The Times Free Press of Chattanooga, TN published a nice article about a CD Book on local obsolete paper money by Dennis Schafluetzel. Here are some excerpts.
It may look like oversized Monopoly money with "Chattanooga" printed on it, but the bills are the real thing, and they're almost 150 years old.
What's more, "Chattanooga" money was quite common in its time.
"The only paper money in the United States (at that time) was issued by maybe 10,000 banks that put out their own individual money," said Dennis Schafluetzel, a Chattanooga coin collector who has researched local money.
In researching the bank notes, Mr. Schafluetzel and his researching and writing partner, Chattanooga coin collector Tom Carson, have published an e-book on CD, showing all the known varieties of Chattanooga money. In the process, the two have become known as the country's recognized experts on Chattanooga and Tennessee money.
Jim Ogden, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park historian, said the little-known money -- and similar currencies from banks and organizations in Northwest Georgia -- helps reflect how complex the era was.
"We have a tendency to simplify the time and romanticize it," he said. "But if you were on the street with a fistful of this currency (from one bank or another) you might think you had $25, but maybe you didn't."
Just before the Civil War, the country was in recession, Mr. Ogden said, but the Chattanooga area, growing fast because of the railroads, had new banks and businesses springing up.
The most common North Georgia currencies came from Western Atlanta Railroad, which was owned by the state of Georgia and had its northern terminus in Chattanooga, he said. There also were a number of currencies from banks in Rome, then the largest and fastest-growing city in the region.
"There's a lot still to learn," Mr. Ogden said of the Chattanooga, Tennessee and North Georgia currencies. "For some of these currencies, we don't know a lot about the organizations that issued them or the people behind them."
Ken Rentzsch, of Hixson, is a member of the Chattanooga Civil War Roundtable, a club where Mr. Carson and Mr. Schafluetzel recently made a presentation about the currency and their collection. He said he was fascinated to learn about the "Chattanooga" money.
"It's just amazing," he said. "I had no idea that this happened here."
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