Philadelphia: Published Every Tuesday by Robert T. Bicknell, Stock and Exchange Broker, (April 15, 1834). Volume IV, No. 38. Large tabloid [around 60 by 44.5 cm], 4 pages. Old tape repair; spine fold weak. Good to very good. Item #6288
One of the earliest issues of this interesting publication that we have handled. Very rare: the Ford library, notable for his collection of counterfeit detectors and bank note reporters, had no Bicknell publications. Dillistin pages 125–128: “In 1830, when there were approximately 330 banks operating in this country, Robert T. Bicknell, a lottery broker in Philadelphia, began the publication of a bank note reporter and counterfeit detector. He was the pioneer in this field in Philadelphia and was preceded only by Mahlon Day and S.J. Sylvester in New York.” Bicknell died in 1839, only 33 years of age. The publication was continued for years thereafter, however, by Matthew T. Miller, who continued the publication until 1857. Most interesting is the “Bank Note List” on the last page of each issue, listing by state the various American banks of issue, along with those of Canada. There are columns for “Name,” “Location,” and “Discount in Philadelphia.” The last column includes designations such as fraud, closed and failed. An asterisk by a bank denotes that “there are either counterfeit or altered notes, of various denominations, in circulation throughout the United States.” This issue also contains short interior articles on bank failures and the importation of specie. By their very nature, bank note reporters and counterfeit detectors had a limited shelf life, and very few copies have survived.