Ron Benice submitted this review of the new book, Kansas Paper Money: An Illustrated History, 1854-1935 by Steve Whitfield, edited by Fred Reed. -Editor This attractive new book is as much a history book as it is a paper money catalog. Nominally it is a revision of Steve Whitfield’s 1980 Kansas catalog published by the Society of Paper Money Collectors, but in reality it is a completely new book.
The book opens with a history of banking in Kansas in the context of the financial history of the United States. The next chapter is devoted to the 1854-1861 territorial period. Every known issue – real or fraudulent -- is illustrated.
Accompanying the notes are well researched histories of the issuers illustrated with photos of the signers and towns plus advertisements and broadsides. A brief chapter follows covering the two territorial banks that issued notes as state banks in early 1861.
The history and paper money of the Civil War period is covered in even greater depth. Several rarely seen unique scrip notes are illustrated. The history and currency of Clark Gruber & Co., better known for their pioneer gold issues, are covered in detail. The illustrations of people and businesses are supplemented by ephemera such as checks.
The Post Civil War chapter includes municipal scrip and Union military scrip, including essays and reprints. A catch-all chapter follows with miscellaneous scrip: currency look-alikes, advertising notes, college currency, depression scrip, postal notes and cardboard tokens. A bonus in one of the appendices gives the serial numbers of the known scarce notes in the author’s census.
The historical arrangement of the book works well in explaining the paper money but precludes a single alphabetical arrangement by town and issuer.
The wealth of historical and numismatic information makes this book a must for anyone interested in paper money, even if they don’t collect Kansas notes, and a must for anyone interested in Kansas, even if they don’t collect paper money.
The book, with 268 pages and 393 illustrations, is priced at $49.95 and can be ordered from McFarland, the publisher, at www.mcfarlandpub.com or 1-800-253-2187.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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