The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 16, Number 35, August 25, 2013, Article 4


Fred Reed forwarded this press release for his latest book, Civil War Stamp Envelopes, the Issuers and Their Times . -Editor

CWSE Cover BNR Press announces the mid-October release of Fred Reed’s latest book, Civil War Stamp Envelopes, the Issuers and Their Times, 672 pages, 8.5 x 11inches, approx. 1,500 illustrations, $59.95 softcover or $79.95 hardcover (not Smyth-sewn), postage, handling and insurance per book $10.

Noted Civil War student and author Fred Reed’s latest opus on the turbulent monetary period of the U.S. Civil War era, Civil War Stamp Envelopes, the Issuers and Their Times, is available for purchase right now, according to a spokesman for the publisher, BNR Press, Portage, Ohio.

Mr. Reed is well known in the hobby for his intensive research and writings and the new book is his second in a projected seven volume look at mid-19th century money in a series that began 19 years ago with the similarly titled companion volume, Civil War Encased Stamps, the Issuers and Their Times. That book, also published by BNR Press, earned several major hobby and publishing awards, and finished high on the Numismatic Bibliomania Society’s survey of the “most important” numismatic books of all time.

Reed calls the new book Part III of his “A Numismatist’s Perspective of the Civil War” series. His encased stamp book was published as Part II. Part I will look at the federal and private Postage Currency. Part IV looks at Civil War era counterfeiting. These last two subjects have been special interests of the author for many years, and have been addressed repeatedly by Reed in the various numismatic periodicals.

“Readers familiar with the earlier book will feel at home this time around too,” Reed notes. “My book covers the same fertile ground, the Civil War small change shortage of 1862-1863 that gave rise to the encased stamps that I wrote about years ago, the Postage Currency that I have addressed repeatedly in my Bank Note Reporter columns, and now these Civil War postage stamp envelopes that I catalog, illustrate and provide history, rarity, and prices for in the new book,” he added.

The book is subtitled “A History, Merchant Chronicle, Catalog, [and] Auction Summary, of the Postage Stamp Envelope Emergency Money of 1862.” The author provides amply-illustrated chapters, essays that he labels “merchant chronicles,” on each of the 128 known issuers of this emergency scrip. The catalog numbers employed in the new book are the same ones collectors have already become familiar with in the last two editions of the Friedberg’s Paper Money of the United States for which author Reed provided a catalog extract from the present work that was published in the 19th and 20th editions of PMUS.

Reed’s new opus catalogs 514 different varieties of the small envelopes that were printed to contain and preserve U.S. postage stamps in circulation as small change in summer and fall 1862. Almost all varieties are illustrated, and extensive census and provenance data given, along with auction prices realized for these scarce monetary instruments over the last century of their active collecting.

“Collectors and dealers too will finally know which of these pieces are actually the rarest and potentially the most valuable instead of guessing or having to rely on the uninformed opinions of others,” Reed jested. “For the last 40 years this marketplace has been a crap shoot, a roller coaster ride up to and over the five-figure price level with no seatbelts. My book will level the playing field among those who have access to its wealth of information. Then dealers and collectors alike can make informed, intelligent purchase and sales decisions,” he said.

The author credits more than 200 individuals and institutions for their assistance, and several of the prominent auction companies in this field that have unselfishly provided him illustrations and information. He also thanks Central States Numismatic Society and the Society of Paper Money Collectors who provided funding for his research over the past six years. A journalist for more than 40 years, Reed also develops the narrative history of the collecting and cataloging of this series that spans numismatics, philately, and paper money collecting.

Reed has also had unprecedented access to all the great collections of the last two generations, and learned a great deal of “inside scoop” that is faithfully reported here for the first time ever. “I’m proud to say that the ‘fore-matter’ of the book includes essays by Chet Krause and Art Paradis, the two individuals who have formed the largest known collections of this series ever put together.”

“Postage and Fractional currency collectors especially should be interested in this forerunner stamp money,” author Reed suggests. Knowing why, how and when these emergency instruments were used in the marketplace can bring the fractional note collectors additional insights and pleasure with their own collections whether or not they choose to embark on this until now poorly delimited and quantified series,” he added.

Books are expected to ship in mid-October. Orders may be sent to the author Fred Reed at Department E, PO Box 118162, Carrollton, TX 75011-8162. Please include correct postage ($10/book including insurance), Reed noted, and whether you want the volume(s) autographed. Information on bulk orders and pre-publication discounts may be obtained from the author at or through his website and mention you heard about the book in The E-Sylum.

Wow. There's been a sore need for such a reference for years. Congratulations and thanks are due Fred for his painstaking work. I've been fascinated with these coinage substitutes since I first read H. R. Drowne's American Journal of Numismatics article on them (but not when it first came out in the 1920s...). I collected a few of these, which I later sold with my Civil War collections via American Numismatic Rarities. I'm looking forward to seeing the book.

Kudos are also due the Central States Numismatic Society and the Society of Paper Money Collectors for providing funding for Fred's research. Great books don't happen by accident - lots of time, effort, and money are required to make them a reality. Buyers are getting a bargain. -Editor

Wayne Homren, Editor

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