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3171Re: A new book

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  • Jake Benson
    Sep 10, 2005
      Hi Jim,

      It turns out that we don't have Vol. 30 of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin here at USC.
      Hence I have to order it through ILL. Yet I think you are asking a lot of very good
      or if it was simply that "paper" , meaning the wove paper was smuggled, before it was
      marbled. the papers will hopefully have an answer to that if they are explicit or not. I
      think the paper may have been smuggled and then specially marbled in Paris (perhaps a
      special comission by Franklin of the successor to the marbling firm featured in the
      Encyclopedie of Diderot & d'Alembert?) then printed at Passy by Franklin before they were
      presented to the governent.

      The marbling is not an adhered strip of paper but directly marbled to the center of a long
      rectangular sheet, and blocked off likely using another piece of paper on the right and left
      halves. So the marbling is integral to the sheet that the loan was printed on. Then it was
      cut in an irregular manner into two halves that could be proven to positively match. I
      wonder if marbling is French Marbling on English paper. this treatment s so unusual, I
      have ahrd time thinking it was done in London to order in that manner. Also the pattern
      on the loan seems more like the papers seen in France at that time.

      As to whether the marbling on the bill notes is native manufacture, who knows? It will
      take a lot of study and research. The marbling is used in a different manner, and variant
      patterns are observed that are distinct from the loans, something the authors of the book
      seem to have failed to observe.

      In the past we have tended to lump the production of the loans together with the bill
      notes, but now I wonder if the loans were very specifically conjured up by Franklin at
      Passy... which led to some of the bill notes produced in a similar manner stateside. One
      bill note featuring a chevron pattern was printed by Benjamin Bache, Franklin's grandson.
      Others are not so explicit, so he may not have printed them all, but it has seemed likely,
      given the circumstances. Aside from the papers and patterns used for the notes, another
      feature that could be looked into is Franklin's penchant for designing the type for these
      projects. Franklins use of small tree leaves in the printing process as a security device is
      also remarkable. One wonders if a note combining marbling together with the leaves weer
      ever produced.

      I have never inspected of the bill notes or the loans in person, only the images in Wolfe's
      book. Those bills and the loan are kept at


      Has anyone on the list seen these items firsthand and care to add to the discussion?

      Another billnote is up for sale at Denly's in Boston, which I posted a few months back.


      As is so often the case, this publication may bring up more questions than answers, but it
      is still really nice to see the attention paid to the subject at all, and VERY full-page color
      images published.


      --- In Marbling@yahoogroups.com, "jthandbook" <jthandbook@y...> wrote:
      > Thank you Jake for the heads up; I doubt I'd have noticed THE ORIGINS OF VALUE
      > A pretty fascinating book aside from the marbling interest.
      > Have you gotten a chance to check the authors' reference to Franklin's PAPERS? The
      > arguments they put forward for the English origin of the wove paper and resist marbling
      > strike me as a bit overstretched. I've not examined one of the Loan notes in person but
      from reproductions I don't see anything about them to support the claim of exceptionally
      high quality, rarity, or expense.
      > It would be most curious if Franklin, having (according to Dard Hunter) introduced Paris
      to wove paper in 1777, had to smuggle it into France a few years later! And why would
      Franklin not have seen to its making and marbling in France and then later, for his
      experimental American money bills, Stateside? I'm hoping that you can set me straight on

      > Now if only there were some way to get your talk for those of us unable to attend. Again
      my thanks and all best to you, James
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