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Rare 1781 MICHAEL HILLEGAS Signed U.S. Loan Office Revolutionary War Notes Uncut Strip of Three Loan Certificates
MICHAEL HILLEGAS (1729-1804), First Treasurer of the United States for the Continental Congress, Hillegas edited the Declaration of Independence, used much of his own personal funds to help support the American Revolutionary War, and his portrait appears on the Ten-dollar Gold Certificate in the currency series issued in the years 1907 and 1922.
December 25, 1781-Dated Revolutionary War, Three Autograph Documents Signed, "M. HILLEGAS" as Treasurer of the United States ("Loan Office" having been crossed out), Very Fine. These Massachusetts U.S. Loan Office Certificates are in their original Uncut Strip, retaining of THREE of Four that were printed to comprise a full complete sheet. These "Sight" notes were printed in sets of four and configured as: First Bill; Second Bill; Third Bill and Fourth Bill so that if the first sent was never received, the next would be sent, then the next, etc. Michael Hillegas was First Treasurer of the United States of America, this form is also Countersigned by "Nathaniel Appleton" as "Commissioner of the Continental Loan-Office in the State of Massachusetts."

These notes are each serial number 1625, are for the amount of "60 Dollars, at Five Livres Tournois per dollar". They were issued by the State of Massachusetts and provide for the "interest of Money borrowed by the United States" which was being supplied by our allies, the French. The left borders are indented, there is edge wear and overall even toning, some trivial deft sealed splits. Overall, attractive and extremely rare in this configuration, being printed in black and light violet-pink.

This Document measures approximately 11.25" tall x 8" wide. The signature "M. Hillegas" is written in bold deep rich brown, measuring 2.5" long, upon each of the three certificates. This is the first multiple example on this form that we have offered. Extremely Rare.

Noted within the extreme bottom margin selvage of the sheet, is the debt purchaser's name, "Dr. Russell's." This would be Doctor Edward Russell, the respected physician in North Yarmouth, who was born in West Cambridge, Massachusetts, graduated from Harvard College in 1759, and died at North Yarmouth in 1785. (Uncut Strip of 3 Notes)
Michael Hillegas was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Margaret Schiebenstock (1710-July 21, 1770) and George Michael Hillegass (February 14, 1696 - October 30, 1749), an immigrant from Germany and a well-to-do merchant involved in iron and sugar. Son Michael thus had the freedom and resources to participate in local politics. He married Henrietta Boude on May 10, 1753, at Christ Church in Philadelphia, and they went on to have many children.

Hillegas was a member of the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly from 1765 to 1775 and served as Treasurer of the Committee of Safety under Benjamin Franklin in 1774.

On July 29, 1775, Hillegas and fellow patriot George Clymer (Signer of Dec. of Inde.) were appointed by the Continental Congress to share the office of Treasurer of the United Colonies. Because Hillegas edited the Declaration of Independence, when the Declaration of Independence was signed, only Clymer's signature appeared on the document.

After Clymer's resignation on August 6, 1776, Hillegas assumed sole ownership of the office, which he held throughout the remainder of the American Revolution, using much of his own fortune to support the cause. His son, Samuel Hillegas, was also given the authority to sign new currency, known as "Continentals." Hillegas also served briefly as Quartermaster to the Army and served on occasional commissions.

On September 9, 1776, the Continental Congress officially changed the name of the country to the United States of America, but Hillegas's title did not officially change until March 1778. On September 11, 1789, Congress created the Treasury Department, and Alexander Hamilton took the oath of office as the first Secretary of the Treasury. On that same date, Hillegas tendered his resignation, and Samuel Meredith was appointed Treasurer.

Hillegas was also an early member of the American Philosophical Society, along with Franklin. He died in Philadelphia and is buried near Franklin in Christ Church Burial Ground. Late in the 19th century, his descendants petitioned to have his portrait appear on the ten-dollar gold certificate in the series issued in the years 1907 and 1922.
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