The E-Sylum:  Volume 6, Number 11, March 16, 2003, Article 2


  On Thursday, March 13th, John and Nancy Wilson Ocala, FL
  wrote: "We have just received some very sad news.  Dr.
  Douglas Ball, who was employed by R. M. Smythe & Co., Inc.
  passed away today.  Very few numismatists were as
  knowledgeable as Douglas in the area of Confederate States
  of America, Virginia paper money, and many other areas of our
  hobby. He could talk for hours on many different numismatic
  subjects.  His lectures were always in-depth and done in a way
  that made them very interesting.

  We are deeply saddened by this tremendous loss in our
  numismatic hobby. We want to wish his family our deepest
  condolences.  Douglas, you will live in our memories forever."

  Dave Bowers writes: "No doubt you've received the news of
  the unfortunate passing of Douglas Ball, a true gentleman, a
  credit to the highest standards of numismatic professionalism,
  and a person who will be missed by all.

  The hobby of numismatics can be grateful that although
  Douglas was in the commercial sector through connections
  with NASCA and  R.M. Smythe, and helped turn out some
  marvelous catalogues for them, he generously shared his
  talents and research expertise in many arcane pursuits and
  byways that have been scarcely explored in depth by others,
  especially with regard to federal and Confederate paper money
  and its connection to the economics and finances of those

  By the time of his PhD dissertation in 1974, Confederate War
  Finance 1861-1865: Economic Policy Making in the South
  During the American Civil War, he had already taken home
  two Heath Literary Awards given by the ANA.

  In 1991, when his Financial Failure and Confederate Defeat
  was about to be published by the University of Illinois Press,
  I received a call from Doug asking if I would write a "blurb"
  for the book, which I gladly did.  My reference library is still
  largely packed away in boxes, and thus I don't have my copy
  at hand as I write this and am not sure whether my comment
  was used in the book or in some of the publicity for it.

  On my "to do list" is (now was), asking Doug what he could
  tell me about the infamous "Floyd acceptances," by which
  certain banks in the North were stricken in the Civil War when
  John B. Floyd, former Secretary of War for the U.S.
  government, placed paper with these financial institutions,
  then along with many other government officials, decamped
  to the Confederacy in 1861, leaving his creditors hanging
  (Floyd was later memorialized on the famous "traitors medal"
  by George H. Lovett). My question was this, which he
  cannot now answer: 'What do you know about the Floyd
  acceptances, and why were they considered to be personal
  notes from him?  How was he able to connect to multiple
  state-chartered banks and place these acceptances?" Claims
  were pressed to the U.S. Congress, then transferred to the
  Court of Claims for adjudication, but I would like to learn
  the intricacies and details.

  I last saw Douglas Ball a few months ago when I was with
  Bowers and Merena Galleries and was on the podium during
  an auction session of paper money. He was seated in the
  front row at my right, quietly studying his catalogue and
  bidding, presumably for some clients. As I was sometimes
  inclined to do, I singled out for mention a few professional
  luminaries in the audience, and mentioned some of Doug's
  accomplishments, as I had done a few times before when
  he honored our sales with his presence.

  I shall always remember with great fondness this kind, modest,
  and truly wonderful man and numismatist."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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