On July 2, 2019 the Encyclopedia Of Arkansas Minute public radio program discussed numismatist Matt Rothert. -Editor
A Camden furniture merchant was responsible for a phrase we see every time we open our wallets. Matt Rothert, Sr., was born in Indiana in 1904 and
moved to Camden twenty years later. He founded the Camden Furniture Company, serving as its president until he retired in 1975. But his true love was
coin collecting, a passion he developed when he found his father's old coins.
Rothert was active in the American Numismatic Association, serving as its president from 1965 to 1967. He wrote three books, including the
award-winning Arkansas Obsolete Notes and Scrip. But it was at church one day in 1953 that he first noted that only coins were marked with "In
God We Trust," leading him on a personal crusade to see the phrase added to paper currency. Rothert gave speeches and wrote letters in support of his
plan, leading Congress to pass legislation that President Dwight Eisenhower signed into law on July 11, 1955.
In addition to his Arkansas book and work to promote the "In God We Trust" slogan, in 1963 Rothert published a Whitman
"Black Book" titled A Guide Book of United States Fractional Currency: An Illustrated History and Catalog Listing with Valuations for
all Issues of Postage and Fractional Currency of the United States, 1862-1876. I came across this booklet early in my numismatic career, and
I've been grateful ever since.
If memory serves I found the diminutive booklet at a local library while seeking information about an odd piece of paper money I acquired after my
grandfather passed away. I learned from the book that it was a 25 cent Fifth Issue Fractional Currency note from 1874 depicting Secretary of the
Treasury Robert Walker. I had no idea that the U.S. had printed money worth less than a dollar, and I was even more fascinated to learn from the
short introduction about the Civil War specie panic and the myriad money substitutes that came into use. I didn't know it yet, but I was hooked
and became a collector of U.S Civil War money that day, eventually specializing in U.S. Encased Postage stamps. Thanks, Mr. Rothert! -Editor
My first Fractional Currency note
To read the complete article, see:
Encyclopedia Of Arkansas Minute: Matt Rothert Sr.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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