The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 15, Number 39, September 16, 2012, Article 7


John and Nancy Wilson submitted this review of Pierre Fricke's book on Confederate Currency. Thanks! -Editor

Confederate Currency Confederate Currency, By: Pierre Fricke, 2012, Shire Publications Ltd, Midland House, West Way, Botley, Oxford OX2 OPH, United Kingdom, Reviewed by: John and Nancy Wilson NLG

Confederate Currency, by Pierre Fricke was released in the summer of 2012. It is a small soft cover 56 page book. This book follows closely on the heels of the History of Collecting Confederate States of America Paper Money, Volume 1 by this same author and Fred Reed. The book covers, in an easy to read manner, the Seven Series of the Confederate States of America money, along with their financial history, and how the money fit into the Civil War and events of the time.

The First Chapter. “Financing A New Nation.” From the formation of the Confederacy in February, 1861, the book gives you a basic knowledge of the measures taken to establish a treasury and issue money for the CSA. After the War, Confederate notes began to appear appeared in auction in the mid-1860s and 1870s. Montgomery and other rare notes gained fame and value and a new hobby was born.

The First Series 1861. After Lincoln was elected and said his intention was to use force to protect federal property in the south, the CSA quickly moved to create paper money by passing an Act on March 9, 1861. The chapter tells you where the notes were printed and quantity. A timeline of important events such as on May 20-21 Kentucky and Missouri declared their neutrality follows.

The Second Series 1861. The first issue contained $1 million in notes. Unlike the first issue which bore interest, this issue would bear no interest and was payable two years after the date of a treaty. The contract with the Southern Bank Note Co. for printing the 20 million of Treasury notes and 10 million Coupon Bonds is covered, and why the bonds are so rare today. The lithographer, Hoyer & Ludwig (Richmond, VA.), was granted a contract to print the July 25, 1861 issues from $5 to $100 which were quickly counterfeited by Sam Upham (because of the low quality of paper and printing). A Timeline of events follows.

Printing Confederate Paper Money. All of the companies which printed CSA paper money as well as the printing techniques and plate layouts are explained.

The Third Series 1861 - 62. The Third Series has the largest and broadest array of varieties and paper types. Some illustrations along with a timeline of the period are included.

Counterfeit Confederate Paper Money. The chapter explains that counterfeit notes that were created during the Civil War are known as contemporary issues. Fake notes made after the war are called facsimiles or nineteenth-century or modern copies, depending on vintage.

The $100 7.3 Percent Interest-Bearing Notes of 1862 - 63. These notes were used by the government and military to buy supplies, etc. They were poorly printed and quickly counterfeited. The Act in April, 1862 authorized $170 million in notes and another Act in September, 1862 authorized $5 million of lower denomination $1 and $2 notes.

The Fifth Series 1862. Though the Act of October, 1862 authorized $90 million in notes, more than $138 million were issued. Pink paper was used in the smaller denominated notes to deter counterfeiting. White paper was used on the higher valued notes.

The Tran-Mississippi. It is a strategic area for the Confederacy, and the Union was able to cut off access to the area west of the Mississippi to the Confederacy. The lack of sufficient Confederate money to pay troops and suppliers played a key role in the losses in this theatre.

The Sixth Series 1863. An Act in March, 1863 authorized $50 million per month of paper money bearing no interest in denominations from $5 to $100, and $15 million more was authorized in denominations of $2, $1 and .50 for a total of $518 million.

The Seventh Series 1864 - 65. Denominations from .50 to $500 were authorized by an Act in February, 1864, and $200 million were issued. Inflation raged through this period.

Further Reading and the Index close out the book.

We highly recommend this 56 page book which covers the Confederate States of America seven different series of currency. Counterfeiting, depreciation and inflation of the issues is covered in a clear and concise manner. From being worthless at the end of the Civil War CSA notes started a steady price rise by the middle 1870s.

Quoting the press release for the reference, “Neither a price guide nor a catalog per se (see Collecting Confederate Paper Money by Pierre Fricke), Confederate Currency explains the origins of the various notes issued by the South, putting the money into historical context. Fricke also briefly discusses the dissolution of the Union and examines the collectability of Confederate Currency.”

Amazingly all the information you would ever want to know about these fascinating CSA issues will be found within a 56 pages. We recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the monetary history of the South, along with any collector, dealer or investor in paper money.

The book sells for $12.95 ppd and is available from the author at: Pierre Fricke, P. O. Box 1094, Sudbury, MA 01776. More information will be found at this web page: .

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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