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Confederate currency. [from the Charlotte observer, June, 1903.]

Valuable information concerning the notes issued.

The best collection.

North Carolina has it, including all rare Specimens—Where and how the printing was Done—Anecdotes and reminiscences.

This State owns a complete collection of Confederate money, which is arranged according to date of issue and framed, and which attracts a great deal of attention, some of the bills being of great beauty and extremely scarce. In fact the first issue of bills has for more than thirty years been held at high figures. A number of counterfeits of Confederate money of the rarer varieties have been made. The first issue has been counterfeited at least twice.

The first issue was engraved by the National Bank Note Company, of New York, and embraces four bills, these being all dated at Montgomery, Ala., which was the first seat of government. The dates are in all cases written with ink and not printed, and all four bills are interest-bearing. The issues are of the value of $50, $100, $500, and $1,000, and the total amount was not very great. The government, upon removal to Richmond, called in these bills and destroyed or cancelled nearly all of them. The $50 may be taken as an example of all. The engraving is extremely handsome. The picture is that of three negroes at work on the farm, two with hoes, another with a basket, the background being a Southern mansion. The bill is payable twelve months after date, and the inscription says: ‘The Confederate States of America will pay to bearer fifty dollars, with interest at half a cent a day.’ The date of this bill is May 11, [146] 1861, and it is signed by Alex. B. Clitheroe, register, and E. C. Elmore, treasurer. The body of the bill is black and green, and the figure fifty is many times repeated in circles and in bands. At the bottom of the bill are the words: ‘National Bank Note Company,’ both to right and left. The back is plain white and on it is this endorsement: ‘Issued July 5, 1861; Thomas K. Jackson, Captain, C. S. A.,’ written in red ink. On the $100 bill is a train of cars; on the $500 a rural scene, and on the $1,000 a picture of the capitol at Montgomery.

The first regular issue of bills was made at Richmond, and began with two bills engraved by the Southern Bank Note Company, of New Orleans. These are almost, if not quite, equal, both in design and execution, to those issued by the National Bank Note Company. The dates in these are not printed, but are written in, and on both the specimens shown the date is August 28, 1861. The $50 bill has in the centre two females, personifying liberty and justice, while the $100 bill has an engine and train of cars in the centre; on the right and left figures emblematic of wisdom and justice. These bills bear the name Richmond in large letters, while on the side is the name of the Southern Bank Note Company, of New Orleans.

Richmond prints.

The other bills of the first issue at Richmond are very plain and are with one exception imitations of English bank notes. This exception is a $5 bill engraved at New Orleans by J. Manuevring, with vere large letters Five across its left end. The date is written with ink in this finely designed bill and is July 25, 1861. There are five bills of the issue of July 25, 1861, in imitation of English bank notes. The $5 has a female seated on bales, a sort of shield in front, bearing the figure 5, while an eagle standing with wings outspread, is to her left. The $10 has an emblematic picture of the Confederacy, represented by a female leaning on a shield which bears the first Confederate flag. She is pointing with the right hand, seemingly directing the attention of an eagle which is at her left side. At the lower left corner is Commerce, seated on bales. The $20 bears a full-rigged ship. The $50 has a medallion portrait of Washington; in the lower left hand corner being a female in whose left hand is a spear, and in whose right hand is a globe, upon which stands a dove. The $100 bill bears a picture of Ceres and Pomona, flying through the air, carrying fruits, etc., in their hands, while in the lower left [147] corner is a portrait of Washington. These $5 bills were all engraved by Hoyer & Ludwig, of Richmond, and are very unattractive, all being in black and white on poor paper with backs plain.

A big issue.

The next issue of bills is a very large one, in fact by far the largest the Confederacy ever made of one date. All are dated September 2, 1861. There are no less than 27 bills, and some of these are extremely rare and of high value; in fact, worth more than their face value. It seems that these bills were let by contract to engravers at several places, and that some were engraved by the government itself at Richmond, since no engraver's name appears in several cases. There are no less than seven $5 bills, nine $10, five $20, and three $50. There is a wide variety in these, and the different engravers seem to have been given full liberty as to designs. The $2 has in the center a picture of the Confederacy, represented by a female striking down Columbia and her eagle, the design being very plain. The engraver was J. T. Paterson, of Columbia. The $5 bills are as follows: $5, female seated in center, with a caduceous in her hand, and in the background a train of cars and vessel, to the lower left a gayly dressed sailor leaning on a capstan; engraver, J. T. Paterson. $5, portrait of Secretary Memminger in center, with figure of Minerva on right, no engraver's name. $5, the same bill as the one preceding, but printed in green instead of black; no engraver's name. $5, sailor in center, seated by cotton bales, portrait of Memmniger in one corner, and in other two females, one holding the scales of justice, while the other holds the figure 5; engraved by B. Duncan, of Columbia. $5, has the word five and ‘V’ in bright red, with a picture of a machinist with sledge hammer on shoulder, seated in the center, and with a picture of a very pretty girl on the left; engraved by Leggett, Keatinge & Ball, Richmond. $5, several negroes loading cotton on a river bank, while an Indian princess looks at the scene from a bluff; engraved by Hoyer & Ludwig, Richmond. $5. five females, seated in center, with the figure 5 in their midst; the statue of Chief-Justice Marshall on the right, and that of liberty on the left; a beautiful bill; engraved by the Southern Bank Note Company, of New Orleans.

Ten Dollar bills.

The issue of the $10 bills are as follows: $10, female in center, leaning on shield, bearing a Confederate flag of the first design (this [148] is almost exactly like a part of the $10 bill of the issue of July 25, 1861); engraved by Hoyer & Ludwig. $10, woman in center, leaning on an anchor, with portrait of Memminger on left; engraved by Keatinge & Ball, Columbia. $10, portrait of Tombs in one corner, and an infant in the other, nearly all in red, with the figure 10 many times repeated; engraved by J. P. Paterson. $10, in center, two females, with an urn between them, design very plain and unattractive; engraved by Paterson. $10, two negroes driving a load of cotton, while another, walking, carries two baskets of cotton, in one corner a picture of Tombs, and in another a youth with an armful of cornstalks; engraved by Leggett, Keatinge & Ball, Richmond. $10, group of Indians, seated; on right and left sides agriculture and commerce, typified by females; engraved by Southern Bank Note Company, and an extremely handsome bill. $100, portrait of R. M. T. Hunter, with figure 10 and ‘X’ in bright red. $10, in center a picture of General Francis Marion, entertaining the British officer at the famous sweet potato dinner at the former's camp; no engraver's name appears. $10, negroes picking cotton, the engraving being so rude that the cotton looks like a mass of knobs on a stump; engraved by B. Duncan.

Twenty Dollar bills.

The following are the designs of the $20 bills: $20, commerce seated in the center; in one corner Minerva with her spear and shield bearing the Gorgon's head, and in the other corner a blacksmith; no engraver's name appearing; but the bill is marked by three red $20's. $20, a full-rigged ship in the center and a sailor in the corner, very plain and poor design; no engraver's name appearing, but the bill is marked by three red 20's. $20, a full-rigged ship in the center and a sailor in the corner; very plain and poor design; no engraver's name. $20, three females representing agriculture, commerce and manufacturers in center, with liberty, bearing a spear and cap, and also wearing a cap standing on left; no engraver's name. $20, head of Alexander Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederacy, against a background of various products, the bill being nearly all in green and handsome; engraved by Keatinge & Ball, Columbia. $20, female seated back of the figure 20, and between a bee-hive and an impossible looking infant, the woman carrying in one hand roses, and in the other a caduceus; to the left a very bad picture of Alexander Stephens, and on the right a delightfully absurd female, [149] leaning on an anchor and standing under a palmetto tree, the leaves of which seem to be tangled in her hair; engraved by B. Duncan, Richmond.


The following are the $50 bills: $50, portrait of President Jefferson Davis, the groundwork nearly all green, with the figures 50 repeated scores of times (this bill was receivable for all dues except export dues, and was also fundable in eight per cent. bonds); engraved by Archer & Halpin, Richmond. $50, locomotive and train, on one side a figure of justice and on the other a female in whose hands are fruits, and who leans upon an anchor; no engraver's name. $50, Commerce seated on a chest with a river in the background, and two sailors in the corner; engraved by Hoyer & Ludwig. The $100 is very inferior in design and engraving, and has in the center negroes loading cotton, while an overseer looks on; a sailor in the corner; engraved by Hoyer & Ludwig.

Two interest-bearing bills (interest two per cent. a day) were issued early in 1862. The dates are written in ink, in one case being July 8th, 1862, and on the other October 29th, although the issue was made in April. One of these has a train of cars with the sea and a steamer in the background, and in the lower left corner a dashing looking milkmaid, with pail upon her head; engraved by J. T. Paterson. The other bill has a picture of negroes hoeing in a field, a portrait of Henry Clay to the left, and the figure of Ceres on the right; engraved by Keatinge & Ball.

June 2d, 1862, the first issue of small bills was made. The $1 has an old-fashioned side-wheel steamer, and in the lower right corner a picture of the wife of Governor Pickens, of South Carolina, in the dress of the period, in the lower left corner a most absurd female with feet partly crossed, who appears as if about to take a dancing step, and who carries a streamer in one hand, while the other hand rests upon a shield; engraved by B. Duncan. This same bill also appears with a large figure and the word ‘one’ very boldly printed in green. The $2 has in the center a picture of the Confederacy striking Columbia (that is the United States) and her eagle, this picture being a reproduction of that of the $2 bill issued September 2, 1861. In one corner is a picture of Judah P. Benjamin. This bill was engraved by Paterson, who also turned out the same with a large figure 2 and the word two in green. It is not known whether this green printing on the $1 and $2 bills was done to prevent their being raised to a higher value or to make them more distinctive.


Female and cotton bale.

September 2, 1862, one bill was issued, this being $10 with a female in the center, seated on a cotton bale, and in one corner a portrait of R. M. T. Hunter. There is no engraver's name.

What may be called the first complete series of bills bears date December 2, 1862. There are seven bills, beginning with $t and ending with $100. The $1, $2, $5 and $10 are all on rose-colored paper, and the backs of the $5 and $10 are covered with ‘V’ and ‘X.’ The $has a picture of Cassius C. Clay, and is engraved by B. Duncan. The $2 has a large figure 2 in the center, and was engraved by Keatinge and Ball. The $5 has the Capitol at Richmond, and was engraved by Evans & Cogswell, of Charleston. The $10 has the Capitol of Montgomery; engraved by B. Duncan. The $20 has the Capitol of Nashville, and was engraved by Keatinge and Ball. The $50 has the head of President Jefferson Davis; engraved by Keatinge & Ball. The $100 bears the head of Mrs. Davis; engraved by Keatinge & Ball. The $50 and $100 bills are said to have been engraved by De La Rue, of London, and the plates sent over.

The next issue is dated April 6, 1863, and consists of bills, the 50 cents appearing for the first time. This is on rose-colored paper and bears a medallion portrait of Jefferson Davis; engraved by Archer & Daly, of Richmond. The other bills are from the same dies as those of December 2, 1862, these being $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. The bills are not nearly so handsome as those of December 2, 1862, except in the case of the $50 and $100. The $50 and $100, both of the issue of December 2, 1862, and April 6, 1863, have green backs, and really look quite like national currency.

Last issue.

The last issue bears date February 17, 1864. The designs on the bills are the same as those of the issue of April 6, 1863. These bills are all of a red or pink tint, and are more boldly printed than the preceding issue. It is said that most of the plates were made in England and sent over. There was an enormous issue of these bills. The 50 cents was engraved by Archer & Halpin, of Richmond, the $1 by Evans & Cogswell, the $2 by Keatinge & Ball, the $5 by Evans & Cogswell, who also engraved the $10, while Keatinge & Ball appear as the engravers of the $20, $50, $100 and $500. The [151] last-named bill made its first appearance. It is a very handsome one; in fact one of the handsomest of all issues. On the left is the great seal of the Confederacy, which was a statue of Washington, being the one in the Capitol Square at Richmond, this being encircled by a belt bearing the words: ‘Deo Vindice,’ while below are various implements of war; to the right a very artistic portrait of Stonewall Jackson, with his name below. This plate was engraved in England. The backs of these bills are in bright blue, with engine turned designs and large letters and figures of value.

It is noticeable that while the first issue of bills at Montgomery gives simply a promise to pay within twelve months after date, the second and the third issues are payable six months after the ratification of a treaty of peace with the United States, while the two last issues are made payable two years after the ratification of such a treaty. [From the New Orleans Picayune, July 12-19, 190.]\

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