July’s artifact of the month is a print showcasing different designs of Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson, well known bank note engravers
The company originally started with Freeman Rawdon, who established it sometime after 1825. In 1828 he partnered with Neziah Wright, establishing Rawdon, Wright & Co. in New York City. Prior to this, Freeman’s older brother, Ralph Rawdon, had formed Rawdon, Clark & Co. with Asahel Clark. The two Rawdon brothers then merged their companies in 1832 to create Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Company. In 1847, Tracy Edson’s name was added and they became Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson.
In 1858 the company merged yet again, this time with six others to form the American Bank Note Company (which is visible on this piece), although they owned the largest share (23.9%). The other companies were Toppan, Carpenter & Co., Danforth, Perkins & Co., Bald, Cousland & Co., Jocelyn, Draper, Welsh & Co., Wellstood, Hay & Whiting, and John E. Gavit. The company is still around today as a subsidiary of American Banknote Corporation.
And so what about this piece caught my eye and made me list it as the artifact of the month? The fact that it is such a large piece and contains a huge variety of images used by Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson. If you search for the company online you will find a great variety of pieces manufactured by them, but I’ve yet to find another that is so large and old. While ours is not dated, we believe it is ca 1858-1965.
This piece is also a great example of how we constantly come across pieces in our collection that have little to no information in the file. After my boss found this piece, we both started researching it and realized that it is a unique and valuable piece, and so it definitely deserves some attention.