Author Topic: Banknote printing plate discovered  (Read 1712 times)

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Offline Figleaf

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Banknote printing plate discovered
« on: May 03, 2011, 12:08:17 PM »
Revolutionary War Antique Discovery Propels War Between States
By Mike Tighe, 02 May 2011

A Minnesota coin collector has discovered just how seriously New Hampshire takes its motto of Live Free or Die in a brouhaha over a Colonial-era antique that has sparked its own revolutionary war of sorts. Gary Lea stumbled across a money-printing plate that some experts say could trace to the days of Paul Revere and could be worth six figures, according the La Crosse (Wis.) Tribune.

But the profit isn't coming, the profit isn't coming for Lea because the state of New Hampshire contends that there's no such thing as a free antique and it's dying to get its relic back. The state claims it is the rightful owner, even though the coin collector happened upon the copper printing plate during an estate sale in the Gopher State, the Tribune reports. The artifact traveled through several states before Lea found the treasure.

Lea sleuthed the background of the memento, which carried a date stamp of 177-, with the final numeral obliterated from age and grit. He discovered that the plate probably had been used to print money used to pay New Hampshire's share of the Revolutionary War, according to the Tribune.

After buying the plate for a price Lea won't disclose, he told the Tribune, "I knew I couldn't afford to keep it. I was happy just to have known that I was the owner of it at one time, and part of its rediscovery."

He contracted to sell it at an auction, until the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office intervened and said the state wants its heirloom back. Lea canceled the sale, even though the auction house said it was obvious that he had clear title.

Lea sued New Hampshire in Fillmore County, Minn., a maneuver that the Tribune notes raised legal questions such as whether a person can sue one state in another; whether a state can demand to reclaim items it contends are part of its history and treasury; and which state might have jurisdiction over a plate that was crafted in New Hampshire and found its way to an estate sale in Minnesota, after stops over the centuries in Maryland and Michigan, at least.

But Fillmore County Judge Robert Benson recently ruled that Minnesota has jurisdiction to decide the rightful owner, and the court has three months to render its final decision, the Tribune reported.

Source: Newsmax

Photo caption: Paul Revere sounds the alarm: The British are coming! The British are coming! But the money isn't coming (yet) for a Minnesota coin collector who discovered a rare printing plate.
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Ukrainii Pyat

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Re: Banknote printing plate discovered
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2011, 12:35:32 PM »
Just a comment on the legal discussion of lawsuits against other states - there is precedent for it - the so called "long arm" technique.  The state of NH is going to have to do a lot of legal maneuvering to justify how it should get back a 235 year old printing plate - ala proving a provenance of ownership along the way.

The US government is likely to lose the case for the 1933 Double Eagles - they have the burden of proof - and it is a bit of a stretch to prove or disprove something that happened nearly 78 years ago.  So 235 years is really pushing it.
Донецк Украина Donets'k Ukraine

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Banknote printing plate discovered
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2011, 01:36:33 PM »
Quite apart from the legal (de)merits of the case, I would argue that the plate belongs in the public sphere and that the finder should get a just reward, not an auction result.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline UK Decimal +

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Re: Banknote printing plate discovered
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2011, 04:36:02 PM »

Whether NH win or not, the only true winners will be the many legal people that manage to get themselves involved.

Bill.
Ilford, Essex, near London, England.

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