The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 21, Number 35, September 2, 2019, Article 5


Harold Levi submitted this review of Peter Bertram's new supplement to Confederate Numismatica. Thanks! -Editor

Confederate Numismatica Supp1 cover 1 Confederate Numismatica Supp1 cover 2

Confederate Numismatica 2018 Supplement One
A review by Harold Levi

Peter Bertram has done it again! He has collected obscure information and compiled it into an excellent research and reference book. One of the problems with Confederate information is that at or near the end of the War many documents and physical objects were lost, stolen, burned, or otherwise destroyed. An additional problem is that some documents were bound into one-of-a-kind books, which were sold on the collector market and no one was permitted to first study the contents. Over the years, descendants of Confederate and Union soldiers have discovered Confederate items that had been hidden by a soldier and suddenly we have a revelation that changes the history we thought we knew.

B861-125 Bulls Run Medal

The first half of this book describes numerous ribbons, badges, tokens, and medals that Peter has located since publication of his first book. The various pieces are shown in full color, often in great detail. The images are universally clear and are important for identifying differences between similar items and recognizing fakes. There are folks out there who delight in making fake Confederate items in the interest of ill-gotten gains!

B861-431e - 5th Texas Cavalry Hat Badge

Peter shows the known varieties of a Confederate “A United South” token that was found at the Stone's River Battlefield near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. As can be seen on page 13, these tokens are a little rustic. George Corell, in his research of these pieces, found that an engraver and die sinker of some of these so-called Confederate dimes lived and worked in Murfreesboro. Interesting how things can tie together.

B863-402c - Type 2 Case Stonewall Jackson Mr. Bertram told the story of the Stonewall Jackson medals in his first book and now in his Supplement he shows some additional examples and two of the original cases. One shipment of these commemorative pieces arrived in Richmond from Paris France in the Spring of 1865. A second shipment went to Savannah just as the War was ending and they were stored in a warehouse and forgotten about. Some 30 years later, they were discovered by workmen cleaning up after a fire that destroyed the warehouse. The medals that were salvaged were given to the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) and sold for the benefit of disabled Confederate veterans.

The second half of the book delves deeply into the Chemicograph backs for Confederate Treasury notes. If you thought most of what could be said about collecting them has already been written, please think again. Using auction catalogs from 1885 to 2017 and other obscure references, Peter has prepared the first ever catalog of the unused Chemicograph backs for the $500 to $5 Confederate 1864 Treasury notes. He has defined four separate printings (1879-80, 1883-84, 1948-49, and 1957-58) with color illustrations of all 38 known varieties, and listed them both individually and by sets. His two fully illustrated “Quick Reference” pages at the end summarize much of the book’s information and will be an invaluable tool to look up a Chemicograph note up in a hurry!

I was curious why Peter started each and every catalog listing with “B864-“. It seemed redundant to me so I asked him about it. He said

“…to keep all the Chemicograph listings together in the ‘Cumulative Index of Catalog Numbers’ (it starts on page 1). As more material is published I expect the Cumulative Index to be the simplest and quickest way to look up an item. If they wish to, collectors and dealers are free to drop the B864 prefix and just use the C numbers. For example B864-C175 is a First printing Set – but so long as ‘Chemicograph number’ is specified, so is C175.’”

B864-C175 - 1st Print Chemicogaph

Mr. Bertram goes into great detail defining and describing the four printings and a lot of effort is expended making sure the reader understands how to identify the differences between them. In addition to his detailed descriptions, he presents images that perfectly illustrate the various issues he discusses. Collectors and students of the Chemicograph backs should come away with a detailed understanding of the subject.

B864-C275 - 2nd Print - Traditional

As the first ever cataloging effort of a subject about which so little is seemingly known, Peter presents us with a thoroughly researched and well written book. If you are a dealer, collector, or researcher of Confederate numismatic memorabilia, I highly recommend this work. Buy a copy – you’ll be glad you did!

I'll second that motion! -Editor

For more information, or to order, see:

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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