Early notes were usually made with a border bearing a design (often the left border) that was attached to a stub. See an example of a note with the stub still intact under our listing for the 1733 Maryland emission. The serial number of the note was recorded on the stub, then the stub was cut from the note using a sharp blade to cut a wavy or curved line through the border design. This curved cut was called the indent. It was thought each cut would be unique so when the note was redeemed the note and the stub would match. This was a method of protecting against counterfeiters.
The indent system was eventually abandon as notes came back from circulation well worn and torn so that often it was difficult to match the indent. Also, as indenting was a labor intensive process, it was dropped during the Revolutionary era when currency runs became larger and more frequent. However, the term "indented note" continued to be found on some currency even though the notes were not indented! Indented emissions were rarely issued after 1775 (among the last of the indented emissions were the: Massachusetts soldiers pay emissions of May 25th and July 8th 1775; South Carolina emission of June 10, 1775; Virginia, Ashby forms of July 17, 1775 and James River forms of September 1, 1775; Georgia Gold Option 1776; New Hampshire soldier's pay 1777; and the large denomination notes of the Virginia emissions of October 5, 1778 and May 3, 1779).