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THE AMERICAN ACCOMPTANT; BEING A PLAIN, PRACTICAL AND SYSTEMATIC COMPENDIUM OF FEDERAL ARITHMETIC; IN THREE PARTS: DESIGNED FOR THE USE OF SCHOOLS, AND SPECIALLY CALCULATED FOR THE COMMERCIAL MERIDIAN OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Lansingburgh: Printed by William W. Wands, 1797. 12mo, contemporary full brown calf; spine ruled in gilt; black morocco spine label, gilt. Frontispiece engraving of coins in current usage in the U.S. by A. Reed; 297, (15) pages. Marginal wear to frontispiece, with recto carefully repaired and reinforced with tissue, into which has been left a window through which is revealed an original ownership inscription. Minimal browning. Detailed early ownership inscriptions. Joints weak, but holding; moderate staining to covers. Very good. This early American accounting and bookkeeping manual contains what is generally believed to be the first appearance in print of the dollar sign ($). It also includes, as a frontispiece, an engraving depicting a 1795 U.S. eagle, which Eric Newman has called "the earliest known illustration of a United States coin." Also included on the engraving are the Spanish pistole, French "guinea," British guinea, and Portuguese Johannes and half moidore. The book consists of a series of practical lessons for clerks. The dollar sign, which appears on page 56 for the first time and then throughout the volume, is a typographical approximation based upon the handwritten dollar sign used by some during the period. It resembles our own, but also differs from it. Much as a typographical ampersand is much more stylized than most of our handwritten ampersands, this initial attempt at a dollar sign in type is less a strict representation of the handwritten sign than an attempt to establish a similar sign for more formal treatment in type. A very scarce volume, of exceptionally high importance, with at least one copy bringing over $3000 at a K&F auction. For a fascinating, if at times controversial, overview of the history of the dollar sign, see Eric P. Newman's "The Dollar $ign: Its Written and Printed Origin" in America's Silver Dollars (New York: ANS, 1995). Evans 32366: "It is claimed that this work was the first to use the dollar mark, $." Howes L196 (aa): "First book to adopt the dollar sign.".
      [Bookseller: Kolbe & Fanning]
Last Found On: 2016-06-20           Check availability:      IOBABooks    

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