Here is my 2011 discussion on this piece :
We are in 1775. North America is at war against its colonial power. The territories of the east coast have already the ambition to control the whole country south of Canada: on the previous year, delegates from twelve colonies had attended the First Continental Congress.
The financial aspect is not omitted. To sustain the war effort, Americans are using the dangerous option of paper money. Throughout the Revolutionary period, $ 241 million of Continental currency are issued.
The item for sale is a $ 20 bill dated May 10, 1775, in 'apparent about new' condition. It was printed on a paper specially imported from Europe at the initiative of Franklin, and includes on its left side a polychromatic stripe attesting the need to prevent the counterfeiting that the enemy would not fail to produce.
Actually undermined by the British, the Continental Currency was a monetary catastrophe. After a few years, these tickets were worth no more than a hundredth of their face value. To say that something is worthless, the Americans used the phrase "it's not worth a Continental". Strategist, Franklin expressed his satisfaction with this operation which, viewed in retrospection, had not been anything else than a tax.
In a post sale comment on the 2011 auction, I caught that a loan certificate for one million livres issued in France in 1781 and signed by Benjamin Franklin was sold for $ 218K including premium.