Bank notes. Philadelphia and New York: Draper, Toppan & Longacre, ca. 1840.
To deter counterfeiters, antebellum-era state banks commissioned specialized engraving firms to create exceptionally graphic, not easily replicable paper money. The Draper, Toppan & Longacre firm benefited from the skills of the engraver James B. Longacre (1794-1869), responsible for the renowned National Portrait Gallery of DistinguishedAmericans (1834-1839). Engraved piecemeal between the graphic and textual elements by at least two individuals, the prints, which typically juxtaposed historical and allegorical vignettes, work and genre scenes, and portraits and views, were considered by those in the printing trade as commercial art.