Original U.S. Civil War Confederate Currency Sent From US Treasury To GAR Post 94 In 1912 - Montclair, NJ
Original Items: Only One Group Available. The Confederate States dollar was first issued just before the outbreak of the American Civil War by the newly formed Confederacy. It was not backed by hard assets, but simply by a promise to pay the bearer after the war, on the prospect of Southern victory and independence. As the Civil War progressed and victory for the South seemed less and less likely, its value declined. After the Confederacy's defeat, its money had no value, and both individuals and banks lost large sums.
The first series of Confederate paper money, issued in March 1861, bore interest and had a total circulation of $1,000,000. As the war began to tilt against the Confederates, confidence in the currency diminished, and the government inflated the currency by continuing to print the unbacked banknotes. By the end of 1863, the Confederate dollar (or "Greyback", to distinguish it from the then-new "Greenback" paper US dollar, which was likewise put into circulation during the war) was quoted at just six cents in gold, and fell further still.
The Greyback is now a prized collector's item, in its many versions, including those issued by individual states and local banks. The various engravings of leading Confederates, gods and goddesses, trains, ships and enslaved Africans on these hastily printed banknotes, sometimes cut with scissors and signed by clerks, continue to stimulate debate among antique dealers, with even some of the counterfeit notes commanding high prices.
This currency was sent to the Grand Army of the Republic Post 94, located in Montclair, NJ by the US Treasury Department in 1912. The letter is addressed to John M. Wheeler, who served as a Sergeant in Company F, 26th Regiment of the New Jersey Infantry.
The Letter Is As Followed:
John M.Wheeler Post No.94, G.A.R.
Believing that your Post will be interested in receiving specimens of notes issued by the Confederate States of America, for exhibition purposes in the Post headquarters, I take pleasure in sending you an assortment of the same.
These notes came into the possession of the Union Army about the close of the Civil War, and were turned over by the War Department to the Treasury of the United States in the year 1867.
The Treasury Department has no complete series of the notes, and in presenting such specimens as are now in its custody the Department feels assured that proper disposition will be made for their safe-keeping so as to render them of permanent value to your Grand Army Post as historical relics.
Very truly yours,
The currency consists of the following numbers:
- (1) 50 Dollar Bill
- (3) 20 Dollar Bills
- (6) 10 Dollar Bills
- (4) 5 Dollar Bills
Total of 14 Bills
The currency appears to have been pasted to a red felt board for display purposes inside of the GAR post and still has remnants of the felt present on the backs. The bills are faded, torn and have holes present. These were fragile bills due to the quality in which they were manufactured. The letter and envelope are both age toned to a yellow and have been mounted with a thin cardboard backing.
This is a wonderful assortment of items that come more than ready for further research and display!
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