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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 6, February 10, 2008, Article 5

REVIEW: FLORIDA PAPER MONEY: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY 1817–1934 BY RON BENICE

[Steve Whitfield submitted the following review of "Florida
Paper Money: An Illustrated History 1817 – 1934" written by
Ron Benice and edited by Fred Reed.  It is published by
McFarland Publications  (www.mcfarlandpub.com, (800) 253-2187)
-Editor]

Ron Benice has been researching and writing about the results
of his research on Florida Obsolete Notes for many years.
This book is the culmination of those efforts to date.  It
is obviously a labor of love, as are most of these state
catalogs.  Expect Ron to continue looking for new Florida
material and answers to questions about these issues and
issuers.

The book is full of historical information on the reasons
behind the issues, written in an easy to read style.  Anyone
who collects (obsoletes) by state will appreciate this book.
The detailed analysis of note varieties is excellent.  As
we learn more and more about this currency of the past, ever
more detailed studies are then made possible.  Correcting
the errors of past cataloging efforts is also important and
done well in this book.  Anyone who has ever researched this
material knows that assumptions and conclusions must be drawn
since adequate documentation is rare and often conflicting.
The author explains his thinking along the way on putting
the book together and on his research.

The book is well organized.  While Florida has few known
advertising notes, college currency and depression scrip
issues, they are separated from the main body of listings,
as they should be, since those collector categories have
their own reference catalogs.  The early territorial issues
also have a separate section. The notes of banks and merchants,
whether issued during the territorial period or after statehood,
are combined in the main body.  Included is extensive
information about the locations of each issuer and the issuer
himself.  This is the meat of the book; all that historical
information, which will be of interest to history buffs as
well as note collectors.

The book is chock full of clear, black and white illustrations
of most of the notes listed.  My only disappointment was that
some of the dynamite Florida notes were not shown in full
color.  Included are many portraits of the officials who
authorized or signed the notes.  Vignettes are also identified
where possible.  The book is sized at 7 inches by 10 inches,
somewhat smaller than the “sort of” standard catalog size
of 8+1/2 x 11 inches. But this is no problem as the book
will fit easily into any collector’s library.

The book is priced at $49.95 and is well worth the price.
An extensive bibliography is included for further research.
I highly recommend this book.

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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