YOGI BERRA, when handed a check inscribed, "Pay to Bearer
": "This ain't no way to spell my name."
Thus, the traditional inscription of banknotes in the era of commodity money read something like `I promise to pay to the bearer of this note the amount of X ounces of gold.'" But in the United States and Canada, at least, although the "promise to pay" inscription was fairly common, the more common inscription (exhibited by considerably more than half of the pre-1860 commercial banknotes for sale on eBay) was "will pay"--for example, "The Spearsport Bank will pay Five Dollars to bearer on demand" or "The Bank of Montreal will pay to bearer
on demand Ten Dollars." (6) In Scotland, "promise to pay" was the most common inscription, but one leading bank's note read: "The Royal Bank of Scotland is hereby obliged to pay to--or the Bearer on demand Twenty shillings." (see Checkland 1975, 188).