New York: 1860.
Fourth quarterly edition. Folio, 380 pp, in publisher's blind-stamped cloth. Re-backed with most of original spine cloth laid down, library bookplate on front pastedown, a few pages with closed tears; all else very good. Following a brief introduction and index, each page is divided into 27 small rectangles representing bank notes, each including the name and location of the bank, denomination, and verbal descriptions of any images that appeared on the bills (e.g. "cattle; farming scene in distance" or "female reclining with scroll, globe, etc.; ship and steamer in distance"). Claiming to be "the most effectual detector of spurious, altered and counterfeit bills ever published," this was one of several competing guides that professed--in an age of rampant counterfeiting--to enable their users to look up any bank note and determine if it was genuine. As historian Stephen Mimm explains, "while detectors promised to restore some measure of confidence to the currency, they often had the opposite effect, undermining readers' faith in the money supply....Publishers, after all, had an incentive to play up news suggesting that the banking system was rife with fraud or teetering on the brink of collapse. The greater the anxiety they stirred up, the more subscribers they gained" (A Nation of Counterfeiters, p. 246).