$0.37 1/2

Newark Whaling, Sealing & Manf'g Co., Newark


This occupationally titled issuer has justifiably been popular with all currency collectors. The theme of whaling and sealing is unusual, and the vignettes fit remarkably well on the small format size. This note is the highest denomination, and the oddest, from a trio-denomination series of 12-1/2 cents, 25 cents, and 37-1/2 cents. It corresponds with the Spanish system as “three bits” and would have made change in conjunction with its brother “bit” note. As with the others, at top center is a whaling vignette, unique and custom made for the series, adapted from William Page’s 1835 painting, Capturing of a Sperm Whale, and popular on period color-tinted prints. The right end has a vertical trio of Spanish Colonial real coin reverses that circulated in the period (when silver money was not hoarded as it was in 1837) and served as counters. Small, but powerful, the vignette captures the surge of the sea and the frightened faces of the oarsmen as the whale is harpooned. Flanking the whaling scene are an eagle, wharf goods, and at upper left a galleon. This is one of the more interesting topical scrip notes, combining whaling, coin vignettes and odd-denomination themes. The notes themselves were actually 1% interest bearing, and since they were emitted in the tumultuous late 1830s, notes held too long by the public were likely not redeemed.
Formerly of The LII Collection