A 1772 Receipt (Oops…that’s 1722)


What is the text of this receipt? (This is a longer item than usual, but hopefully not too difficult to read). Note: this is from 1722–the original title of this post said “1772” which has been changed.


21 thoughts on “A 1772 Receipt (Oops…that’s 1722)

  1. Boston June 7th 1722
    Recd of Mrs Elizbt Sargent ten pounds
    Thirteen shillings for gloves of Mr John Lewis
    £ 2-13-0 Nicho Belknap

    It’s hard to note the superscript letters here.
    I was unsure of gloves.

      • I have a P.S. I believe it also says “To” Mr. John Lewis not “of”……if the money was received of Mrs. Sargent, it would have been paid to Mr. Lewis. I hope this helps!
        To me, this looks more like what would have been the colonial version of a bank check or draft but that’s just a guess.

  2. That was a hard one. I gave up on trying. I do agree with most of what Denise transcribed though. And I thought my handwriting was horrible. :o)

  3. Are we sure that’s 1772 and not 1722?

    I agree with what Denise has written, but I read the signature as the abbreviation for Nicholas Belknap. I’m also iffy on the gloves, but I can’t figure out what else it could be.

  4. Boston June 7th 1722
    Recd of Mrs Elizbt Sargent ten pounds
    Thirteen shillings [—-] Mr John Lewis
    £ 2-13-0 & Nicho Belknap

  5. I thought it looked like gloves when I read it, but £10 for a pair of gloves seems expensive. Does anyone have an idea of how much a pound would buy in 1722?

    • I thought it sounded a little expensive as well. I’m not certain how much a pound would buy at that point in time. I need to find some contemporary records to see.

    • I was thinking that next to Gloves it says 100 at ten pounds, thirteen shillings. But then I don’t know if 100 gloves @ £2-13-0 would equal ten pounds, 13 shillings. It doesn’t seem so, but I have no idea what a shilling represented. Then again, I am only assuming the £2-13-0 represents 2 pounds, 13 ?, 0 ? It could mean the pound sign £ the way we use the dollar sign even, sometimes if we only mean cents, i.e., $.13. Maybe the 2 is some other coin value, other than pound, perhaps pence, guinea, sixpence, etc.? Anyway, my guess as to what comes after Gloves is 100.

  6. I agree with Denise’s transcription except for the amount. The numeric entry has 2-13-0 which would be 2 pounds thirteen shillings and the more I look at the script entry, the more I’m thinking it’s a poorly written two pounds rather than ten pounds. Looks like gloves to me as well.

    • Yes, now that I look at it with the numerals below it is 2. the dd at the end has also bugged me and I am thinking it is an abbreviation for delivered, perhaps.

  7. Definitely not gloves, unless they cost over $1500 in 2015 money.


    The letter that you guys are claiming is a “v” actually looks more like an “n” or a “u” based on the same letters in other words. You’re also discounting the letter than is crossed (and notice that only t’s are crossed with a long line. However, then there are the two “d”s at the end. Notice that the only other time that letter appears is in the Received abbreviation and it’s clearly the same letter.

    I have no idea what this word or two words are. No letter combination makes sense to me. However, it is not gloves.

  8. The word that looks like Gloves could maybe be “Horse”. This writer used elaborate flourishes on the capital letters (the B of Boston and the R of Received, for example).

    Following that word is what looks like two lower case “d” with a dash between them…an abbreviation for the word “delivered”…as in “delivered to Master John Lewis”? It reminds me of the “do” for ditto seen in many early records.

    Also, 2 pounds 13 shillings was probably more reasonable for a horse than for gloves.

  9. Could it be that this ‘G’ is an ‘H’? The last two letters are definitely ‘dd’ based on the ‘d’ in Recd. Perhaps a bad spelling of honored (“honerdd”) so that the message is that ten pounds and thirteen shillings were for the honored John Lewis and Nich. Belknap. I definitely think it says ten, not two, btw, because of the way the writer makers his “o”s elsewhere.

  10. What I read is :

    Boston, June 7, 1722
    Rec’d of Mrs Elizab’t Sargent ten pounds thirteen shillings for house dd Mr John Lewis.
    £2.13-0 Nich’o Belknap

    So what I see is that Nicholas Belknap, a realtor, wrote a receipt to Mrs Elizabeth Sargent for ten pounds thirteen shillings for rent on a house owned by Mr John Lewis. I can only think that he made the £2.13-0 notation as his commission on the rental. If you look at the formation if the en combination it is repeated in both Sargent and ten. Also the word that has everyone stumped has the same formation of the letters ou in pounds.

    Just my opinion.

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