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Topic: Proof of header for 1898 note for Halifax Banking Co  (Read 531 times)
GregAlex
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« on: September 04, 2021, 03:20:36 am »

Last year I picked up an interesting proof on India paper of header for an anonymous $20 note. I knew nothing about it, but I liked the engraved lathe work. When it arrived I saw that it had a year inscribed (1878) and a signature that appeared to be Wm. M. MacPherson. This wasn't an engraver I had heard of, but it was a good Canadian name, I thought.

So I started thumbing through my 5th edition of Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Bank Notes. In less than 200 pages I had my answer -- the header appears on a face proof of a $20 design for the Halifax Banking Company. The note was created by British American Bank Note in 1898, not 1878, so perhaps the header was done on spec for later use.

I'd love to see what the design looked like in color, but have yet to find anything besides the b/w catalog photo. I'm not even sure the note was ever issued. Does anyone have a better image they can point me to? Does the header appear anywhere else?

« Last Edit: September 04, 2021, 03:22:12 am by GregAlex »

Always curious about bank note engravings.
Bob
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« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2021, 08:42:13 pm »

It looks like the two halves were engraved on separate dies because the space between them is considerably wider on the note than on the proof. 
The engraved signature Wm. M. Macpherson is seen on note issues of the Molsons Bank from about 1899 to 1912.   I didn't see the lathework etc. on any Molsons Bank note.  How can the presence of this signature be explained on a Halifax Banking Co. proof?  It may be nothing more than using up the minimum amount of paper as the signature and lathework were being tested.  Both were going into use about the same time.
I don't know what 1878 could have had to do with it.

Collecting Canadian since 1955
GregAlex
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« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2021, 03:07:30 am »

The engraved signature Wm. M. Macpherson is seen on note issues of the Molsons Bank from about 1899 to 1912.   I didn't see the lathework etc. on any Molsons Bank note.  How can the presence of this signature be explained on a Halifax Banking Co. proof?  It may be nothing more than using up the minimum amount of paper as the signature and lathework were being tested.  Both were going into use about the same time.
I don't know what 1878 could have had to do with it.
The 1878 may just be wrong. I have no idea who added it.
The MacPherson "signature" is a hand manuscript, but it may not be be an actual autograph, just a notation of who did the engraving. I'd be interested in comparing it to the engraved signature on a note from Molsons Bank, if you are able to post an image.

Always curious about bank note engravings.
Bob
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« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2021, 10:06:44 pm »

Here's a note from the same time period, heavily worn but the signature is fairly clear.

Collecting Canadian since 1955
GregAlex
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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2021, 01:34:35 am »

Wow! That required a paradigm shift. All along I hand been thinking my proof was hand-signed by its engraver. That is not the case at all -- after re-examining it, MacPherson's signature is definitely intaglio printing. And it is precisely the same as the one used on the Molsons note. I should have paid closer attention.

Does anyone know whether Halifax Banking Company ever issued the $20 note which used the header from my proof? And why would MacPherson's signature have any connection to it?
« Last Edit: September 07, 2021, 01:36:28 am by GregAlex »

Always curious about bank note engravings.
Bob
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« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2021, 01:34:20 pm »

Yes the 1898 $20s were issued.   An institutional collection holds #2930, a perf cancelled note in lovely condition.  It bears a manuscript signature A. Allan pr (per) at lower left, and Robie Uniacke engraved at the lower right.
I think my earlier suggestion that BABN was testing dies and saving paper will answer for Macpherson's signature.  BABN was not knowingly creating collectibles for the future, just testing new dies on whatever suitable paper came to hand.

Collecting Canadian since 1955
 

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