Can anybody help me on this? American economic warfare during the Revolution
We know that the British forged paper Continental Currency to undermine the 13 colonies/states in the 1770s, and we also know that the Americans faced limitations in the support they were getting from many Canadians, in part because the Patriots could not afford to pay in silver and gold.
We also know that individual American engravers and metalsmiths made forgeries to help the independence effort, but documentary evidence is very sparse. I have heard that the Patriots made counterfeit gold British coins to be spent in Canada, both for the purpose of buying goods or renting loyalty and for the purpose of undermining the Empire’s economy.
But I have never seen a shred of evidence.
Have any of you?
I ask the question because I have come across some counterfeit British gold coins – crudely cast from brass and bearing the purported image of King George III and the royal arms – which were found more than a century ago in an old house in Crown Point, New York, where Benedict Arnold had his headquarters in 1776 during his Ticonderoga campaign. (See photos.)
The coins resided in a small museum in the town of Ticonderoga until it was closed and its contents sold off during the Great Depression. A New York historian purchased the coins at the time, and they have since come to my attention.
Might these counterfeits have been part of the American Revolutionary War effort? I think the likelihood is high, given the provenance of the forgeries, but I do not know. If any readers have information, I’d love to hear from you. Please email me at waller at iwp dot edu.