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The note was printed using black ink, but the signatures of some officials and the serial numbers were typically red. On the obverse was a thirteen-stepped pyramid designed by American author Francis Hopkinson. Written above the pyramid was the Latin word "perrenis" ("everlasting"). Also printed on the obverse was a promise to the bearer for an exchange of 50 dollars in gold, silver, or Spanish dollars on request. The 1778 note measured 96 millimeters in width by 73 millimeters in height. Depicted on the reverse were three arrows, which were changed to two parsley branches in 1779.
To combat counterfeiting, the note's paper contained blue threads and mica flakes. However, this did not prevent the note from being widely counterfeited. Many of the early 1778 counterfeits read "Congress in Philadelphia September 26th, 1778", when the real notes had a comma inscribed between "Philadelphia" and "September". This error was publicized soon after, and the counterfeiters corrected their unissued bills. Other errors shown on counterfeits are a slightly lowered "to" in the first line on the obverse, the c's in "according" not being level, and the top loop in the "S" in "dollars" not being connected to the rest of the letter.
- Continental Currency: September 26, 1778
- Ron Wise's World Paper Money
- Standard Catalog of World Paper Money - Specialized Issues