The Special Collections Department holds many treasures; most items are books and microforms. However, we do have some miscellanea specimens one would not expect to find in our collection. One such holding is our set of Confederate currency. These monetary notes of the Confederate States of America were given to the MU Libraries in 1912 by the U.S. Treasury department as a teaching tool. In all, there are 135 specimens.
Confederate currency was first issued at the beginning of the Civil War and used widely in the South as a legitimate means to purchase goods and services. Some currency was printed by the Confederate States of America as a whole, some by individual states, and some by private banks. The bills in our collection were all issued by the Confederate States of America. Due to various printers, confederate currency tended to vary from printing to printing and state to state. Bills issued by the C.S.A. were hand signed and individually numbered by the Treasurer and Register, however, the duty became taxing with the number of bills produced, so secretaries were hired to sign the bills in later printings. It was not uncommon for notes to be printed on a single side or cut unevenly. Ultimately, by the end of the war, Confederate currency was nearly worthless, in part due to forgery as well as the loss of confidence in the Confederacy.
The following image file numbers correspond to the reference book “Criswell’s Currency Series Vol. 1”, RARE-R HG526 .C7 1957