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Follow along as I build my (72 note) Confederate currency collection

I have become really intrigued by Confederate currency. I have been reading and researching as much as I possibly can and have decided that a 72 note collection will be my next project. I have never collected paper money so this will be a completely new road for me. I have a boatload to learn and look forward to sharing the knowledge as I acquire it. I plan to update this thread each time I add a note to the set. I will try to upload pictures and I may also throw in additional information (Why I chose the note, who it was acquired from, details about the note itself, or anything else that may be interesting about it).

Here are a few self imposed guidelines I have set for myself…

1- (Buy each type one time) I want to avoid buying a note and then having to upgrade down the road. I found this out the hard way while building my Liberty Seated Dollar collection. I would rather spend a few extra bucks upfront for a note that I really like and keep. Rather than just buy a cheap example to fill a hole only to regret the purchase later and want to upgrade. It was costly to upgrade my Liberty Seated Dollar collection along the way. It was very fun but financially was not the best move.

2- (Avoid notes with issues) For my collection I will avoid buying notes with any issues. I’m still learning what all these issues are and I’m excited to get to a big show to see and learn in person how to detect them all. But foxing, ink burn, pin holes, previously mounted, stains, tears and rust are all issues I will try to avoid. I also want to try and complete my collection without any cut cancelled notes.

3-(Dont pay up for rare varieties) Given the option of buying a rare variety in the same grade as a common variety… Assuming the notes have the same look and are graded the same. I would rather not spend the big money going after the rare variety. Now, if they were priced the same heck I’d take the rare variety all day long. But knowing my luck those opportunities will probably be very rare.

4-(Fricke stickers) I would like to build the entire set with notes that have been awarded a Fricke sticker. I will definitely be using these stickers as a guide in the beginning. With Mr. Fricke being a leading expert in the series I have a lot I can learn from looking at notes that he felt were worthy of extra praise. I understand this will add on to the cost of the notes I am buying but I believe this will save me in the long run (especially in the beginning) from buying notes with issues I was not able to detect. Eventually I am hopeful I won’t need to use his stickers as a crutch for my lack of grading skills and knowledge but I would like to try to complete the set with every note earning a sticker.

5-(Avoid counterfeit notes) I have no interest in collecting counterfeit notes. I have read that certain facsimile notes can be worth good money but I just don’t have any desire to go down this road. I’ll have my hands full just building the regular type set counterfeits just won’t fit in with what I’m trying to do.

6-(Only buy graded notes) I plan to stay away from raw notes. I think my OCD would prefer I stick with one grading service. I know all services are not perfect and they all have their own issues. But I prefer the look of the PMG plastic holder the best. While I would prefer to purchase a PMG note. I will not rule out the purchase of a PCGS note. Ultimately the eye appeal of the note is what is most important and is what my purchase decision will be based upon.

7-(Grade range) I hope to buy the highest graded notes that I can reasonably afford. This will obviously fluctuate based on what’s available on the market and how much hobby cash I have available when I’m making a buying decision. I anticipate UNCs for the common notes and VF- AU for tougher notes… and for the (6) rare notes I’d really just like problem free F-VF examples.

8- (EPQ/PPQ) From what I have read opinions vary on this. Some people swear by it and say it’s a must while others say it doesn’t mean much because the graders are not consistent. I really don’t have an opinion on this yet but for now will try to buy EPQ/PPQ whenever possible. They don’t command much of a premium from what I can tell so why not add the bells and whistles.

Since this is a long term set build the above goals could definitely change along the way. If it does change, I will certainly update the thread with the change and why I decided to make a change in my original strategy. Along the way if you would like to add to the experience of the thread please don’t hesitate to chime in. Heck if you happen to have some notes that you think I may be interested in please send me a PM. I have been in communication with Mr. Fricke recently but besides him I don’t know anyone in the paper money world. All of my friends and references are on the coin side of numismatics. Feel free to chime in with any and all questions, recommendations, critiques, information or history. I’m looking to learn as much as possible along the way. Hopefully this thread will be interesting and everyone can enjoy my adventure with Confederate currency.

Comments

  • goldengolden Posts: 8,965 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Good luck on your quest. Some of those early notes are going to cost a boat load of money.

  • CrustyCrusty Posts: 1,060 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I went outside of the 1864 type set that I planned to start with and decided to buy an earlier note. I really like the look of this note. And I’m excited to get her in hand!

    It is another very common piece. It’s a T-41 and by coincidence is graded the same as my other two notes (PMG 65 EPQ). This was the last Blue stickered note that Mr Fricke had in his inventory (aside from another T-41 graded VF). I decided to snatch it up. There is one other Blue stickered confederate note that I am aware of for sale right now and it’s on eBay. It’s also a T-41 but it’s graded by pcgs 65 and it’s 100 bucks cheaper. But I liked my note better and decided to spend the extra hundred.

    In confederate currency having full margins is highly desirable. The same goes for the color. On this note the HUNDRED in the background is bright. If you look at a lot of the notes on eBay you’ll see that the brightness varies a lot. This is a very common note so it’s not as important on this note but it will be much more important once I get into the scarcer notes.

    Another reason I chose this note is because the interest paid stamps on the reverse are not very intrusive on the obverse. If you see the other example on eBay it’s a big distraction because the ink has bled through completely to the front of the note. I’m told these stamps are totally acceptable to bleed through and not detract from the grade. But I just don’t like it… so I chose this one. I will say that I do like seeing the stamps on the reverse. Just knowing where the note was on a particular day in history is really cool.

    On the bottom left is John C Calhoun. He died in 1850 before the war . He was what they called a war hawk. He was very much in favor of going to war in 1812….. He was a big proponent of states rights and was known for his strong defense of white southern beliefs and practices. He was in the senate, House of Representatives, and was Secretary of war during his political career in South Carolina. But his highest office held was when he was elected Vice President under John Quincy Adams and continued under Andrew Jackson. But he butted heads with Jackson for several reason.

    At the center are slaves hoeing. Crazy to see it and think about how much the country has changed since those times. This note is very popular because it’s reasonably affordable and very available. It’s often referred to as the Hoers note.

    On the right Mr. Fricke’s book says it is an allegorical representation of the Confederacy as represented by South Carolina (which was to the right).


  • sellitstoresellitstore Posts: 2,368 ✭✭✭✭✭

    OK, your focus is on the very best quality. You are paying a premium for this quality, but, compared to U.S. coins, a premium of 2-3X ordinary uncirculated notes, is tiny, so I'd say it's hard to go wrong buying the best. Always wise strategy, and often quite profitable.

    My concern would be the grading standards on these. There isn't the consistency because there just isn't the volume graded. Your instincts are good. Keep learning and buying what you like. But 65s aren't available for many more types and any uncirculated notes will be the best available. I think that many types will prove unavailable in uncirculated grades, but sticking with the best will make for a smaller, but exceptional, collection, instead of just another type set.

    Yes, full margins are prized but large margins around are rare. Uncirculated notes often have tight margins. Agree with your assessment on the treasury stamps, less bleed through is better.

    However, some of these T39s and T40s (Train designs) and these T41s were reissued by Quartermasters and ones issued West of the Mississippi, in places like Texas can be highly collectible. These are avidly collected by the "Trainmen", one of those highly secretive numismatics sects. Ask Pierre. He's probably a trainman himself.

    Collector and dealer in obsolete currency. Always buying all obsolete bank notes and scrip.
  • CrustyCrusty Posts: 1,060 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @sellitstore

    Thank you very much for the feedback. I really have no clue how to grade the notes yet. Yes, I have read Mr. Frickes book with the break down with number of folds per grade range. I believe at the 65 level the borders must be full no mater how nice the note looks. But really at this point I can’t tell the difference between a 65 and a 66 of higher for that matter. This is a big reason I am looking to buy notes that Mr. Fricke has looked at and felt were superior. The extra premium I am paying is for not only a better quality note but more importantly the education I am getting.

    I went into this set build knowing that an all unc set is impossible. In fact I am certain most of the set will end up being circulated grades. If I buy a F or VF for a tougher note I want it to be one of the best F or VF that exist (same for XF,AU). For these more common notes that I’m starting out with I would like to get as many affordable UNC notes as possible. I just want the best I can afford.

    I do look forward to some of the train notes. I’ll see Mr. Fricke at the end of the month in Long Beach. I’ll have to try to find out if he is in this secret group. Thanks again for contributing to the thread and please jump in and add more whenever possible. The currency section seems to be mostly dead. I’m wondering if this says something about the current currency market or if they all hang out on a different forum?

  • Thanks for sharing all that information! Looking forward to following you as you build your set!!

  • Steve_in_TampaSteve_in_Tampa Posts: 1,791 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Well stated, and accurate @sellitstore, especially the first two paragraphs…

  • CrustyCrusty Posts: 1,060 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @sellitstore

    Thanks again for the thoughtful response….

    I received a PM from another member saying there may be more action on a thread like mine at another forum. I did sign up and post there. I figured I’ll try to update both threads at the same time. That way I can get as many people contributing as possible and hopefully gain more knowledge as I go.

    I have many questions and I’m sure when I get deeper into the collection I’ll end up having more. I’m really looking forward to going to Long Beach later this month. It will be the first time I can sit and analyze a number of notes side by side in person. Really I’m hoping Mr . Fricke has some time so he can school me about identifying problems on notes.

  • sellitstoresellitstore Posts: 2,368 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yikes, wrong web address. Sorry.

    Well you guys know what I'm talking about.

    Collector and dealer in obsolete currency. Always buying all obsolete bank notes and scrip.
  • Crusty,
    A well thought-out set of guidelines. You are off to a Good Start !

  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,383 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 8, 2021 5:10AM

    I dabble with Confederats currency. For me there are only 70 numbers because I have no interest in the two fantasy notes. Since the first four, Montgomery notes are beyond what I want to spend, my collection is reaching its end. There are a couple of others that are not very attractive but still expensive. They are off the list too.

    Some of the contemporary counterfeits are neat. Mr. Upham's creations are quite nice, and I have a beautiful Cuban made note that is perfectly executed, but too small compared to the real thing. The trans-Mississippi and prices with interest and issue stamps on them are fun too. And there there are the 1863 series notes that were dated and went "Poof!" after a year.

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
  • CrustyCrusty Posts: 1,060 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @BillJones

    I would love to see some of the notes in your collection. Could you post some pics of a few of your favorites ?

  • CrustyCrusty Posts: 1,060 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @BillJones very nice notes. I really appreciate you sharing them here. I really like the T-19. When compared to the counterfeit sided by side it’s pretty easy to tell the difference. I’ve been told most counterfeits are easily identifiable once one has some experience seeing the real thing. That T5 is such a pretty note. It’s definitely one that I’m going to enjoy looking at one I find one for my collection. Thanks again for sharing.

  • sellitstoresellitstore Posts: 2,368 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The T5 note is much better quality than later issues because Southern Bank Note was actually the New Orleans office of American Bank Note Co. and these were intaglio printed from engraved plates rather than the later litho. issues.

    Collector and dealer in obsolete currency. Always buying all obsolete bank notes and scrip.
  • Scooter007Scooter007 Posts: 115 ✭✭✭

    @Crusty really nice notes … I have zero Confederate’s but I do enjoy seeing them. Thanks for Sharing 👍

  • NoGoldNoGold Posts: 41 ✭✭

    Since your notes are graded by PMG you should join their Registry. You have some nice notes and the registry helps organize and is a good place to display your collection .

  • @BillJones
    That's a superb quartet of notes by Southern Bank Note company. The engraving is superior quality. And i like ships and trains on banknotes. thanks for sharing them.

  • CrustyCrusty Posts: 1,060 ✭✭✭✭✭

    New addition!

    T-36 PF-2 Rarity 3
    $5 PMG 53/EPQ
    September 2nd 1861
    3,694,890

    The T-36 is the most common of all the 1861 notes. Mr. Fricke suggests it is common in all grades except choice XF-choice UNC. It is known for being printed on lower quality paper. There are currently 594 graded at PMG. Most of them are VF and below. There are 79 that are graded higher than my note. I thought about holding out for a higher graded note but I felt this example was attractive and faced up well compared to a lot of notes that are graded higher. Nice trim, full borders, exceptional paper quality designation and good color pushed me to purchase this note.

    This note was printed by a couple different producers. My note is a PF-2 and was printed by JT Paterson in South Carolina.

    As I’ve said before I am drawn to notes that have anything Navy related. On the left of this note is a sailor standing with a telescope in hand (how cool is that!). In the distance you can see rigging lines and sails. This note like almost all Confederate notes was counterfeited. Mr. Fricke says that the rigging lines behind the sailors head are the key to catching them.

    In the middle is the female Goddess of harvest, Ceres. She is sitting on a bale of cotton. In her hand she has a caduceus with two snakes entwined. A ship in the distance to her left and buildings on her right.


  • PickwickjrPickwickjr Posts: 555 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great write up, thanks for the education!
    Love the notes !

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