief, then doggedly pursue recovery of coins that the scholar had stolen from an embarrassed numismatic organization, all over the objections of influential collectors who had bought coins with clouded titles? Eric P. Newman would - and did. Reserve your copy today.
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