Discussion Confederate Money

tripped

Private
Joined
Jun 17, 2013
I would suspect that as southern banks took in greenbacks, the confederate gov used them to purchase goods overseas. The banks were given confederate currency in exchange.
 

Polloco

Captain
Joined
Sep 15, 2018
Location
South Texas
I don't really know who or how the decision was made as to who's image or what design was placed on which bills. But at the first half of the war a whole lot of "Allegorical" vignettes were placed on differant notes . One that comes to mind is the $2.00 bill with 2 figures, one with a sword, in what looks like mortal combat. It's said to represent the South striking down the North. In reality it's an image of Hercules liberating Prometheus. Some of the other muses that were used were Tellus, Ceres, Prosperine,Commerce, Navigation, Moneta, Agriculture,Justice, Liberty, Industry, Minerva, Thetis, Cupid, and Hope. If I missed any for that I'm sorry, there were many. The people of the South must have known their mythology or muses (or whatever category these figures represent) to me they look alike.
 

Rhea Cole

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Murfreesboro merchant John Spence in A Diary of the Civil War described the money General Bragg's men used at his store on the square.
view of the square .jpeg

Wartime photo of the south-side of the square, Murfreesboro TN. Albert Gore Research Center, Middle Tennessee State University

November 1st, 1862, 'Confederate Soldiers Make Their Appearance', John Spence A Diary of the Civil War pages 54-56.

[Bragg's army retreated from Perryville KY & returned to Murfreesboro TN in November 1862.]

"By November 1, 1862, the Confederate soldiers are making their appearance in small forces from different points. A regiment or two, said to be from North Carolina, have the appearance of being healthy, stout men."

"Things was moving on in a quiet & easy manner, considering the war times. No-one is molested in doing business of any sort."

"The soldiers, when they made purchase of any article, were disposed to pay & were liberal in doing so. They have quite a variety of money amongst them. Very little of it was of much value but appeared to answer the purpose with them. Some of the money had not such better look than a picture out of a newspaper, & then all kind of promises to pay some way."

John Spence
 

Polloco

Captain
Joined
Sep 15, 2018
Location
South Texas
..."Some of the money had not such better look than a picture out of a newspaper,& then all kinds of promises to pay some way"..

That's kind of how I felt when I first recieved some of my Confederate Money. Some of the bills were quite ornate and larger than current US bills. But some were small drab and plain looking things , kind of like they really were cut from a newspaper. Drab printing on drab paper with drab colored ink and plain unprinted backs. I wasn't sure they were even real. And that promise to pay! Some of the earlier ones stated the Confederate States would pay two years after a treaty of peace was reached. Later bills contained the promise to pay but it was reduced to six months. I'm guessing the promise to pay was shortened when things were looking up and the Confederacy was winning battles.
 

Polloco

Captain
Joined
Sep 15, 2018
Location
South Texas
One of the leading engravers and printers of Confederate Money was the firm of Keatinge & Ball. This firm was actually paid in gold for their work.Edward Kestinge was one of those British engravers smuggled in. Initially the firm was a partnership of Leggett, Keatinge & Ball but Leggett was fired from the firm. He was seen in 1862 in the company of a Spy. Secretary of Treasury Memminger informed the firm that the Confederate Government would suspend their contract unless Leggett was removed from the firm. The order was complied with and the firm was thereafter know as Keatinge & Ball.
 

LetUsHavePeace

Volunteer
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
In 1860, as in 2019, almost all daily commerce was done through credit, not legal tender. People exchanged bank notes and checks. Coin was used to pay import tariffs and excise taxes, as they had been since the Federal government was formed. Coin was the only legal tender; the U.S. government did not accept bank notes or checks in payment, as it had when the Second Bank of the United States was the central bank. But coin was not generally needed in the private domestic economy; clearing of checks and bank notes was done through local clearing houses. When the European Banking Panic of 1857 hit, there was no repetition in the United States of the state bank failures that had torn through the country after 1837 and created the first Great Depression in American history. What had changed was the Federal government's finances. The financial pain from 1857 had been felt in the place that directly depended most directly on the import trade - New York. Tariff collections fell dramatically, and Federal government went from a surplus of $1,170,000 for the year ending June 30, 1857 to a deficit of $27,530,000 for FY 1858. Revenue declined from $68,965,000 to $46,655,000. By 1859 the U.S. economy had resumed growing; but the Federal government's tax collections had not. In 1861, thanks, in part, to the loss of customs revenue from the Southern ports, the Treasury collected only $41,510,000. That was only the beginning. In the first full fiscal year of the war - July 1, 1861 to June 30, 1862, the Treasury would spend $474,762,000; tax receipts would be $51,987,000. Federal debt would increase from $90,582,000 to $524,178,000.

Congress attempted to fund this exponential increase in IOUs by issuing Greenbacks and making them legal tender. It was an outright disaster. People continued to accept the notes of local banks, which they knew and which were backed by deposit insurance. They had no similar confidence in the promises of what had been a distant minor bureaucracy known principally for its obnoxious whiskey taxes.


The solution was to use Congress' only unlimited authority under Article I, Section 8 - its power to tax - to create a market for Treasury debt. Banks under state charters would have all issues of bank notes taxed at 10%; banks chartered under the National Banking Acts were free to issue notes without tax. Their only obligation was to hold U.S. Treasury debt as security for their bank note issues. It was a wonderfully clever fix to what had seemed an impossible problem. The Treasury would sell bonds to the National Banks who would then issue bank notes to their borrowers who were farmers, manufacturers, railroads, freight companies and others who held Federal purchase orders for the supplies and services needed for the war.

By FY 1866 Treasury debt had grown to $2,755,764, yet the Federal budget had returned to surplus for the first time since 1857. Tax collections from the income tax and the boom in imports had grown to $558,033,000. British and Dutch banks and their American correspondents had realized that the rewards from helping their customers sell steam boilers to the Federals were well worth the risk, especially when there was an active Gold Room in New York where bank notes and Greenbacks could be traded against gold bullion. Hamilton's dream had finally come true; the U.S. Federal debt had grown large enough to become the assets that people bought with their savings and banks and insurance companies owned as reserves.

Could the Confederacy have pulled off a similar miraculous transformation of its finances? Possibly. But it would have had to begin by seeing that its only chance was to use cotton to buy European credit and recognition. Had the Confederate States of America embarked on emergency wartime production of cotton for export from day one, it would have achieved a boom in revenues that would have equalled the North's explosion in borrowing. If, in turn, the Confederacy had allowed the Banks of England, France and the Netherlands to retain the money owed in payment (rather than shipping the gold coin across the Atlantic), the financial systems of those European countries would have been irrevocably tied to the independence of the new Confederate nation. There would have been no possibility of a Union blockade and the Federal Navy's capture of New Orleans - the single most important financial event for the South - would not have occurred.
 

Polloco

Captain
Joined
Sep 15, 2018
Location
South Texas
In 1860, as in 2019, almost all daily commerce was done through credit, not legal tender. People exchanged bank notes and checks. Coin was used to pay import tariffs and excise taxes, as they had been since the Federal government was formed. Coin was the only legal tender; the U.S. government did not accept bank notes or checks in payment, as it had when the Second Bank of the United States was the central bank. But coin was not generally needed in the private domestic economy; clearing of checks and bank notes was done through local clearing houses. When the European Banking Panic of 1857 hit, there was no repetition in the United States of the state bank failures that had torn through the country after 1837 and created the first Great Depression in American history. What had changed was the Federal government's finances. The financial pain from 1857 had been felt in the place that directly depended most directly on the import trade - New York. Tariff collections fell dramatically, and Federal government went from a surplus of $1,170,000 for the year ending June 30, 1857 to a deficit of $27,530,000 for FY 1858. Revenue declined from $68,965,000 to $46,655,000. By 1859 the U.S. economy had resumed growing; but the Federal government's tax collections had not. In 1861, thanks, in part, to the loss of customs revenue from the Southern ports, the Treasury collected only $41,510,000. That was only the beginning. In the first full fiscal year of the war - July 1, 1861 to June 30, 1862, the Treasury would spend $474,762,000; tax receipts would be $51,987,000. Federal debt would increase from $90,582,000 to $524,178,000.

Congress attempted to fund this exponential increase in IOUs by issuing Greenbacks and making them legal tender. It was an outright disaster. People continued to accept the notes of local banks, which they knew and which were backed by deposit insurance. They had no similar confidence in the promises of what had been a distant minor bureaucracy known principally for its obnoxious whiskey taxes.


The solution was to use Congress' only unlimited authority under Article I, Section 8 - its power to tax - to create a market for Treasury debt. Banks under state charters would have all issues of bank notes taxed at 10%; banks chartered under the National Banking Acts were free to issue notes without tax. Their only obligation was to hold U.S. Treasury debt as security for their bank note issues. It was a wonderfully clever fix to what had seemed an impossible problem. The Treasury would sell bonds to the National Banks who would then issue bank notes to their borrowers who were farmers, manufacturers, railroads, freight companies and others who held Federal purchase orders for the supplies and services needed for the war.

By FY 1866 Treasury debt had grown to $2,755,764, yet the Federal budget had returned to surplus for the first time since 1857. Tax collections from the income tax and the boom in imports had grown to $558,033,000. British and Dutch banks and their American correspondents had realized that the rewards from helping their customers sell steam boilers to the Federals were well worth the risk, especially when there was an active Gold Room in New York where bank notes and Greenbacks could be traded against gold bullion. Hamilton's dream had finally come true; the U.S. Federal debt had grown large enough to become the assets that people bought with their savings and banks and insurance companies owned as reserves.

Could the Confederacy have pulled off a similar miraculous transformation of its finances? Possibly. But it would have had to begin by seeing that its only chance was to use cotton to buy European credit and recognition. Had the Confederate States of America embarked on emergency wartime production of cotton for export from day one, it would have achieved a boom in revenues that would have equalled the North's explosion in borrowing. If, in turn, the Confederacy had allowed the Banks of England, France and the Netherlands to retain the money owed in payment (rather than shipping the gold coin across the Atlantic), the financial systems of those European countries would have been irrevocably tied to the independence of the new Confederate nation. There would have been no possibility of a Union blockade and the Federal Navy's capture of New Orleans - the single most important financial event for the South - would not have occurred.
I tend to agree that withholding cotton from European markets was a huge mistake. Had cotton been rushed to Europe before the blockade became effective it would have really helped put the Confederacy's finances on a much firmer footing. Which in turn would have helped with the manpower shortage because a soldier's pay would have been worth more. He wouldn't have had the need to desert and would have stayed put.
 

Michele

Cadet
Joined
Jun 1, 2018
This Confederate fiver was in a leather photo case under the tintype photo of 17 year old James A. Mason of Tennessee. James drew this bill on August 16, 1864 and wrote his name and particulars of his military service on the bill:
“Company K, 19th Tennessee Cavalry, Col. Tyree Harris Bell’s Brigade, Brig. Gen. Abraham Buford’s Division, Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Cavalry.”
I found the photo and accompanying relics at, of all places, an antiques mall in St. Louis, Missouri in 2017.

Confederate Fiver.jpg
 

Michele

Cadet
Joined
Jun 1, 2018
He drew this bill in Tupelo, Mississippi and later gifted it to one of his daughters, Lida May Mason, in 1901. He survived the war and died in 1917. Occupation listed on his death certificate: Preacher and Farmer.

Here is a slightly crisper picture of the bill.

behanbill-1574530215-68 (1).jpg
 

DaveBrt

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Location
Charlotte, NC
Could the Confederacy have pulled off a similar miraculous transformation of its finances? Possibly. But it would have had to begin by seeing that its only chance was to use cotton to buy European credit and recognition. Had the Confederate States of America embarked on emergency wartime production of cotton for export from day one, it would have achieved a boom in revenues that would have equalled the North's explosion in borrowing.

If, in turn, the Confederacy had allowed the Banks of England, France and the Netherlands to retain the money owed in payment (rather than shipping the gold coin across the Atlantic), the financial systems of those European countries would have been irrevocably tied to the independence of the new Confederate nation. There would have been no possibility of a Union blockade and the Federal Navy's capture of New Orleans - the single most important financial event for the South - would not have occurred.
1. You assume the South could have grown and sent abroad sufficient cotton to back your plan before the blockade became effective. How much cotton do you think could have been produced and shipped out of the country, more than was actually shipped, before the blockade's effective date (say April, 1862)? Would this have been enough to "have achieved a boom in revenues that would have qualled the North's explosion in borrowing?"

2. What gold coin was shipped to Europe that could have been retained in the Confederacy? What little gold the Confederacy had was used up by mid-1861. And how does gold retained in the Confederacy cause Europe to prevent the blockade? The sales to the Confederacy were by individual companies, not by governments -- could the force the governments to go to war to prevent the blockade?
 

Polloco

Captain
Joined
Sep 15, 2018
Location
South Texas
In my 2014 copy of Confederate States Paper Money is listed at $150 (good) to $800 (uncirculated). In the notes I find that it is not rare but its popularity with collectors has caused it to rise in price. I would expect it to have risen even higher since 2014.
To give some perspective, some issues have values ranging from a few dollars to 45,000 (the highest one in my book).
I stand corrected, the $500.00 bill with Stonewall Jackson is not the rarest or the Holy Grail but I'd still like to get my hands on one. The real collectible seems to be the $5.00 with the "Indian Princess" and Negros loading cotton on the front. Only 7,160 of these "Indian Princess"notes were issued. It was considered very rare almost 30 years ago.
 
The $10.00 bill with field artillery and R.M.T.Hunter gracing the front is said to be the most commonly available. There were over 9,000,000 of these notes printed.

These were the 1864 issued $10 notes and according to Thian's Register of the Confederate Debt, the total amount issued was $91,359,200.00
 
Wookey Hole sounds either Scottish or Irish. Similar to Blarney Stone, maybe for origins.
Lubliner.

Wookey Hole is a small town in south-west England. The Wookey Hole Mill that supplied paper to the Confederacy continued producing paper -- much of it using the original mid-19th century equipment -- up until it went out of business about 10 years ago.
 

BillH

Private
Joined
Sep 14, 2017
Location
SW Idaho
I stand corrected, the $500.00 bill with Stonewall Jackson is not the rarest or the Holy Grail but I'd still like to get my hands on one. The real collectible seems to be the $5.00 with the "Indian Princess" and Negros loading cotton on the front. Only 7,160 of these "Indian Princess"notes were issued. It was considered very rare almost 30 years ago.

According to my checklist, and not counting the first 4 "Montgomery" notes, the 2 rarest are the Indian Princess and the $10 Liberty Shield/Eagle notes... only 138 known copies of the Princess and 113 known copies of the Liberty...

... makes for a real dilemma for those of us "list-checking-completion-freaks"... a full set of Confederate notes now costs in the 6 figures!
 

Polloco

Captain
Joined
Sep 15, 2018
Location
South Texas
According to my checklist, and not counting the first 4 "Montgomery" notes, the 2 rarest are the Indian Princess and the $10 Liberty Shield/Eagle notes... only 138 known copies of the Princess and 113 known copies of the Liberty...

... makes for a real dilemma for those of us "list-checking-completion-freaks"... a full set of Confederate notes now costs in the 6 figures!
Makes you wonder what happened the rest of them. 7,160 of the Liberty Shield were supposedly issued.
 
Top