Collecting Confederate Currency
Collecting Confederate Currency home page
Seven Series of Confederate notes, consisting of 70 different Types, were created over the course of the Civil War. These started with the famous Montgomery issue of $1000, $500, $100, and $50 notes in very limited quantities. The last series issued millions of pink to orange to red faced and blue or no back designs of 1864 in nine denominations from $500 to 50 cents.
The Confederate States of America was born February 9th, 1861 when a provisional government was created at Montgomery, Alabama. Seven states – South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas – formed the new nation. Jefferson Davis (Mississippi) and Alexander Stephens (Georgia) were elected President and Vice President, respectively. After hostilities broke out at Ft Sumter on April 12, four more states - Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia would join the Confederacy. Kentucky and Missouri would have both Union and Confederate governments, but for most of the War, were mostly Union states. War would continue for more than four years with the surrender of General Stand Waite on June 23, 1865, in Indian Territory ending hostilities on land resulting in the end of the Confederate States of America.
The first act the provisional Congress authorized was a $15 million loan to be secured by 8% bonds payable in September 1871. Along with this, the provisional Congress passed a tax of 1/8th of one cent per pound on exported cotton from the Confederate States of America. This first bond issue was oversubscribed. These bonds and taxes were to provide a financial foundation to start the new nation. There would be numerous bonds issues throughout the history of the Confederacy. Most of the Acts of the Confederate Congress that authorized the seven series of Confederate treasury notes, also authorized bond issues.
As the guns fell silent at the close of the U.S. Civil War in the spring of 1865, troops from both sides went home to rebuild their lives. The Confederates in the South were saddled with great destruction, an occupying Union army, prohibitive new taxes, and a worthless currency, shunned with bad memories or kept as mementoes of a Lost Cause. Union troops also brought back mementoes including the curious, now seemingly worthless Confederate paper money. In the young field of American numismatics, Confederate paper money collecting took hold immediately, primarily in the wealthier northeast. One of the first sales of Confederate paper money was held by W. Elliot Woodward in New York City on December 10, 1865. A $1000 Montgomery issue Confederate note brought $4.75 and a similar $500 bill yielded $2.50. Only American colonial coins and paper money along with U.S. large and half cents had a significant earlier collecting tradition.
Confederate Currency Series and Types
Seven Series of Confederate notes, consisting of 70 different design/denomination Types, were created over the course of the Civil War. The following link provides information on each of the Series and Type of Confederate currency, including images of several of the notes.
Other Confederate Currency Topics
- Military Issuers
- Southern States Issues
Ways to Collect Confederate Currency
Collecting CSA notes can be a very rewarding endeavor, meeting new friends, providing great learning opportunities as well as potential financial gains. The following article explores numerous ways to approach collecting these pieces of history.
SPMC Paper Money Articles Index (Confederate)
- This Index page has links to all 130+ articles on Confederate Currency that have appeared in the Paper Money Journal since the first issue in 1962.
- This link will download the entire May/June 2002 Paper Money Journal Special Issue dedicated to Confederate & Southern States Currency.
- This link will download the entire Jan/Feb 2005 Paper Money Journal Special Issue dedicated to Civil War/Confederate Currency.
- This link will download the entire Jan/Feb 2008 Paper Money Journal Special Issue dedicated to Civil War/Confederate Currency.
Standard References on Confederate Currency
- Collecting Confederate Paper Money (Field Edition 2014) by Pierre Fricke.
- This is the standard reference guide to Confederate paper money.
- A Guide Book of Southern States Currency History, Rarity and Values by Hugh Shull.
- This is the standard reference to Southern States Currency, notes issued directly by the southern states, seperate from the Confederate paper money issued by the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.
- An active forum for all paper money collectors and all paper money collecting topics.
- This is a link to the Heritage Currency Auction Archives for Confederate Currency.
- The SPMC Paper Money Journal is published bi-monthly and covers all facets of collecting paper money. Online and print options available for membership. SPMC.org