Small portrait of older Ben Franklin at top center – verse in script with words, letter and symbols (rebus) which when sounded out and added to other letters form the words for the verse.
Benjamin Franklin was known for his sense of humor and wit. Many appreciated his universal philosophies, and Franklin’s words were often commemorated in print. Currier profited from Franklin’s wisdom when he published The Art of Making Money Plenty in the form of a rebus. The rebus, a graphic puzzle of words or syllables represented with pictures, was a popular form of entertainment during the 19th century. This thirteen-line picture puzzle translates as follows: At this time when the general complaint is that money is so scarce it must be an act of kindness to inform the moneyless how they can reinforce their purses I will acquaint all with the true secret of money catching, the certain way to fill empty purses and how to keep them always full. Two simple rules well observed will do the business. 1st Let honesty and labor be thy constant companions: 2d Spend one penny every day less than they clear gains. Then shall thy purses soon begin to thrive, thy creditors will never insult thee nor want oppress, nor hunger bite, nor naked freeze thee, the whole hemisphere will shine brighter, and pleasure spring up in every corner of thy heart. Now thereby embrace these rules and be happy.