“Sailors Taking in Sails” Die Proof, American Bank Note Co. 1858 by James Smillie after F.O.C. Darley
In Philadelphia, later in his studio at Twelfth St. in New York City, and later still for Toppan, Carpenter & Co. and ultimately for American Bank Note Company, Felix Octavius Darley, more than any other artist, made drawings, paintings and engravings that visually recorded the history of our country, especially the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
Formed in 1858 by a consolidation of seven major engraving and printing firms, ABNCo went on to dominate the security printing business worldwide. From 1858 until the twilight of the issuance of currency by state-chartered banks in the mid-1860s, the firm produced bills for banks all across the United States. Often this was done by taking plates from the firms that comprised ABNCo in 1858, adding the ABNCo monogram, and printing new versions. In addition, the firm produced Federal currency for the United States government from 1861 through the 1870s, postage stamps for many years, and countless security documents for banks, governments, and other institutions.