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The E-Sylum (7/21/2013)

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Fred Reed published an article recently in Coins Magazine about an interesting Naramore-style card bearing the imprint of New York City photographer G.W. Thorne. Here's an excerpt. -Editor

Thorne card Last fall I added the item shown this month to my collection, and I was excited to get it. Not only is it a Lincoln item, and I gravitate toward Lincoln images, but it is also linked to my interest in anti-counterfeiting measures, about which I wrote several hundred thousand words published in this periodical’s sister publication Bank Note Reporter over the years. It also dovetails my interest in photographic history.

It was also previously unknown to me and also to every other “expert” who I could wrangle an opinion out of.

This slightly larger than CDV-sized calling card was printed and circulated by a 19th-century New York City photographer. Some readers may already have noticed that it bears resemblance to the Naramore “Souvenir” United States Treasury Note and National Bank Note cards that bore approved “photographic copies of the circulating notes issued by Act of Congress, taken from proof impressions on file in the U.S. Treasury Department.”

These were issued as a 18-note card deck or mounted on a wall poster to assist bank tellers and merchants in determining whether the notes passing through their change drawers were legitimate or counterfeit bills.

Incredibly, Naramore, an enterprising Connecticut entrepreneur, secured a patent on these one-fourth size reproductions of real currency on July 19, 1866, and also permission to publish them from U.S. Treasury Secretary Hugh McCulloch 11 days later.

Naramore’s cards were printed in New York City by Maverick, Stephen & Co., and published and copyrighted by the American Photograph Co. of Bridgeport, Conn.

I have made a concerted study of these items as part of my interest in counterfeiting in the Civil War era, as have other collectors.

All Naramore cards are scarce and highly prized. For me the gem of the litter is, of course, the Naramore reproduction of the $10 greenback with its Charles Burt Lincoln portrait.

We know that some very rare Naramore cards bear the additional imprint of a New Haven, Conn. tailor by the name of T[homas] Hurle on the face of the Naramore cards.

It reads: “T. HURLE, Merchant Tailor, 448 Chapel St., opposite New Haven Hotel.” He advertised “Gent’s First Class Garments Made to Order in the Best Style,” and “Gent’s Furnishing Goods,” and “Canes and Umbrellas.”

The Hurle cards are about as rare as hens teeth, however this new G.W. Thorne card is completely new to the literature and may, in fact, be unique.

I've got three of the T. Hurle cards in my collection. Here are images of them. The fourth image is the back of the card, which they share in common. -Editor

T. Hurle Naramore card $5

T. Hurle Naramore card $10

T. Hurle Naramore card $50

T. Hurle Naramore card back

To read the complete article, see: New York Photographer: Legal Tender Business Cards (

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