A flurry of activity marked our preparation for the International Paper Money Show in Memphis Tenn. this year (2014). This was my first year as President of the Society of Paper Money Collectors (SPMC) going into Memphis. Several activities needed to be planned and I thank the board for their enthusiastic support and efforts. Additionally, a string of very successful shows in the spring precluded the Memphis show which forced me to spend quite a lot of time catching up working up all of the new purchases. I had acquired two collections of train and hoer (T-39-40-41 1862 $100) military issues, a run of common and mid-level type, and a smattering of rare Confederate money varieties. Additionally, I had a lot of under $200 large cents to work up. I sold a lot of choice and higher end Confederate type note as well as major rare varieties and really need to refill my coffers with that material too, but with the strong Confederate market, it is a challenge to do.
The trip to Memphis turned out to be the only negative highlight of the show – and a big one it was. It took us 26 hours to travel by air (mostly) from Boston, MA to Memphis, TN. To net it out, we stayed overnight in DC due to weather, experience a harrowing crowd trying to get on their American Airlines flights when their ticketing systems went down, delays in Dallas-Ft Worth (which saved us), got to Little Rock, AR ok, rented a car, got stuck in a 2 hour traffic jam on I-40 50 miles west of Memphis, and luckily, got to the show in time to still set up! It could have been worse we told ourselves.
We immediately got to setting up our table with good progress within 30 minutes. Given that we allocated 3 cases to paper money and only 1 to our better large cents, it went quickly. Paper Money is much faster to put out than coins! We kept our under $200 large and half cents in boxes for people to view if interested in the back. Leaving Joyce at the table to finish up and watch, I went to set up my exhibit – a two case display describing the Confederate Trans-Mississippi setting (west of the Miss River) and the types of notes that were reissued out there and why. I had written an article on this a few years ago for the SPMC Paper Money magazine and included it or subsets in books, including the latest standard catalog and price guide – Collecting Confederate Paper Money – Field Edition 2014. Setting up the exhibit did not take too long either and we completed all of our tasks in time to do some business.
1864 Confederate notes were hot at this show… T-64 pink notes are going for more than the 2014 book prices, actually approaching the red T-64 values in some cases. I sold three T-64 notes within 15 minutes of being setup on Thursday. Other 1864 notes are in strong demand too, and the Thursday night Lyn Knight auction demonstrated that. Lyn had a run of typical common to mid-level 1861-1863 type notes. But he also had some interesting dealer 1864 group lots. All of these went for retail money or more! Perhaps someone was hunting for New 63 or better slabbable notes, not sure. Unfortunately, one thing our 26 hour trip cost us was the ability to view the lots – so I had to stay on the sidelines for the most part or bid conservatively, figuring many of the lots with Unc notes to have XF-AU notes. I do not know what was actually in there; perhaps someone will hit the jackpot? Or have overpriced 1864 notes? I don’t know.
Thursday night found Joyce and I shopping for replacement to our lost clothes and toiletries – our luggage would not show up until Saturday – most of the way through the show. The good news is that I had almost everything I needed to run the table; we improvised where we needed – such as using Styrofoam togo boxes for the large cent bins!
Friday morning sees the SPMC people head over across the street to the Crowne Plaza for our annual breakfast. Approximately 80-90 people attended with Bob Moon, Wendell Wolka, John Wilson, Mark Anderson and others helping with tickets to get in as well as raffle tickets. Unfortunately, my luggage had not arrived with the fancy tickets I had printed - $1000 Montgomery note – the example that was in my type set. Some of these were passed out late Saturday and I hope to remember to bring them in 2015 along with new tickets for the breakfast attendees. These events are a lot of fun with a great breakfast, a lot of super people, and then the awards followed by the raffle which are so much fun. The award winners will be announced in Paper Money magazine, but I’d like to mention three here. Fred Reed’s Civil War Envelopes, The Issuers and Their Times won the Wismer Best Book of the Year award. Benny Bolin received the Nathan Gold Memorial Award for lifetime achievement – certainly Benny has earned this one with SPMC board service, past-President, and now both Secretary and Editor. Dennis Tucker received the Forrest Daniel award for ongoing literary contributions as editor at Whitman Publishing – the new obsolete book marks just the latest in a long string of excellent books promoting collecting paper money. I will also mention the rollout of the new SPMC “Hall of Fame” which was inaugurated with a robust “class of 2014” many legends from our past – but included three living persons – Gene Hessler, Peter Huntoon, and Eric Newman. Congratulations to all in this class! Look for more news on this and the breakfast on the SPMC web site (www.spmc.org ) and in Paper Money.
I returned to the bourse floor as it was opening after the SPMC breakfast. Activity began to pick up quickly. Friday proved to be a strong day. We sold a lot of common and mid-range Confederate type notes and some significant rare varieties. A few obsolete notes left the case as well. We also had interest in our large cents for sale including the $10, $15, and $20 buckets which always pique interest and offer nice deals for those who just want a souvenir or a gift for a child to those who are building date sets. I had little time to get away from the table – many came by – and some sizable Confederate and obsolete deals for purchase by me also showed up. Friday wound down and Joyce and I went to rendezvous to enjoy a great BBQ dinner.
Saturday saw the SPMC board meeting from 8AM till 10AM, keeping me away from the bourse floor for more than 1 hour. Joyce covered the table and said people were looking for me. Things picked up as the morning progressed with more purchases and sales of Confederate money along with a major rare Fugio Copper variety – N 12-LL – and some large cents too. Saturday afternoon saw me finally getting a little time to check with a few dealers looking for some scarce types and 1864 material. Also, my luggage arrived which I proceeded to bring down to the floor and unpack the table materials we needed as well as the SPMC tickets. At 4PM CDT, Lyn Knight and Mark Anderson kicked off the exhibits awards ceremony where I had the pleasure of announcing the SPMC exhibit awards. Mack Martin won overall top exhibit from SPMC – congrats to him and the other winners as well. Other organizations also present awards such as the International Bank Note Society. See Paper Money and Bank Note Reporter for more news on this as well.
We planned a “Hall of Fame” celebration dinner Saturday night at Felicia Suzanne’s, a great steak and seafood place nearby. Fourteen people attended including one of the three Hall of Famers alive – Peter Huntoon. Significant others were invited as well and we had a great time catching up on new and old items in paper money and personally.
Sunday saw a slower day as usual, but not dead. I transacted several significant deals Sunday including more sales of a wide range of CSA type notes mostly under $200. We began the breakdown process starting with the exhibit and moving to the table. Mid-afternoon saw us at the Memphis airport. Luckily, we only had a one hour delay on the 2nd leg of the trip home.
We found this Memphis show to be stronger than the last 3 or so. These shows are always good to us and always are fun. We were glad to see some strength in terms of crowd, attendance at events, exhibits, and people buying and selling. It’s always great to catch up with friends we don’t usually see at many other shows if any. We look forward to 2015!
Central States Show – Fun and Profitable! - May 17, 2014
Joyce and I headed to the Chicago Illinois Central States Numismatic Society Convention in late April for the third time. Our debut was in 2012 where we were part of the 150th anniversary Civil War forum. There I presented an introduction to Confederate paper money to a large crowd, had a lot of fun and had a great show.So we’ve returned each year since and plan on an expanded presence at a corner table in 2015.
The good thing about Chicago is its accessibility by plane to a large part of the country.Direct flights and a good choice of travel times help greatly. We travelled Wednesday morning to be there for setup that day as well as to view auction lots.This auction was special on two counts:1. Wendell Wolka’s Ohio collection was being sold, and 2. there was a good run of Confederate money, in particular, the largest run of CSA T-39-40-41 military and place issued notes ever auctioned. Set up went uneventfully and shortly after we closed a significant dealer to dealer deal.
Thursday night would see the auction we came to attend. After a meal in the hotel bar, we entered the auction room about half way through the obsolete section. Ohio had not yet arrived and I had submitted bids on the obsolete notes I was interested in in case we did not get back in time for dinner. Over the past two years, we have expanded into obsolete currency, particularly the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and some Midwest.We also do have some Southern notes. We did win some lots and was pleased as we entered the Confederate paper money section of the auction.I will say that Wendell Wolka did very well on his collection and we congratulate him on a fabulous collection and result.
The Confederate paper money sale was very interesting.The market has strengthened for choice and rare type over the past 3 years with my 2012 and 2014 books helping generate even more interest. Additionally, this would be the first auction since the publication of rarity and prices for T-39-40-41 in my 2014 book with the help of Mike McNeil and others. Finally, there were a small number of major rare varieties in this sale that would help gauge that market.
15478.T-49 PF-1. PCGS 65 PPQ. Gem Unc. A record price!$3055
15479.T-52 PF-9IB. Inverted back. PCGS AU-58.My grade Unc.A case where
PCGS found some micro handling or anomalies in the paper and called it AU.
Undergraded.Near the top of the condition census. Apparently at least two
biddersagree with me!$3525
There was a run of T-64s which have strengthened in price since my 2014 book
was published.These are especially rare, fully framed and/or in New 63 or better
Holders. Finally, some IDRs, one of which set a record price…
15495.Louisiana.Unlisted in Tremmel, Fricke, Davis IDR book. AU.$4406 (!)
I managed to buy some things out of this sale, but there was a lot of competition even as some things went a bit cheap. Major, condition census rare varieties and significant Train/Hoer notes are bringing record prices now.
The show on Friday was quite busy at our table even if the aisles were not packed. And we sold a major Confederate rarity, some other CSA and obsolete notes and a bunch of large cents.Friday was a good day. Unfortunately, I did not have time to get around much nor see any presentations. Friday night would see Joyce and I go to dinner with good friends – 8 of us – to a great steak house. We enjoyed the company of Brad Karoleff, Jim Matthews and several others for a great dinner, conversation and fun.
Saturday was a slower day; there was not much typical family retail traffic as there might be at some local weekend shows or ANA. But we did fine and I finally had time to get around visiting people. We ended the show on Saturday and travelled home Sunday, enjoying a night out in Chicago as well as some workout time in the gym and pool.
We look forward to 2015 and hope to see you there!
American Numismatic Association Show – Chicago; August 2013
Joyce and I set up at the World’s Fair of Money ANA show in Chicago, Ill. This is the largest show of the year and, while focused on coins, has become quite a significant currency show as well. There would be a lot to do at this show with having a corner table, various club meetings including a significant Society of Paper Money Collectors (SPMC) meeting, and a major auction of Fugio coppers, as well as CSA and obsolete paper money. We flew in on Saturday to get situated, view auction lots, and visit friends at the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) show. The ANA convention last most of a week which enables one to deeply dive into whatever areas of numismatics one fancies. For me, its catching up with many long time friends and making new ones, sharing paper money finds, swapping, buying and selling notes, attending what events I can and the SPMC meeting.
Auction lot viewing took a long time. There was a major collection of Fugio Coppers (Ayers’) including two very rare varieties I needed, the Newman 5-F and 18-X. There was a major collection of half cents. Stack’s dug out some more material from the John Ford holdings. Most of this was obsolete currency from the New Netherlands inventory. As such, there were numerous large group lots along with better proofs and individual lots of obsolete currency. The Confederate paper money section featured the Big 6 and other better notes, including some nice Montgomery notes and a lower end T-35 and decent T-27. There also were a few lots in the Ford section including a curios lot of 4 T-16s. This lot was an 1880s altered lot to the rare T-16 PF-6 number plen set – all four notes were present with the right serial numbers and red fiber paper! I would bid in all of these arenas and spent quite a lot of money acquiring some nice Fugios for resale, large cents, CSA money. I also bought the rare T-16 altered plen set which was not catalogued as such. I also bought many large group lots of obsolete notes, mainly from the northeast and Midwest as I expand further into this area. Unfortunately, I did not get either the Fugio Newman 5-F nor 18-X, but did get a very rare 13-KK on the floor which seemed expensive the day before the auction, but cheap the next day! This acquisition put me into the rarified 50 different Fugio variety collection club!
I set up an exhibit in the US coins section. I displayed my 49 (soon to be 50) 1787 Fugio copper collection. Here is some of what I documented in the display:
The first coin issued by emerging United States of America was the Fugio copper coin in April 1787. These coins were to be made from 300 tons of copper and contracted to James Jarvis of New Haven Connecticut who won the valuable contract competing with four other proposals. The final design for the Fugio Coppers was approved on July 6, 1787. Benjamin Franklin’s motifs were featured:
Obverse: FUGIO (which means “I fly”) on the left with the date 1787 to the right. A sun dial graced the center of the coin with the sun at zenith. “Mind Your Business” completed the design at the bottom with a meaning somewhat different than today; it referred to taking care of your affairs since “time flies”, a supporting phrase to the Fugio + sun dial motif.
Reverse: Thirteen circles linked together to show unity. United States in various configurations in a circle in the center which surrounded “We Are One”.
A rich description of the history of Fugio Coopers is described in United States Fugio Copper Coinage of 1787 by Eric P. Newman. I encourage you to purchase this book!
There are several ways to collect Fugio coppers. These include:
Three basic types – Obverse Cross After Date, Cinquefoil After Date with Pointed Rays, Cinquefoil After Date with Club Rays
Red Book listings – 15 coins; 2 of which are “Non-Collectible”.
Newman varieties – 61 varieties; 8 of which are R8 and “Non-Collectible”. 50 varieties being a challenging goal.
The show itself started off strong. We had a great setup time on Tuesday and a lot of traffic on Wednesday. We sold a good mix of CSA notes and large cents, including a lot of $10-$20 coins out of the u-pick’em boxes. We were very busy. Since we were buying so much at auction, we did not focus buying on the floor, though I had several deals walk up to the table. I also picked up a great large cent deal at the show. The best deal of the show for us was a very rare event. I had the privilege of handing one of the best CSA Montgomery sets assembled in a private transaction at the show. Represented were a T-1 in Choice XF-AU, T-2 Choice XF-AU, T-3 Choice AU and a T-4 in Choice Uncirculated (possible PMS/PCGS 64 or 65 PPQ note and a candidate for finest or near finest known!). While the serial numbers are known in the census, these notes have not been photographed, scanned nor have appeared publicly (that we know of – it is possible some or all appeared in old auctions from 100 +/- years ago where the cataloguers did not document the serial numbers). This made the show.
As the show progressed, however, it slowed down. We found ourselves with more time on Friday and Saturday than we had hoped. We took advantage of this to visit with friends and had time to fully enjoy the SPMC and Early American Coppers meetings. The EAC meeting had a large attendance with some interesting discussion of upcoming auctions as well as the age of most collectors and how the hobby is shifting towards an older gentlemen’s hobby (as it was in the pre-1930s). There still are young people involved and we had a good number come by, but many young people are busy in college and starting out in a difficult economic environment. I believe we will see at least some of these in the hobby in future years after their families are grown.
This year, we held the Society of Paper Money Collectors meeting before the bourse opens to allow people maximum time for other events. We had good attendance with more than a dozen present. It is great to get to these early to share stories from the event and to catch up in general. At the SPMC meeting, Wendell Wolka was the featured speaker and did a great job taking us through Civil War (aka War for Southern Independence) financial history and the money for both sides. This is a very interesting perspective. Rather than collect a series, collect the War time money on both sides, which can be done in many different ways ranging from affordable examples of each category all the way to landmark collections across the spectrum. The Union produced demand and legal tender large size notes, obsolete and national currency, fractional currency, encased postage, tokens and other things. The Confederacy produced Confederate Treasury notes, state issued notes, obsolete notes, other financial instruments such as depository receipts and local script. Despite being a collector of almost all Confederate items and some Union money, I learned some interesting things about how some of this diversity came about and why. This is what makes attending these SPMC meetings at local, regional and national shows when present such a good time and a learning experience. I encourage all to take an hour out during the day or morning to stop in at future events!
On Saturday, we picked up the exhibit and our table. This usually takes a couple of hours and we had to plan to get to the Chicago O’Hare airport with plenty of time to get through security and such. We do like Chicago shows as they are easy to get to and usually well attended as this ANA was. It was a great show all the way around – friends, meetings, auction, buying and selling, collecting and exhibiting! I encourage you to attend next year in the same location.
Memphis – Lots of Action Amongst Paper Money Enthusiasts
I always enter June with great anticipation of the Memphis International Paper Money Show. This year was no exception, though for the first time, my company’s annual trade show was scheduled in the same week! Luckily that show was mainly centered earlier in the week, with Memphis centered closer to the weekend – so I attended both. This heavy schedule precluded me from building an exhibit for the first time in many years, but I hope to return to the exhibit arena in 2014.
Joyce and I rise very early on Thursday morning to get to the Boston airport to make the journey to Memphis. Unfortunately, this has become a bit more time consuming and expensive as Delta Airlines is in the process of winding down the old Northwest hub in Memphis – forcing a change in planes in Atlanta. Nevertheless, the trip was uneventful and we arrived in Memphis in the early afternoon. We check-in at the Marriott and find our room which has a view of – a service building on the roof! If we strain our neck to the left, we do have a great view of the Mississippi River.
Set up is already underway as we check-in at the show and move to our table. We have a great location at this show at Table 104, near the front on the right wall. We have four cases at the table which will be filled with mostly Confederate, Southern States and northeast obsolete notes. We do bring our large cents and have let the Early American Copper community know we will be at this show. Paper money is easy to set up; large cents much more work. We are set up by mid-afternoon which allows us to visit with friends and a few early birds walking around. Thursday night is a get together of the officers and board members of the Society of Paper Money Collectors (SPMC – www.spmc.org ) for a dinner. We head to a local southern style place, the Blues Café, and get a large table in the back. Outgoing President Mark Anderson hosted the event with eventually about a dozen present. Great food and people and a lot of fun!
Friday morning starts with the SPMC breakfast and festivities across the street at the Crowne Plaza. These are always a lot of fun as we get some 80 people to meet and socialize with, enjoying a good breakfast and coffee. After breakfast, we go into the awards ceremony and then the raffle which features some antique bankers’ memorabilia – quite interesting! Recognition is awarded to numerous people for major contributions including a new award for Social Media contributions. Fred Reed and I were honored with the Wismer Best Paper Money Book of the Year award for History of Collecting Confederate States of America Paper Money – 1865 – 1945 (see http://www.csaquotes.com/csabooks/historyofcollecting.html ). We released this book at Memphis 2012 and most of the copies printed have been sold to either end users or to channel partners. We thank the SPMC for this wonderful recognition!
I leave the breakfast hurriedly to get to my table for the opening of the show which I miss by a few minutes. We are already set up, so there is nothing to do but open the table. Joyce is still at her workout so I go it alone for a while. Activity starts slow but builds as the day wears on. Noon sees Fred Reed’s Author Forum which I make an effort to attend at least the first hour of each year. Here we meet authors and learn about how to write and publish books. I spoke about my experiences with Shire, a British publishing firm who approached the SPMC for an author to write a mass market book on Confederate Currency (see http://www.csaquotes.com/csabooks/confederatecurrencyintr.html ). I returned to my table to increasing activity – both buying and selling. Not only Confederate money, but a good number of large cents as well sold.
Friday night was the auction with Confederate money. Lyn’s specialties are National and Foreign currency of which he had plenty. Not so much with respect to Confederate or obsolete currency, but there were a few interesting notes I left bids with while going to dinner. Joyce and I went to dinner with another dealer and his wife who are good friends. We went to Rendezvous, the famous BBQ place in downtown Memphis, walking distance from the hotel. Saturday saw continued action on the bourse floor as well as interesting SMPC events. The first order of business for the day was the board meeting of the officers and governors of SPMC where we went through organization business, status of work efforts such as Shawn Hewitt’s web site and marketing teams along with many others. This was Mark Anderson’s last meeting as president with Mark passing the gavel to me at the end of the meeting. I am honored to become President of the Society of Paper Money Collectors, following in Mark’s, Benny’s and others footsteps. See my first President’s column in Paper Money magazine for more.
Saturday faded into Saturday night which saw Joyce and I go to dinner alone to reflect on the events of the show. We sold a good deal of Confederate paper money, especially a large amount of common material, a few high grade type notes, and a couple of significant rare varieties. We also sold a couple of significant large cents and quite a few out of our $20-15-10 boxes, more than I expected! We also bought some lots of CSA money, including a rare military and place issue note. There also was quite a bit of 1-1 discussion with people who use and make contributions to the standard catalog of Confederate money, Colleting Confederate Paper Money (see http://www.csaquotes.com/csabooks/confederatemoneybook.html ), which will see a major revision published in early 2014.
We returned home Sunday, on an uneventful two legged plan ride through Atlanta. We had a great time and caught up with a lot of friends. We look forward to continued working with the board and others of SPMC as well as continuing our journey on the trails of paper money collecting and dealing.
We attended several shows this Spring. All of them were quite active and we did well, especially selling rare and choice items. One thing I must say are that my choice and rare variety condition census notes out of my type set and inventory are selling fast and at or near full price – even to other dealers in some cases. This kind of material is hard to find and harder to keep.
Georgia Numismatic Association (GNA)
Living in Massachusetts makes doing the Dalton shows quite a bit more challenging. However, we do make extra effort to go to GNA and Blue Ridge as these shows are perennially excellent. This years’ was no different.
We arrive at the show early Friday morning as we arrived late Thursday night, too late to set up. The good thing is that there are many direct flights from Boston to Atlanta and it is an easy 90 minute drive once on the road (assuming you get to ATL 7 PM or later). With Joyce, set up goes quick and we opt for a corner table as we have expanded our inventory and have grown the early copper part of our business to balance things out.
Friday is the busiest day for us at this show and it goes quite well. We are busy most of the show and I don’t have much time to get out to see what is on the floor. Luckily, we are well enough known to be strong buyers that people now put things back and/or bring them to us. We sell a good mix of paper money and large cents. Our $10, $15 and $20 boxes of large cents do particularly well. We do visit with many friends in the late afternoon when things slow down a bit and catch dinner with another dealer couple.
Saturday is a bit slower, but it turns out we do some significant deals on this day, making the show. Interestingly, virtually all of my type set is gone or sells outside of the show floor. More people are doing business by email, mail and phone than several years ago and this shows Saturday at this show. I take the slower time to pass out copies of my new simple dealer buy price guide for Confederate Money – Confederate Money Values – now available as an eBook at Amazon and soon the Apple store, etc… Pocket-sized, full color copies are available as well - http://www.csaquotes.com/confederatemoneyvalues.html . We do stay for Sunday this year, packing up by noon to head for the Atlanta airport and home.
Central States Numismatic Society (CSNS)
This show was the following weekend in April near the end of the month. It is the biggest show we do all spring and it is held outside of Chicago in Schaumburg, IL. See http://www.centralstates.info/conv.html . This was a special year as the show featured a Civil War forum set of break out speaking sessions which included me speaking on the History of Collecting Confederate States of America Paper Money – a presentation based on the book and future volume 2 that Fred Reed and I authored. I was on the agenda, mid-day Friday. It was a pretty full room with more than 40 people present I believe.
Wednesday was set up day and started with a major sale of some rare large cents. Thursday was very busy as was Friday. This show is well run and even though we were near the back, we had a lot of traffic. We sold and bought a lot at this show, especially large cents – including a major run out of our u-pick-em boxes which paid for the table by themselves! I did a few large Confederate paper money deals here, a mix of mid-range type and group lots of 1864 material.
We visited with local large cent and Confederate money collectors we don’t normally see except at Early America Coppers (EAC) or Memphis and it was good to catch up ahead of these other significant shows. EAC would be relatively nearby the following weekend in May. I really liked Central States and will set up again next year.
Early American Coppers (EAC)
This is one of my favorite shows of the year. It is a smaller show, but there is not a higher concentration of numismatic expertise at any show both behind and in front of the tables! This year is was in a small town 20 miles east of Columbus Ohio; Newark. Turned out to be a nice location and, if you rented a car, not hard to get to at all. The educational sessions are fantastic – I particularly liked the Friday night session keynoted by one of the earliest members of EAC from the late 1960s – Dane Nielsen. He did an outstanding job bringing the audience down memory lane to those early days and then got into showing some of his fantastic middle date large cents.
I also had a corner table and unfortunately Joyce could not attend this with me. It takes a long time to set up by yourself – the paper money is easy, the coins not so much! This is a social event more than a show, but I did a lot of both. The good news is that one can leave their table for good stretches at a time. This is the only show I leave my $10-15-20 boxes of large cents out for “self-service” and sure enough, I get people buying some and leaving money and/or a note for me to settle up. Most everyone is known and there are people always around at neighboring tables watching just in case. I did a lot of buying and selling at this show. Interestingly, about 30% of my business was Confederate paper money to a few different people, including one 4 figure deal.
The auction is a private sale called by Brad Karoleff and is one of the most fun auctions one can attend. While serious as good coins for good money are being sold, Brad also has a lot of fun picking on the audience and selling donated lots such as six packs of beer, bottles of wine and various other items to the audience. I ended up buying a bunch of lots which found their way into my inventory.
I packed up Sunday and drove back to the airport with Greg Hannigan, a fellow large cent dealer. We had a good discussion of the show and the market. I had a great show and look forward to Colorado Springs next year.
Joyce and I headed south to Baltimore on the afternoon of March 13 planning to arrive late the night before it opened so that we could set up. Luckily, we did not have one of our many blizzards that we saw this February and March in progress! We arrive from an uneventful (the best kind) of trip late that evening and check-in.
The next morning saw the opening of the show to dealers first and then the public at Noon. We were set up before Noon and we visited with some dealer friends in the copper community who were both nearby and far across the floor. We also caught up with some paper money friends. We were the largest Confederate paper money dealer at the show with most of two cases full of $25 to $44,000 notes (more of the former!). The show started off slow, but picked up as we progressed. Thursday night saw dinner with an old friend in the Confederate paper money community and we had a lot to catch up on - from collections moving to the market to the 2014 edition of Collecting Confederate Paper Money - Field Edition 2014, the standard catalogue of Confederate money.
Friday saw increased traffic and we were quite busy mostly selling things though we did evaluate and buy a few smaller deals. I was well stocked from major purchases along with my own Confederate type set for sale. The latter sold more notes at this show and in 2 months we sold more than half of my type set at strong prices for strong and rare notes, both type and varieties. That being said, there are still some great notes left that are impossible to find! See list 53d update for April in "Currency for Sale". This night, we had dinner with friends in the coin community and had a great time enjoying Maryland crab cakes and a lot of catching up to do.
Saturday is usually a slow day, but not this time. We were busy all the way through when we were packing up, selling notes and large cents even as we were picking things up. We waited till all customers completed their purchases and finished, needing to get home as I was heading on another trip Sunday.
There was nothing really for me in the auction, but I did have a great show and a lot of fun. We didn't really have too much downtime at this show which demonstrates that the market remains solid to strong for most things.
Pierre Fricke, March 30, 2013
FUN Show 2013 was a lot of Fun!
We flew down to Florida the weekend before the big show to escape the cold of New England. We were well greeted by days that were mostly in the low 80s! Joining long time friends in a town outside of Orlando, we caught up with current goings on and prepared for the show. The first order of business was to register ahead of the crowd and look over the fairly extensive offering of Confederate notes. Also took a side trip to the Platinum section to gawk at the three Civil War US large type notes I need – the $20 demand note, the $50 Hamilton and the $100 spread eagle, all of which were a bit rich for me at this time as they were high grade, top line big gun Federal notes. Maybe sometime down the pike.
Set up was Wednesday afternoon and the usual rush ensued. Luckily, my wife and I had all of our inventory, etc… in portable bags that could be run down the escalator instead of waiting in the long line for the elevator. We shared a table with John Kraljevich again, the noted early Americana, Colonial and medal dealer – always entertaining, educational and fun! J . Once my wife Joyce was set up to fill the cases, I journeyed over to the exhibit area to set up a display of a complete Confederate paper money type set with some nice additions. This exhibit took 10 cases with ½ case reserved for a description of what the money was, 8 ½ cases of the paper money itself, each note with a descriptive label, and one case for the key current books on Confederate paper money. I did not enter any competition which gave me the freedom to break down on Saturday. This was the last time I will display this set as it was for sale starting after the show with some notes already privately places. See List 53b in Currency for Sale for this special offering – Pierre Fricke Type and Rare Variety Collection for Sale!
We caught up with many of the usual dealers that attend FUN – both in the paper money and early American coin arena – that afternoon, while generally taking it easy. Business was tepid that day as usual for a first day for me as I spend most of the time setting up exhibits and visiting. However, that night, was the auction of Confederate paper money which I will outline below. It was quite late before the Confederate money crossed the block, and we used the time to visit our friends and enjoy a great dinner. I ended up buying quite a bit in the sale as I have sold a lot of CSA material in the last 3 months of 2012. This coupled with the sale of my Confederate type set means I have more inventory of higher quality and rarity than typically is found on dealers’ tables including mine.
Thursday was off to a slow start as a lot of people wanted to get around the floor before making purchases, but we did make some good sales and bought a few things too. While the economy and the tax increases seemed to affect some in terms of mood and willingness to buy, others jumped right in. Certainly, at the FUN show, there is a lot of material available, though rare and high quality tends to be in short supply. I spent some time with a few collector friends at my exhibit and at least a couple of them have since purchased long sought after notes in quality not readily found.
Friday was a much stronger day and really made the show. This day was very busy and we had little time to get out and about. In fact between the auction, our table and my exhibit, we really did not shop the floor at all. We did see some Confederate money and large cent deals at the table – some bought and some passed on. In the evenings, we visited with our friends in Orlando with whom were we staying and others.
Saturday was a solid day and rounded out the show nicely. The Society of Paper money Collectors (SPMC – www.spmc.org) held its meeting. A few were present early on Saturday and Dennis Schafluetzel presented on panic/depression scrip which is a fascinating topic. It’s amazing as to the creativity of people to keep commerce going in the hardest of time – this is reflected in the variety and style of these notes. Also, the new SPMC web site is coming along nicely! See link – www.spmc.org ! We decided to pick up that late afternoon and spend the time visiting on Sunday and preparing for the trip home. I love the FUN show and this one was a good one. Now we are back in Boston for the long remaining winter ahead till the Baltimore show in March (though we will do the Jan and Feb Westford, Mass shows).
Here is what transpired at the auction with third party and my grades. Some of the prices went strong… some deals slipped through the cracks of which some I got!
15945. T-3 PF-2. PMG AU 58 EPQ, Choice AU+ to me. A great note. Went at a good price after the sale. $27,025
15946. T-3 PF-2. PCGS VF-25 PPQ, Choice F-VF to me. A nice note for sure. A strong price. $18,800
15947. T-4 PF-2. PMG AU-55, AU+, net XF-AU to me. Not bad, but not like the last. $19,975
15948. T-4 PF-2. PCGS VF-25, Fine to me. $11,163
15949. T-4 PF-2. PCGS Apparent VF-20-CC, About VF, net VG (major repairs). $ 7,344
15950. T-5 PF-1. PMG New-64 EPQ, Choice Unc to me. Nice and a good buy! $ 3,055
15954. T-6 PF-1. PMG New-65 EPQ, Choice Unc to me. Nice and a strong price! $ 7,638
15957. T-6 PF-1. PCGS Apparent VF-20, Fine, net VG to me. But Seguin Texas note and excessively rare! $ 2,115
15962. T-8 PF-4. PMG New-66 EPQ, Unc+ to me, would be choice but for minor stain. $ 3,290 (!)
15968. T-8 PF-4. PCGS VF-20, POC, VG-POC to me. But extremely rare Trans-Mississippi issue and underappreciated here. $ 1,410
15970. T-10 PF-12. PMG VF-35 EPQ, graded right, About XF and nearly choice. Grossly underappreciated here compared to some of the next T-10s. One of the best to appear at auction in 10 years. $ 1,880
15971. T-10 PF-15. PCGS VF-30, F-VF to me and pressed but good eye appear at first glance. $ 1,293
15972. T-10 PF-13. PCGS VF-25, Choice F-VF to me… better than last. A steal. $ 705
15979. T-11 PF-4. PCGS Apparent VF-30, F-VF, net VG-F to me. A nice note, a strong price (see my type set for something similar but with less repair). $ 7,638
15982. T-12 PF-1. PCGS AU-58 PPQ. Ch AU+, great front presentation, back a bit offcenter. Nice note. (See my type set for something similar in eye appear, with trivial, invisible repair but quite a lot cheaper). $18,880
15983. T-12 PF-1. PMG AU-50, my grade AU, net VF (this was an ugly note due to foxing). $10,575
16013. T-24 PF-1. PMG New-64 EPQ. Ch Unc and a nice note. Good buy… worth more. $ 3,525
16015. T-27 PF-1. PCGS Apparent F-12, VG-F, net VG and not well cut to me. Good buy, though. Underappreciated type as the rarest CSA type by census. $11,750
16019. T-31 PF-1. PMG XF-40. VF-XF, net VF to me. Nice color and cut, but not XF. A conservative XF is worth far more. $ 2,233
16028. T-34 PF-3. PMG Apparent VF-35, VF+, net VF to me. But this is a near unique note (1 to a couple possibly survived) with the red straight line Trans-Mississippi stamp. Only one I know of. Cheap at $ 2,350
16029. T-35 PF-1. PCGS Apparent F-15, VG-F, net G-VG-CC to me. $11,163
16030. T-35 PF-1. PMG VG-10 Net, VG, net Good to me. Ugly color. $10,575
16031. T-36 PF-4. PMG VF-25, Choice F-VF to me. Red straight Trans-Mississippi stamp. Rare. $ 1,058
16032. T-38 PF-1. PMG VF-20, F+, net About Fine to me. $ 1,998
16033. T-39 PF-5. PMG VF-35, VF-XF, net VF to me. Issued by James Sorley (in Galveston TX) $ 764
16038. T-41 PF-22. PMG VF-25 Net. VF-, net F+ to me. Issued by Thomas Noble, very rare. $ 1,058
16039. T-41 PF-16. PMG VF-25 Net. VF, net F+ to me. Issued in Austin, very rare. $ 940
16042. T-42 PF-4. PMG F-15 Net. My grade net About Fine. Rare 1-10 plen error. Good buy. $ 411
16053. T-52 PF-5. PMG VF-25. Choice About VF to me. Rare C-G plen. Good buy. $ 1,998
This was another great show and we had a lot of FUN! We look forward to 2014.
Pierre and Joyce Fricke
Wall Street Bourse - October 2012
We set up at John Herzog's Wall Street Bourse show at the Museum of American Finance Thursday, October 18 through Saturday October 20, 2012. This is a small show held at a historic venue in downtown New York City on Wall Street itself. It's essentially the old Strasburg, PA show recreated in a Wall St session complete with all of the social and fun activities that John's shows are known for.
We arrived Wednesday night and checked in the Wall St Inn. This is a nice hotel that had special rates for the show and was only 2 blocks away. While elegant and convenient, it is expensive to attend a show overnight in NYC, but we felt it was worth it given the people, the event and the venue. It turns out we were right on these and, as an added bonus, on a financial basis too.
Thursday morning was set up and we arrived mid-morning to do so. We had several large cent and Confederate paper money collectors come by and had a respectable start to a small show. Recently we expaneded into northeastern US obsolete notes and these were good to have as well. Thursday night we went to a locally outstanding and well known Chinese restaurant with more than a dozen friends to celebrate Mark Anderson's birthday... quite a fun event I must say!
Friday saw the heart of the show, with the Museum open for visitors and well worth the visit just for that. John had visitors from local schools come by and it was fun to explain what Confederate money was to a host of NYC kids. More people came by and we had more sales - note this is a selling, not a buying show - and we were quite successful. Friday night was the event's main dinner and guest speaker at the India House nearby - a wonderful venue for an intimate and great event.
Saturday was slower, but we had a couple of new collectors start with large cents and Confederate money respectively which is always fun to do - e.g., get people started with the right books and foundation, etc... We did sell a good number of Confederate money books here too. The event ended by early afternoon and we packed up and headed home to have a full Sunday to rest and prepare for the coming week. All-in-all we were quite please with the sales at the show and had a lot of fun to boot! We look forward to next year.
The Five Aspects That Make Collections Great Or, How to Build the Next Great Collection
by John Kraljevich (November 10, 2012).
A great article... best I've seen on the topic. See this link.
Current Montgomery, T-27 and T-35 Census Count
T-1 136 Rarity 8
T-2 135 Rarity 8
T-3 188 Rarity 8-
T-4 183 Rarity 8-
T-27 110 Rarity 8+
T-35 135 Rarity 8
Three Excellent Shows – ANA Philly and Blue Ridge 2012; Westford MA
August 26, 2012
August represents a quieter, slower, vacation time for many. However, for Joyce and me this was not the case. Along with a fast pace at work and the aftermath of publishing two books, we prepared for and attended three shows in August – the main American Numismatic Association (ANA) 5 ½ day extravaganza in Philadelphia, the regional Blue Ridge show in Dalton, Georgia the following week, and Westford MA Sunday August 26 2012.
I’ve been to quite a few ANA shows over the year, always as a spectator or perhaps a presenter. But I’ve never been a dealer set up nor have I exhibited at ANA. This year we did both discovering what we knew – sitting behind the table at this show is quite different from walking the floor with time to participate in the events. We decided on an early start, going down Sunday afternoon so that we could be ready for a Monday evening set up. Monday came, the set up was well executed by ANA and we caught up with some friends even as we were setting up our table and exhibit.
This spring, I completed a type set of Confederate paper money supplemented with the fantasy XX-2 and XX-3 (T-47 and 48) notes, and some rare varieties such as the finest known Wookey Hole Mill T-41 PF-4, J Green and Son T-59, NY T-21 and T-24 and some others. Nearly all of the notes were fully framed and above average to choice color. Interestingly the last note I acquired was not a rare type note such as an Indian Princess, it was a nearly fully framed T-61 which I since upgraded to a fully framed note before the exhibit. Joyce and I took quite a bit of time to assemble the exhibit, from picking out new lining backs for the cases, to typing and mounting the labels for the notes and books. In all, the exhibit took 10 cases including one for Confederate books. It was great to see it all displayed that Monday evening and we got a lot of positive feedback and interest during the show. There were a few new collectors born that week who came by our table.
Tuesday saw the opening of the show where Joyce ran the table that morning as I had to do some work. Tuesday saw quite a few people come by and a good flow of business, but nearly all large cents and half cents… we had purchased a major low grade collection of 1790s large cents and a half cent set which saw a lot of action at this show. Wednesday and Thursday were quite different in that we had some major sales, but mostly of Confederate paper money. We had also purchased mostly complete lower grade type set just days before and had it available at the show for sale. We ended up selling more than half the notes at this and the Blue Ridge show the following week – lower grade type is in demand if graded and priced right.
Thursday night was special as it was the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) Bash. This is an annual tradition at the ANA where dozens of authors and bibliophiles gather to celebrate the previous year’s publications and authors, eat and drink a bit and have fun with some good old fashion roasting. I joined Fred Reed at the table where many of the Heritage staff was seated including Steve Ivy as well as Don Kagin. The award ceremonies were interesting and many awards made their way to our table – Fred Reed racking up a few as well as Heritage. Congratulations to Steve Ivy for winning the Clemy – the NLG’s highest honor. Fred and I were also honored to have our book, History of Collecting Confederate States of America Paper Money – 1865-1945, selected the Best U.S. Paper Money Book of the Year.
Friday was another good day, more demand for large cents this day. The afternoon’s slowed down a bit from frenetic mornings, which was a good thing Friday. I was scheduled to present Fred Reed and my book – History of Collecting Confederate States of America Paper Money – 1865-1945 at 3:00PM. The challenge was getting away from the table for most of 75 minutes and getting to the talk on time (which I barely did). The talk was attended by somewhere around a dozen people and was recorded for publication on DVD by David Lisot who does great work.
Saturday saw a slower show, but a lot of retain traffic for lower priced coins. We had our usual 3 boxes of large cents - $10, $15 and $20 coins, and sold a lot of them at this show. In addition to some better type, we sold a lot of more common type notes two, along with a couple of rare varieties. Finally, we had some major large cent purchases to finalize, which we did as Joyce was beginning to pack some of the table. We were on our way by 5:00PM for the 7 hour drive home which was uneventful – the best kind.
We really enjoyed the ANA show including the Society of Paper Money Collectors (SPMC), Early American Coppers (EAC) and NLG meetings. At the SPMC meeting, Wendell Wolka presented his research into additional American Bank Note Company Confederate Montgomery notes that were never issued due to War. We sold all of the books we brought, more than two cases with many of the two new Confederate books (Confederate Currency and History of Collecting Confederate States of America Paper Money – 1865-1945) as well as the 2008 guide selling. Despite being expensive, it was worth attending, though a bit long at 5 ½ days. We will certainly consider Chicago next year.
I’ve been setting up at Blue Ridge in Dalton for a number of years now and this has been an easy show to do when I lived in Atlanta, being only an 80 minute drive away (avoiding Atlanta traffic). However, in 2011, we moved to the Boston, Mass area and now needed to fly to Atlanta before making that drive in a rental car.
We arrived at our hotel pretty late, after midnight due to delays of the flight and late night traffic on I-75 in downtown Atlanta and up the road in construction zones. We settled in to awake early the next morning so we could set up. We missed Thursday’s setup and buying opportunities, but given time constraints it was the best we could do (we also had spent a lot of money purchasing most of a type set a couple of weeks before and a large number of large cents at ANA – so selling was the goal at Blue Ridge).
Blue Ridge is always a good show and this one did not disappoint. We set up starting at 8AM… the paper money takes 5 minutes. The large cents take most of an hour! We ran into several dealer friends including Amanda Sheheen, Randy Shipley, Greg Ton, Tom Reynolds and Doug Bird quite quickly. Also saw David Johnson and Barry Kurian later.
The crowd was quite good Friday morning, but tapered off later in the day. We were quite busy most of the day and sold a large amount of Confederate paper money including some better type and a large run of typical type to more than a couple of people. I did not have much time to get around to the floor on Friday. Friday night saw Joyce and I join Greg Ton and his wife for dinner which was a lot of fun catching up as well as good food.
Saturday was a bit slower, slower than in the past. Yet we did quite a lot of business anyway. This day saw a lot of large cents leave the table and some more Confederate type notes. By the end of this show, about ½ the type set we bought two weeks earlier was sold. We also sold a lot of books, mainly the small historical introduction Confederate Currency as it was easy to pack for the plane. After I sold out of History of Collecting, the IDR book and the 2008 book, I sent people to Randy Shipley and Kyle Vick both of whom had books for sale.
We drove back to the airport that evening, catching an on time later night trip back to Boston and then home. We really enjoyed this show, the people, the coins and paper money and the books we help many people with.
Today, we set up at the monthly Westford MA show which is a smaller local New England show that attracts people from the six New England states. This show requires us to get up at 5AM and head to the show at 6:30AM so we can set up before 8AM when traffic begins and carries on till about 1PM which is when most pack up and go home. We did well today… selling some Confederate 1864 types notes and others, a few books, a rarer Fugio copper and some large cents. We bought a few low grade cents for the ever popular $10, $15 and $20 buckets too.
Now it is time to work on a new price list for the web site and work on my next two book projects. I’ve been asked on an increasing frequency when I will update the 2008 price guide Confederate book and that project has begun with a target of later 2013 or 2014. Sales have really picked up with the introduction of the mass market Confederate Currency which introduces people to the notes and hobby and suggests Collecting Confederate Paper Money – Field Edition 2008 as the next book to buy. We likely will run out before the new book is available. I am also working on a large cent book project that was put on hold for a while to complete the two books we released this summer. That project is being restarted as well.
Breezy, Blue Skies in Memphis!
June 7-10 2012
I always like going to Memphis as it remains the largest gathering of paper money aficionados anywhere. The 2012 International Paper Money Show was no exception albeit with somewhat subdued numbers of people this year. I’m not quite sure why, but perhaps it was the escalating airfare or perhaps the entrance to the show fees of $7 / day or $20 / show. Certainly the latter kept casual people out that might be beginners – they may not spend a lot of money, but I and some dealers do carry $10, $15 and $20 stuff in addition to the four and five figure material.
My wife Joyce and I flew for the first time in several years as we now live in the Boston, MA area, arriving on Wednesday evening. We immediately ran into Roger Adamek, new Commander of the Trainmen and had a nice discussion about many different things. Saw Stephen Goldsmith of Spink as well as numerous other paper money collectors and dealers including Randy Shipley, Richie Self, Amanda Sheheen, Crutch Williams, and Hugh Shull for the first time in a while. Joyce and I went down to Beale Street, the entertainment district, where a motorcycle show of sorts was going on and it was very crowded. We enjoyed one of several rounds of great Tennessee BBQ that night and other nights along with some shopping and sightseeing. It turned out that day, June 6, was the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Memphis, a Union victory, and we walked the river walk which overlooked the site of the battle on the Mississippi River. The weather was spectacular, best I recall, perfect temperature and blue skies.
Thursday was auction lot viewing and set up. I viewed the Confederate lots and placed some bids. Then we went to the bourse floor to setup. I got Joyce rolling at the table and then went to set up my exhibit – the only T-41 variety set ever assembled including all of the J Whatman varieties, the rare PF-2 and PF-24s, and four Wookey Hole Mill varieties including the finest known PF-4. I was very lucky and diligent over the years to be able to assemble this and there are several suitors, though it is largely sold already. We spent most of our time talking with friends and looking around the floor.
There was not much in the auction from neither a Confederate paper money viewpoint nor a Federal Civil War era large type viewpoint, at least anything that I needed. We did not attend, but rather, chose to do dinner with the SPMC crowd including President Mark Anderson and several others. A meeting of several board members followed. However, there were a few notes of interest in the auction. One of the most significant lots in the sale was a Camp Lilly T40 note, a rare bird indeed, which I added to my 7.3% interest bearing $100 note collection. Another significant note was a T-39 serial number one which set a record at something north of $6,000 with the juice – serial 1 notes have leapt in value lately. A faked T-70 serial 1 went to the book and hopefully the winner got his / her money back. Most of the auction was 1864 material in slabs going for too high of prices for me. A T-66 in PCGS New 68 PPQ went for $4600!! This was a spectacular blood red note and great margins, but not centered the way I’d expect a New 67 or 68 to be. To me it seemed like a great New 65 or 66 maybe.
Friday opened with the Society of Paper Money Collector’s breakfast, a fun event more should consider attending. As it was, we got something approaching 80 +/- people with good times for all. The SPMC awards were passed out here. I was honored with the Forest Daniel Award for ongoing literary excellence – I was completely surprised, but very appreciative. See the SPMC web site for the complete list. We congratulate all of the winners, especially Tom Denly for winning the Nathan Gold Award for lifetime service to SPMC.
At the table, we had set up Fred Reed and my new book, History of Collecting Confederate States of America Paper Money- 1865-1945, as promised in the pre-show announcement here. We only had one case – 20 books – and they were gone in 90 minutes from the start of the show. We took orders and sold most of three cases more, selling well over 150 books to collectors and friends in the first week ourselves including pre-orders from the previous month. Most of the rest of the print run has been distributed and I have relatively few cases left to personally sell.
Friday afternoon found me along with several other authors and interested parties at the SPMC author’s forum. Unfortunately this is held far from the bourse during a peak period and few attend – hopefully we will change venue next year to make it easier to attend. I’ve attended all of them over the past 7 years or so, missing 2 hours of the bourse, but find it worth it as these are very educational meetings. Fred and I were on the agenda first and I led the discussion taking the audience through what was in the book, History of Collecting Confederate States of America Paper Money – 1865-1945, and our findings. A lot of discussion ensued and I had to cut it short to allow for Carlson Chambliss to take the stage to discuss MPCs. He did an illustrated in color catalogue on these and took us through it.
Following Carlson was Dr. Stephen Feller who was been doing research into the historical price trends of Montgomery notes with data from nearly 150 years of auction results. He presented his methodology and results showing that Montgomery notes appreciated modestly when adjusted for inflation from 1865 to 1950, but then took off yielding something like 9-10% compounded annually through 2011. It was fascinating and I found his approach thorough, though adjusting for grade differences and evolution is tough and not precise. I did agree with his general conclusions that Montgomery notes were a good investment over the last 60 years. What would be an interesting next step is to look at results in 10 and 20 year increments – as this is more in line with most collectors’ time horizons, though I know some who’ve been at it 60 years. As a curiosity point, I checked T-68 with a couple of data points as a quick and dirty comparison and found it was even stronger if you bought them right. In 1885 at the Barrett sale, a lot of 88 1864 $10 T-68s went for $0.02 in Fine to Unc which today would be worth an average of $30 each. Barratt’s Montgomery $1000 T-1 in high grade went for $10.70 and would likely bring $60,000 to $100,000 + /- today depending on how “Uncirculated” the note was. In the 1880s, $10.70 might buy about 50,000 T-68s which actually would have been possible in some circumstances then as hoards of the worthless 1864 notes were around. Today those T-68s would be worth about $1.5 million – probably one of the greatest returns on any investment anywhere if someone could have lived the 160-170 +/- years to be old enough to buy and still have time to enjoy it.
Wendell Wolka followed with his research into other Confederate notes that may have been in process of being developed and perhaps even printed by the New York-based National Bank Note Co. and American Bank Note Company. These additional type notes would be beyond the well known Montgomery notes, Type 1 through Type 4. However as War broke out in April, NY printer operations in support of the Confederacy ceased, and Confederate Secretary of the Treasury Memminger sought alternative suppliers in New Orleans and Richmond. Wendell did not have a lot of time to present at the Author’s forum but was on the agenda later at 3pm. Unfortunately, I could not attend his presentation as I had to attend to business at the table which had become brisk. I look forward to hearing more about this research.
We had a great show Friday. We sold several mid range type notes, a smattering of Southern State and obsolete notes, some lesser type and variety notes, and two major extremely rare varieties, T-9 PF-8 and T-28 PF-11. We also had a steady stream of Confederate deals come to the table of which we were strong buyers.
Saturday morning found me attending the SPMC board meeting which is always productive as we advance the Society’s business. Many things were discussed, but I must point out two:
Shawn Hewitt led the web site development team. He did an outstanding job and it shows – www.spmc.org . Shawn won the Founder’s Award for his contribution last year which I wholeheartedly support.
I discussed the SPMC book publishing proposal which is being finalized and soon to be made public in Paper Money magazine. SPMC is providing guidelines to help authors publish books.
The meeting ended at 10AM and it was a race for the bourse floor for me as I had several people who had new variety discoveries, condition census additions and even some rare type to show me. These will be added to the next edition of the standard Confederate money catalogue, Collecting Confederate Paper Moneyto be published relatively soon. I also had several buying and selling deals to close that day.
I also had promoted the show to the large cent community and several Early American Coppers collectors attended the show. These are some of my favorite numismatic items. I sold a range of common and better large cents to supplement the paper money business. In a few cases, some of the collectors were interested in both!
Sunday found us packing up the exhibit while closing out business with a couple of dealers and collectors. Unlike in recent years when we drove and had lots of time to socialize, we had a mid-afternoon flight back to Boston and had to scurry to get to the airport. We had a great show and a great time at Memphis and I want to commend Doug Davis and Lyn Knight and all of the others for a great, well run show. Hope to see you soon at a show (such as ANA in Philly or Blue Ridge in Dalton, GA) or next year at Memphis!
History of Collecting Confederate States of America Paper Money Book Available in Quantity
We received our new book - History of Collecting Confederate States of America Paper Money - 1865 - 1945 by Pierre Fricke and Fred Reed earlier this week in quantity. Published and available in very limited quantity in late April, we made an appearance at the Early American Coppers Convention and discussed the book with David Lisot. One full case of 20 copies was available in Memphis. These 20 copies were gone by 10:30 AM on Friday and we took additional orders. We are now fulfilling orders and expect to work through the backlog by Monday.
Thanks to all those who helped and have already purchased the book. We are getting great reviews including from some who literally read the book Friday night cover-to-cover (it is an easy and fun read) and came up to us on Saturday. The DVD is rich with content (more than 1000 additional pages to the 340 in the book) and will take some time to explore, but has tools for everyone, from the beginning collector to the advanced variety collectory and student of these notes.
Spring 2012 Shows – Baltimore, Willimantic, GNA, EAC, TNA, Westford
Springtime marks nicer weather, more outdoor activities and a wealth of coin and paper money shows. This year was no exception (except we were lucky enough to have an Atlanta winter here in Massachusetts). Now that I live in the Northeast (again), we are now hitting a wider variety of shows than we did before.
Not the least of these shows is Baltimore, probably one of the best shows of the year… we plan on attending this in the Spring and Fall. Baltimore is just less than 400 miles from where we live, but it is a hard 400 miles through heavily populated and tolled areas, much different than driving from Atlanta to Orlando for FUN. We drove the 7+ hour drive on Wednesday night so we could attend all three of the major days of the event. We set up Thursday midday and got off to a slow start. It did not seem to be as strong of a show as the Fall event was. Over the next three days we did quite well though. We sold quite a bit of moderate Confederate type and southern state notes – things like T-26s, T-62s, and a bunch of 1864 material which is very popular. We also sold a lot of large cents, particularly out of the $10, $15 and $20 boxes which are always favorites for people to go through. We continually add new material to these boxes to keep them fresh and interesting.
April 1 saw the Willimantic, Conn show, a one day affair in eastern Connecticut that turned out to be a very good show for selling both Confederate money and large cents, particularly from the under $100 case. Here we did well with some T-39-40-41 notes as well as bought some Confederate money. This was a one day show that was easy to do and get to from anywhere in New England or eastern NY.
During this time I was finalizing the final camera ready copies of History of Collecting Confederate States of America Paper Money – 1865-1945 by myself and Fred Reed as well as another book you will hear more about later this summer, a 56 page mass market book simply titled Confederate Currency. It seems like you think you are done with a book when you send it to the company for final layout or you send the layout to the printer, but you’d be wrong. There is lots of ongoing work even as the book is being delivered and then shipped to the first orders.
At the end of April, Joyce and I travelled to Dalton GA via Atlanta to attend the Georgia Numismatic Association show. In the past, I’ve preferred Blue Ridge, but now I must say these shows are tied in terms of how good they are. At GNA I had one of my best shows ever, selling a major Texas Republic $500 note (one of the best around for grade and condition/eye appeal) and Confederate rare varieties which were supplemented by some large cent sales. We caught up with a bunch of friends from both the CSA and early copper communities. I also picked up a few T-39-40-41 military and other for my collection (I am a strong buyer of these notes).
A week later in May saw Early American Coppers Convention (EAC). This ranks up at the top of my list for coin and paper money events due to the in-depth nature of the event from a presentation, research quality of dealers, and overall camaraderie. We were set up next to the always fun Brad Karoleff (who also called the EAC private sale). We were busy most of the time, and I did not get a chance to attend as many of the presentations as I would’ve liked. There were many people to catch up with, approximately 300 in attendance. This was the first show I had a copy of Fred and my book History of Collecting Confederate States of America Paper Money – 1865-1945and I managed to get David Lisot to do a 2 minute video of my at the table talking about it. Coincidentally, two people were looking at CSA paper money and we brought them into the video which made it even more special (I actually sold a good amount of CSA and some obsolete currency at this copper convention). The auction on Saturday night was well attended (much different than most these days where people bid on the Internet or phone). There were at least 170 to 200 people in the room when it began. This is a private sale open only to members of EAC show there is no phone nor Internet bidding, though mail bids and dealers carrying others bids were accepted. These are social events in and of themselves and people have a lot of fun.
The Texas Numismatic Association show was next in mid-May in Ft. Worth. I’ve not been to this show since the late 1980s/early 1990s when I lived in Austin TX. This show is about ¾ the size of GNA and not as well attended. However, it was well put together and we did quite well selling especially Texas notes, some Confederate and some large cents, though not as strong in the latter as back east. A few of the CSA dealers were present and we caught up with them as well as others I’ve not seen in a while. Another bright spot was the auction by Spink Smythe and ran by Stephen Goldsmith. There was a nice run of Confederate material and a large run of Confederate bonds. The competition was significant for the Confederate paper money, though there were really good deals in the bonds. I commend Steve for doing a great job cataloging this Confederate material and heard from many others who appreciate his efforts to do it right.
There is a monthly show in Westford, MA that I’ve become a regular at that has a good Sunday morning crowd. In May, the show was Memorial Day weekend, May 27. I did not have high expectations; however, with a major large cent and a Confederate sale along with a number of sales out of the large cent boxes, three CSA paper money books and one IDR book, we did great. The next one of these is June 24.
Next up is the big Memphis paper money show this coming weekend. It is another of those shows at the top of the list for me, especially since Lyn Knight has improved it so much. I will be at Table #104 with a limited number of Fred and I’s new book. I also will be exhibiting a complete variety set of T-41 Confederate notes, the first time ever assembled, using the research done by Ares, Ball and many others to finally nail down what makes sense to call a variety in T-41 as documented in Collecting Confederate Paper Money – Field Edition 2008. (We still have to redo T-39-40 which are broken right now in the Bradbeer / Criswell as well as the Fricke variety system).
Hope to see you in Memphis,
Some Things We Learned on the History of Collecting Confederate Paper Money Project
Pierre Fricke writes:
We wrote the book to provide a view of how people collected Confederate paper money over the years in a complete context ordered by time with vignettes of the people, collections, books, auctions, dealers, events as a backdrop - including touching on related areas such as CSA "coins", Southern States paper money and CSA Bonds.
We also wanted a book to put the condition census of rare notes and provenance in context which is included on the DVD. There are also many other collecting tools such as checklists, exhibit lists, old auction catalogs' CSA sections, recent auction results and 7 years' worth of my blog articles on the DVD.
As we see carrying on today, people collected these fascinating artifacts of one of the most significant periods in US history in a variety of ways and from the wealthy collecting thousands of notes to the modest which can also be an interesting collection. We stopped at 1945 as the book was passing 300 pages (it ended up being 340) and had plenty more to add from 1945-2015. We wanted an affordable, high value package that was easy to pick up and read and not be too big and intimidating. It will take us a few more years to get 1945-2015-16 done and wanted something out during the 150th anniversary.
Several things were learned... ten come to mind tonight.
1. Collecting CSA paper money started in earnest in the numismatic sense in 1865. Mostly in Boston in the northeast down to Richmond Virginia.
2. It took time to get to stable type categorization system. Actually did not happen until the 1960s when Criswell's type system took hold (with some arguable errors or items of contention one might add). The variety system continues to evolve, which you can see across the various books and auctions of the period (and now in the 21st century again - Volume 2 topic).
3. Counterfeits did not become more popular until after this period.
4. The so-called "essay" notes or fantasy notes T-47/XX-2 and T-48/XX-3 were not sought out by the vast majority of these earlier collectors - later popularized by Chase and especially Criswell post 1945. (An aside, there is little chance these are "essays" in the sense of "proofs" as is commonly thought of an essay as the quality is poor and there are too many of them). Still, they are fascinating and a great add to a type set.
5. CSA paper money did not just go up in value, though it increased greatly over the 1865-1945 period driven by more collectors/interest and inflation. The 1890s and 1930s were tough on CSA paper money (and many other things as these were depression years mostly).
6. Most collectors focused on the major designs (types) and interesting varieties. Many collectors also had plate letter/number (plen) sets, e.g., A-H of the major varieties which drove huge collections of thousands of notes - but most of these were very cheap... many notes for less than 0.01 each. A few went for all documented varieties - none that we know of got there during the period (Dr Ball in his 1987 sale remains the closest, though the potential exists for at least one 21st century collector (not me, someone West of the Misssissippi River) to get closer - no one has achieved what Dan Holmes did in large cents (complete early date variety collection - missing only two from later series) yet - may never happen).
7. While there was some interest in other types of error, military signature issues on $100 7.3% interest notes and other non-variety anomalies, collecting these became more popular in the past 20 years - topic for volume 2.
8. Many of the CSA collectors also had significant interests in other areas of numismatics - especially early US coins (large cents being most popular) and obsolete / colonial paper money.
9. CSA paper money was not plated much at all during this period in the auction catalogs - these plates were mostly reserved for early American coins (up to 1815, though some later issues too) from colonials to gold.
10. Grading interpretations were all over the map... in general, grading was not much of an issue during this early period as most CSA paper money was "cheap" and had shallow price curves (people looked for an example that was decent, but most did not drive hard for census level notes). What we call VF-XF or better might have been called Uncirculated. Today this is a different situation with higher prices and steep price curves for some types and varieties - another volume 2 topic.
Fred Reed writes:
The only thing that I'd add to the excellent commentary that Pierre sent you about our new book is that these early first Confederate collectors were for the most part really more antiquarians than hobbyists. They were studious and meticulous, albeit voracious in their antiquarian appetites.
They were interested in everything antique (including genealogy, autographs, paper documents, letters and printed ephemera), and these curious rebel notes were part of an overall interest in times past. Many of these first collectors, of course, also had personal remembrances of the war; some had served (mostly in the Union Army), and these notes were curios, and for the Yankees evidences that the rebellion was not only a "lost cause" but a very flawed one at that.
Gold equivalency of US dollar now equals value of Confederate Currency on eve of General Lee’s Surrender
In the past year, an ounce of gold has crossed the $1,500 threshold and has hit new records, approaching $2,000 at one point. Believe it or not, in terms of gold equivalency, the US dollar is now worth less than the value of $1 Confederate on the eve of General Lee’s surrender in the Civil War. Ben Bernanke may not be worried about inflation, but the South experienced a nasty bout of hyperinflation with lingering effects due to its loose monetary policy. The same could be in store of the U.S, but first a little history.
The Confederate States of America began in early 1861 with much fanfare and a great deal of hope of independence. On March 9th the Confederate Congress authorized funding the government with bonds and the creation of paper money, starting with large denomination, interest bearing notes. $1,000,000 was authorized which resulted in 607 $1,000 and $500 notes and 1,606 $100 and $50 notes being issued. At their issue, these notes were almost at parity with their equivalent in gold. With war breaking out on April 12, 1861, the Confederate government was forced to issue much larger quantities of fiat paper money to facilitate internal commerce while it collected all available gold and silver and issued bonds to facilitate international trade. By 1864, the last series of Confederate paper, the well known red notes with blue backs were being printed by the millions. By March 1865, more than $500 million Confederate was in circulation, a staggering sum of money in the 1860s. This massive increase in the Confederate money supply, not backed by anything but faith in the government along with failure on the battlefield drove Confederate paper money to $70 for $1 in gold (slightly less than 1/20 ounce) by April 1, 1865.
On the night of April 2, 1865, General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia abandoned the capital of the Confederate States of America, Richmond Virginia. With Union General Grant's Army of the Potomac pressing across the front with far superior numbers and equipment, Lee sought refuge in the hills to the west of Richmond. And with General Sherman's army in North Carolina pressuring the much smaller Confederate army facing him, the end was near for the Confederate States of America. Indeed, within a week, General Lee would surrender on April 9, 1865 and on April 26, 1865, General Johnston surrendered in North Carolina. The Confederate dollar fell from $70 Confederate to buy $1 gold on April 1 to $100 on April 10 with the last recorded value at $1,200 Confederate dollars to $1 gold on May 1, 1865. The last Confederate land forces were surrendered by Native American Brigadier General Stand Watie on June 23, 1865.
The decision by the Confederate leaders to print money to fund their war efforts resulted in higher prices for all goods. The price of coffee soared (due also in part to the Union blockade) and people took to making their own brews consisting of tiny bits of coffee grounds combined with cornmeal or roasted beets. A cookbook published in the South in 1863 had a recipe for apple pie without apples. Transactions normally funded through currency broke down as inflation spread and for many, especially those outside of the cities, bartering became the only means to exchange goods. Counterfeiting was rampant and put further stress on the currency. In order to fund the war effort and provide sustenance to its soldiers, the Southern government authorized “impressments” of farm goods, paying below market for staples in exchange for Confederate currency or IOUs. By January 1865, factory workers in Richmond were earning $10 a day, but a barrel of flour cost $1,000.
There are vast differences between the situations facing the Confederacy in April 1865 and the United States of today. The Confederacy was in terminal decline and the US economy today remains the world’s largest with a GDP of $14 trillion. However, many economists are warning that our easy monetary policy puts us in the cross hairs for uncontrollable inflation. Although the 14th Amendment voided the debts of the Confederate government, per capita income in the South plummeted during the War and did not recover until well into the 20th century.
As of April 2, 1865, one ounce of gold could be bought with about $1,450, Confederate.
As of April 21, 2012, one ounce of gold could be bought with about $1,650, USA.
The William Kelly Confederate Paper Money Sale – The Main Body of His Collection
I attended the William H. Kelly Confederate paper money sale held in conjunction with the FUN show in Orlando. Heritage auctions conducted the sale on Thursday night, January 5, 2012.
William Kelly collected over the last quarter century of the 20th century focusing on building four complete Confederate money type sets, building eight sets of Montgomery notes, and adding a number of major rare varieties to his collection – making the Kelly collection one of the major collections offered (both publicly and privately) over the past century. Indeed, the hallmark of this sale was the 32 Montgomery notes – eight of each type ($1000, $500, $100, $50) – a quantity never before offered in one sale. The last major sales of Confederate notes were the Western Reserve sale and Mayer sale of Montgomery notes (13 examples) in 2007. The Western Reserve sale was noted for its breadth and depth in rare varieties and variety scope in general. The Kelly sale was noted for Montgomery notes. An aside, it would be interesting to conduct a whist match between Kelly’s collection and the Western Reserve Collection sold in 2007. I believe Kelly realized more money, but the Western Reserve collection would win the whist match due to completeness and larger spread of different rarities. Both are great collections in their own right!
This sale would give us an idea of what mid-grade type as well as some better type notes that were cancelled or had problems would go for at auction. However, due to 32 Montgomery notes, many players’ finances were constrained for the rest of the sale which would impact prices realized at this particular moment in time as well as sales of Confederate money on the bourse floor.
Like all major currency offered in Heritage sales, these Confederate notes were third party graded, in this case primarily by PCGS. I generally like PCGS as the more consistent third party graders of the major two firms. I still like CC&A the best for being the most conservative and using collector-oriented grading, however, PCGS is quite respectable. They’ve become quite adept at grading uncirculated notes as well as detecting problems and repairs. I disagree with their definition of VF – most of their F-15 to VF-30 notes grade somewhat lower on the collector-oriented scale. They also use “Choice” to mean something different than eye appeal – they use it to designate a note with less circulation than the base grade, but too much to make the next higher grade. Most collectors view “Choice” as a note with superior cut and eye appeal as documented in Collecting Confederate Paper Money – Field Edition 2008 by Pierre Fricke (me). This will be reflected below where I give my grade and PCGS’s grade.
16267. T-5 PF-1 PCGS Extremely Fine 45 PPQ. This note was pressed and had too many faint folds for XF. Very Fine, plus. $2,185
16268. T-5 PF-1 PCGS Very Fine 35 Apparent. About Very Fine. Cancellations repaired, net Fine. $1,150
16270. T-6 PF-1 PCGS New 62 PPQ. Uncirculated, plus. $2,530
16271. T-6 PF-1 PCGS New 61 Apparent. Not Unc, but AU with edge repairs, net VF. $2,185
16276. T-7 PF-4. PCGS Choice New 63. Choice Uncirculated to me. Nice and it went really cheap! $3,220
16279. T-7 PF-4. PMG Very Fine 25 Net. About Very Fine, net Fine, plus. Some rust/staining, minor. $1,725
16281. T-8 PF-8. PCGS AU 58 PPQ. Choice AU+. Better than the Unc note. $ 805
16282. T-9 PF-2 Rare double for Treasr. PCGS New 62. Uncirculated, plus. Went cheap! $1,495
16284. T-10 PF-16. PCGS Very Fine 25. Choice Fine to Very Fine. $1,495
16286. T-11 PF-4. PCGS Very Fine 25 Apparent. F-VF, net Fine. Good buy. $6,900
16291. T-12 PF-1. PCGS Very Fine 25 Apparent. F-VF to me. Another good buy. $3,450
16293. T-12 PF-1. PCGS Fine 15 Apparent. Fine, net G-VG. $1,150
16301. T-15 PF-1. PCGS Very Fine 35 Apparent. VF-XF-CC, mounting on back. Trimmed into margin at lower right. Not a bad CC note and I believe these are undervalued for nice eye appeal. Opportunity to get a high grade T-15 cheap. $2,760
16302. T-15 PF-1. PCGS Very Fine 35, COC. VF+-COC to me. $1,955
16303. T-15 PF-1. PCGS Very Fine 25 Apparent, CC. Fine, plus-cut-cancelled. $2,760
16305. T-16 PF-10 Whatman. PMG Very Fine 30. VF, plus. A steal. $ 519
16308. T-17 PF-2. PCGS Very Fine 25. F-VF to me. $1,035
16310. T-19 PF-1. PCGS Very Fine 30 Apparent. F-VF, net Fine. Too cheap. $2,300
16312. T-19 PF-1. PCGS Very Fine 25 cut-out cancelled. Fine, plus-COC. $ 891
16314. T-19 PF-1. PCGS Very Fine 25 Apparent. About VF, net Fine. Repaired. $1,840
16316. T-20 PF-9. PCGS Very Fine 25 Apparent. F-VF, net Fine. $ 288
16317. T-20 PF-13 Uncut sheet of 10 notes. VF $4,025
16318. T-22 PF-1. PCGS Very Fine 35. Very Fine, plus. Nice and good buy! $1,495
16320. T-22 PF-1. PCGS Very Fine 30 PPQ. Choice About VF to me. Another steal. $1,725
16324. T-22 PF-1. PCGS Very Fine 25. F-VF. $1,265
16328. T-23 PF-1. PCGS Very Fine 30. VF to me. $4,313
16332. T-23 PF-3 Rare. PCGS Very Fine 25. F-VF. $5,175
16337. T-24 PF-1 “Reoeivable” error. PCGS Very Fine 25 Apparent. F-VF-CC. This error is actually a “C” that is virtually closed and bleeds together. It appears on several different varieties of T-24 and no longer commands a significant premium. $ 403
16339. T-27 PF-1. PCGS Very Fine 20. Fine, plus. Trimmed into margin upper right. Much better than most and a rare opportunity. Went cheap… Rarest Type by census though closing in on T-2. $18,975
16341. T-27 PF-1. PCGS Fine 12 Apparent, CC. Fine-CC. Trimmed into upper margin. A good buy. $10,350
16342. T-27 PF-1. PCGS Very Good 10, COC. VG-COC. Great opportunity to get a T-27 for less than $5K that is decent. Most (including me) had spent all their money by this point! $4,025
16343. T-29 PF-1. PCGS Very Fine 35, CC. VF-CC and pressed. Nice color. $ 575
16346. T-31 PF-1. PCGS Very Fine 25 PPQ. F-VF to me. $1,840
16347. T-31 PF-1. PCGS Very Fine 25. VF, net F-VF. $1,093
16349. T-32 PF-2. PCGS Extremely Fine 40 PPQ. XF. Rare this nice. Cheap! $5,750
16352. T-32 PF-2. PCGS Fine 15 Apparent. Pen cancelled and major repairs. G-VG to me. This is the infamous T-32A in Criswell’s 1996 book with black underprint. There are several problems with this listing in his book. A true, original black overprint would be a T-32 PF-4 new variety, not a new type. But worse, this black overprint was added post War. Rationale – The underprint was nearly pristine, Uncirculated… on a Good to Very Good note. I compared it to the XF T-32 orange underprint in lot 16349 under 10x magnification. The XF note underprint had more wear on it than this G-VG black did! Further, the signatures appeared to be under the black underprint where on the orange note they were clearly above the underprint. Still an interesting post-War curiousity and worth something on a historical basis. Not $29,000 hammer, though.
16355. T-33 PF-8 State II. Rare. PCGS Very Fine 30 Apparent. About Very Fine. Cheap. $ 575
16360. T-35 PF-1. PCGS Very Fine 25 Apparent, COC. Fine, plus, net VG-F-COC to me. $9,775
16361. T-35 PF-1. PCGS Very Fine 25 Apparent. F-VF, net Fine. About right. $32,200
16362. T-35 PF-1. PCGS Fine 12 Apparent. Very Good, plus, net G-VG. $13,225
16364. T-38 PF-1. PCGS Very Fine 20. Fine, plus to me. Nice. $4,025
16366. T-38 PF-1. PCGS Fine 12 Apparent. Very Good. $ 633
16369. T-39 PF-9 Military issue – Wharton. PMG 62. AU to me. A more common military issue. $ 546
16370. T-39 PF-16. Military issue – Tilton. PCGS New 61. Unc. A more common military issue. $ 403
16371. T-39 PF-1. James Miller Depositary in Wilmington NC. PCGS Extremely Fine 45 Apparent. XF to me. $ 431
16373. T-40 PF-5. P. B. Bird. 2 known. PMG Very Fine 30. VF to me. Cheap. $ 518
16374. T-41 PF-11. PCGS Gem New 66 PPQ. Gem Unc. Cheap compared to recent prices realized. $ 460
16408. XX-3 T-48. PCGS Very Fine 20 Apparent. F-VF. $7,475
16409. T-50 PF-18 Double Ratification error. PMG Very Fine 25. About VF. A steal and underrated. $1,955
16410. T-51 PF-13 Double transfer error. PMG Fine 15 Net. F-VF, net F $ 345
16411. T-52 PF-9IB. Inverted back. Commonest IB. PCGS AU 50. AU, net XF. Strong price. $2,300
16412. T-52 PF21IB. Inverted back. Rare. PCGS Very Fine 20. Fine, plus. Good buy. $2,415
16416. T-59 PF-24. Double date stamp error. PCGS Very Fine 30. VF. $ 288
16417. T-59 PF-12IB. Inverted back. Double date stamp error. PCGS Very Fine 25 PPQ. F-VF. A steal. $2,990
16420. T-64 PF-1 (really PF-3 dark red). PCGS AU 58 PPQ. AU, choice color. $1,495
A good number of the notes in this section were not Kelly’s notes, especially a lot of the T-39-41 miliatry issuers. There were a couple of records set for price. Both T-41 Wookey Hole Mill notes set new records. The T-52 PF-9IB inverted back was a record as well. One of the military notes over $1,000 was a new record (at least publicly). However, there were a lot of really good deals in this section as a lot of money had been drained from the community by the 32 Montgomery notes. There were a lot more notes in the Internet only section that sold after the FUN show ended. There were some really good buys there too.
I congratulate Bill Kelly for putting together a great collection and allowing us to have the opportunity to acquire some of these notes.
Have fun and enjoy!
The William Kelly Confederate Paper Money Sale – The Montgomery Collection
I attended the William H. Kelly Confederate paper money sale held in conjunction with the FUN show in Orlando. Heritage auctions conducted the sale on Thursday night, January 5, 2012. We (my wife and I) arrived in Orlando Sunday, New Year’s Day to stay with a long time friend and get a jump on viewing many lots in this sale. Heading to Florida during the winter is always a well anticipated event, especially to see these friends and visit this FUN show. The company, weather and event would prove to be excellent, more so than most.
William Kelly collected over the last quarter century of the 20th century focusing on building four complete Confederate money type sets, building eight sets of Montgomery notes, and adding a number of major rare varieties to his collection – making the Kelly collection one of the major collections offered (both publicly and privately) over the past century. Indeed, the hallmark of this sale was the 32 Montgomery notes – eight of each type ($1000, $500, $100, $50) – a quantity never before offered in one sale. The last major sales of Confederate notes were the Western Reserve sale and Mayer sale of Montgomery notes (13 examples) in 2007. The Western Reserve sale was noted for its breadth and depth in rare varieties and variety scope in general. The Kelly sale was noted for Montgomery notes. This sale would give us an idea of what mid-to-nicer Montgomery notes were worth on the open market. The Montgomery note market has strengthened with the 150th anniversary of the War for Southern Independence (so-called Civil War) as compared with 2007 where 11 of the 13 Montgomery notes went to dealers. Given how many were offered, we would likely see a number go wholesale to dealers who would then resell them privately or on a public list or table. We will focus on the Montgomery notes in this article while the rest of the sale will be covered in a future article.
We arrived in the room early for several reasons – catch up with old and new friends, grab dinner served by Heritage, and watch the Southern State sale. The room was quite crowded and a good number stayed for the Kelly Confederate sale which followed Obsolete and Southern State. The major dealers present were I, Randy Shipley and Greg Ton. Other dealers bidding included Fred Bart, a noted Federal currency dealer who also deals in Confederate notes from time to time. Several major collectors were present as was William Kelly himself. This was the best time in recent memory to add one or more Montgomery notes to your collection – certainly that was one of my motivations (I am getting very close to completing my second type set – first one to be complete including the Big 6).
Like all major currency offered in Heritage sales, these Montgomery notes were third party graded, in this case by PCGS. I generally like PCGS as the more consistent third party graders of the major two firms. I still like CC&A the best for being the most conservative and using collector-oriented grading, however, PCGS is quite respectable. They’ve become quite adept at grading uncirculated notes as well as detecting problems and repairs. I disagree with their definition of VF – most of their F-15 to VF-30 notes grade somewhat lower on the collector-oriented scale. They also use “Choice” to mean something different than eye appeal – they use it to designate a note with less circulation than the base grade, but too much to make the next higher grade. This will be reflected below where I give my grade and PCGS’s grade.
16233. T-1 PF-1 PCGS Choice About New 58 Apparent. This note was nowhere near apparent AU to me. AU, net Fine with repaired cut-cancels and punch out cancels. $20,125
16234. T-1 PF-1 PCGS Extremely Fine 45 POC and CC. XF-AU punch out cancels and cut-cancelled. $20,125
16235. T-1 PF-1 PCGS Extremely Fine 40 Apparent. XF+, net VF. 2 punch out cancels expertly repaired along with some minor edge work. This had a nice appearance. $37,375
16236. T-1 PF-1 PCGS Very Fine 35 Apparent. VF+ - cut-cancelled once – closed with invisible archival tape. I liked this one for its color and originality and it did not have holes in it repaired or otherwise. My #1. $27,600
16237. T-1 PF-1 PCGS Very Fine 30 Apparent. F-VF to me, Cut-cancelled and obviously closed. $18,400
16238. T-1 PF-1 PCGS Very Fine 30 Apparent. About Very Fine, net F+ or F-VF. Minor repairs. Nice note… my #2. $27,600
16239. T-1 PF-1 PCGS Very Fine 30 Apparent. F-VF, punch out cancels crudely repaired. Net VG. $19,550
16240. T-1 PF-1 PCGS Fine 15. VG-F, original note. Decent lower to mid-grade note. My #3. $20,700
16241. T-2 PF-1 PCGS Extremely Fine 45 PPQ. XF to me and would be choice except this note was heavily washed with the date and signatures very weak. Net VF. Notes of similar grade have brought most of 2x this in the past. However, they had good signatures which are important. $34,500
16242. T-2 PF-1 PCGS Very Fine 35 Apparent. VF-XF. Minor ink erosion on signature on reverse repaired (tiny). Net VF. Nice color and cut. This was my #1 T-2. $27,600
16243. T-2 PF-1 PCGS Very Fine 35 Apparent. VF+. Minor rust spots, net VF. Nice color and cut. This was my close #2. $32,200
16244. T-2 PF-1 PCGS Very Fine 30 PPQ. F-VF to me, cut a bit tight on top margin. Still it is original and a nice T-2. My #3. $27,600
16245. T-2 PF-1 PCGS Very Fine 30 Apparent. About Very Fine to me. 2 punch out cancels filled and redrawn. Net Fine. Nice color. $25,300
16246. T-2 PF-1 PCGS Very Fine 30 Apparent. 6 punch-out cancels and cut-cancelled. About VF. Some mounting damage on back. Net F-VF-POC and CC. $18,400
16247. T-2 PF-1 PCGS Very Fine 30 Apparent. VF to me. Some restoration on signature and minor foxing. Net Fine, plus. $18,400
16248. T-2 PF-1 PCGS Fine 15 Apparent. VG-F to me. Major repairs. Net G-VG. $12,650
16249. T-3 PF-2 PCGS Extremely Fine 40 Apparent. XF. Some rust spots, not too bad. Net VF. $11,500
16250. T-3 PF-2 PCGS Very Fine 35 Apparent. VF-XF, a couple of minor repairs that were hard to see. Net VF. $18,400
16251. T-3 PF-2 PCGS Very Fine 35 Apparent. VF+, a couple of small repairs, center. Net F-VF. $17,250
16252. T-3 PF-1 PCGS Very Fine 35 Apparent. VF-XF. Minor edge splits, ink erosion and foxing spots. Washed and pressed obviously. Net Fine, CC. This is the rarer PF-1. Sold after the sale for about $ 8,625
16253. T-3 PF-1 PCGS Very Fine 30 PPQ. Choice F-VF to me. Nice cut and OK color. Rarer PF-1. $13,800
16254. T-3 PF-1 PCGS Very Fine 30. About VF and nearly choice. $16,100
16255. T-3 PF-1 PCGS Very Fine 30 Apparent. F-VF, some minor mounting remnants on back. $11,500
16256. T-3 PF-1 PCGS Very Fine 30 Apparent. F-VF, 2 punch out cancels repaired. Net VG-F. Sold after the sale for about $ 7,763
16257. T-4 PF-2 PCGS About new 50 Apparent. AU to me, minor repair on corner. Net XF. $16,100
16258. T-4 PF-1 PCGS Extremely Fine 40. VF-XF and nearly choice. Rarer PF-1. $25,300
16259. T-4 PF-2 PCGS Extremely Fine 40. VF-XF, trimmed into left margin. $22,500
16260. T-4 PF-2 PCGS Extremely Fine 40. About XF. Minor ink erosion. Net VF+. $14,375
16261. T-4 PF-2 PCGS Very Fine 35. About XF. $17,250
16262. T-4 PF-2 PCGS Very Fine 25. Single hole punch cancel. Pen cancel. F-VF POC/PC. $ 9,200
16263. T-4 PF-2 PCGS Very Fine 25 Apparent. Edge damage. Punch out cancelled. My grade is F-VF, net VG-F POC. $ 4,600
16264. T-4 PF-1 PCGS Fine 15 Apparent. Major repairs and closed cancellations. My grade is Fine, net G-VG. $ 4,600
This auction has helped define the Montgomery market for the early second decade in the 20th century and the 150th anniversary period. As mentioned, a good number of these went to dealers for resale. However, unlike the Mayer sale in 2007, there was quite a lot of collector bidding – some in the room and a lot on the Internet and phone (some of which was likely other dealers too).
We will cover more of the Kelly Confederate paper money sale in a future article. Have fun and enjoy!
FUN Show Jan 2012 - A Great Event!
I had the pleasure of attending the FUN show in Orlando, FLA this past week. It was a very fun and interesting show. Very well attended. I shared corner table 1135 with Colonial and early Americana expert John Kraljevich.
My wife and I travelled to Austin TX and New Orleans LA to visit family over the holidays. Over the New Year's weekend, I travelled back to Boston to swap out a lot of clothes and pack up my coins and paper money and headed to Orlando. She would join me a day later early in the week. We stayed with old friends in Windemere, FLA in quite luxurious accommodations, which was fun as well as killed the hotel bill :-) !
I went to lot viewing early in the week before most people arrived as there was a major Confederate and Southern state collection in the sale - William Kelly's. There were hundreds of lots to view including 32 Montgomery notes, etc....! I will post a separate blog on the analysis of this sale in the near future.
The show set up was Wednesday afternoon and we immediately met with John and split the table. My wife went to work setting up our large cent inventory while I placed the paper money... note - the paper money is a lot easier and quicker to set up, but she likes arranging the coins! We did some quick business and met with a few friends including Confederate dealers Randy Shipley and Greg Ton who were the other two major CSA dealers in attendance. Also caught up with several friends in the large cent and colonial community - Tom Reynolds, David Johnson, Chris McCawley, Bob Grellman, Greg Hannigan and others.
While my wife was putting out the large cents on the table, I went and set up my large cent collection in the exhibit area - 150 coins showing all the different colors of large cents - a color set. This also can be a great collection for a paper money collector to pursue. For example, 1864 Confederate money comes in a range of colors from light pink, through orange to deep red! Type 33 and Type 21 also presents interesting opportunities for color collections. Then there is the short set of my favorite six type notes - the Southern Bank Note Co (ABNC renamed in New Orleans) $5, $10, $20 and $50 (T-31,22,19 and 15) and the Keatinge & Ball notes made from the Savannah obsolete plate - The $5 T-32 and $10 T-23 notes. I did not compete for an award, but did get lots of discussion going in both the coin and paper money communities that stopped by my table.
The show opened to the public on Thursday and it was packed quite quickly. We saw a lot of activity on large cents, less so on Confederate paper money as people were saving there money for the Thursday night auction. We were quite busy with relatively few short breaks. The good thing about having your wife or a friend with you behind the table is that you can actually get out a little, though I also was saving my money for the auction (where I spent it all and then some! More on that in the other blog).
Friday was the big day and we sold a significant amount of large cents up to a few hundred dollars per coin which is where our inventory is concentrated ($15-$500). We also sold a high end T-38 CSA $2 note Choice Fine+ (slab VF-20 or 25), a rare NY countermarked T-24 $10 note (I love NY CSA paper money - there are only two to get the T-21 and more common T-24), a few trains and hoers (T-39-41), and several 1864 and 1863 notes too. At the end of the day, we packed up and visited with our friends in Windemere (which we would do every night except Thurs when the auction was held).
Saturday turned out to be a good day as well - selling some southern state notes - especially a TX Republic $2 in high grade and choice white and fully framed for the grade. The show was busy up through the end of the day. On Sunday we returned to Boston after a 2-3 week trip to three destinations.
We had a lot of fun at FUN! :-) ... saw a lot of friends and had a good show as a dealer and collector. This is one of my favorite shows along with Memphis Paper Money Show and Early American Coppers. Hope to see you next year!
FUN show in Orlando Florida - Jan 4 - 7. I will have table 1135 with John Kraljevich at the FUN show in Orlando. I will be there Wed afternoon through Saturday afternoon. I will not be there Sunday. I will be exhibiting my Large Cent Color Set in the exhibit area. I also have many new Confederate paper money examples, including many new rare varieties, some of which have not been on the market for several years. Included are NY and Whatman watermarked notes, some printer name errors and others. I will be attending the Confederate sale, so if you need someone to bid for you, please contact me.
Upcoming Shows in November
I will have a table at the PCDA show in Chicago from Thursday afternoon through Saturday afternoon, Nov 10-12, 2011. This show is at the Crowne Plaza O'Hare, 5440 North River Rd., Rosemont, IL, 60018. I will be attending the SPMC meeting at 11AM Friday morning (Mark Anderson is speaking Falun, Sweden: Copper Coin and Currency Numismatic History and encourage you to attend as well. I also will be giving a talk on The History of Collecting Confederate Paper Money on Saturday early afternoon.
We will also have table 1605 at the Whitman Baltimore show Thursday through Saturday (and maybe Sunday morning, maybe not). November 17-20. This is at the Baltimore Convention Center in downtown at One West Pratt St., Baltimore, MD 21201.
We will NOT have a table at the Franklin/Nashville, Tenn show Dec 2-4 nor will we be there due to a conflict. We plan on attending this show in 2012.
We hope to see you at one of these shows!
WALL STREET BOURSE AT MUSEUM OF AMERICAN FINANCE, OCTOBER 21-22, 2011
How it went...
Friday and Saturday were the days of the new Wall St. Bourse show run by John Herzog at the Museum of American Finance. Many of us had a lot of fun at the old Strasburg, Pa show in years gone by and this was John's vision to recreate that community here in New York City. I believe he was successful. It was a great show, from the logistics handling, to the dinner at the famous India House, through to solid attendance of true buyers at the show itself.
There were 22 dealers set up ranging from currency and coins through bonds and stocks and even historical documents and signatures. We set up at 8-9AM Friday with the doors opening at 10AM. We had solid attendance with good sales of both Confederate paper money as well as large cents. Lunch was brought in with a choice of salads and sandwiches on the menu, enabling dealers to remain at their table. Several people who attended the previous Strasburg shows as well as the R.M. Smythe auctions came by and it was great to see them.
The dinner had over 60 people in attendance at the India House, a great setting. There were several announcements and congratulations offered towards the end. One item of note is the transition of downtown NYC to a residential area from just a business district. We noticed the dramatic difference each evening at the new and old restaurants, shops, etc... in the area. There was a stock and bond auction Friday night, but it had nothing for us, so we did not attend.
Saturday saw more activity. We were busy up to the end at 4PM. We sold a lot of Confederate paper money and many, many large cents.... much of it $200 items and less. We also sold most of the books we brought - CSA 2008, IDRS and Trains.
After the show, my wife and I toured around a bit on foot. One thing was the Occupy Wall St protests, something that concerned me, but turned out not to be an issue. Wall St itself (the site of the show at the Museum was 45 Wall St), was locked down and very secure. Probably one of the most secure areas on the planet. The protests were in a park 6 blocks away, adjacent to Ground Zero and near Century 21 discount store (a famous venue we also visited). The protests were peaceful and had a wide variety of people there. There were a lot of police around and we took some pictures and picked up some of the pamphlets to see what the various issues were. Overall, it was an interesting event to visit.
We look forward to next year as John is planning another event. It is an interesting place to visit and the free access to the Museum of American Finance makes it doubly special. Previous Post.
I’ll be at the New York City show at the Museum of American Finance (www.moaf.org) on Friday and Saturday, October 21-22nd. New York has not seen a new numismatic event in many years and this one is expected to be intimate and fine. Twenty dealers will bring coins, stock and bond certificates and bank notes, including U.S. and worldwide rarities in a wide array of topics and subjects such as railroads, mining, autos, aviation, navigation, and an assortment of autographs and other items related to finance and its history.
The show has taken space in the auditorium of the Museum of American Finance at 48 Wall Street in the heart of the financial district. 48 Wall Street was the headquarters of the Bank of New York for 200 years, and the Museum is located on the splendid banking floor. The building and the Museum are very interesting places. Entrance to the Museum is FREE for the two days of the Bourse, so you will have access to both the show and Museum galleries.
If you haven’t been to the Museum, stop in for the show and see the Museum’s wonderful exhibits of financial stories, past and present. You will find the silver coins from the sunken Spanish treasure ship El Cazador, or visit the Alexander Hamilton Room and the notorious Hamilton-Burr dueling statues from the New-York Historical Society, and the "Scandal!" exhibit, with reminders of headlines and Bernie Madoff's Louisville Slugger baseball bat. And don't forget the gold Monopoly set!
An Auction by Archives International Auctions will take place on Friday, October 21, at 8pm at India House, One Hanover Square. For an auction catalogue contact: 201-567-1130 or email email@example.com.
The Wall Street Bourse will be at the Museum of American Finance, 48 Wall Street, Friday and Saturday, October 21-22, 10am-4pm, Admission FREE both days. For information contact: 212-758-8119 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Herzog has led the creation of this new event in the spirit of the old Strasburg, PA show when he owned R.M. Smythe. I really look forward to it and we'll have fun.
If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by. I look forward to seeing you, Pierre Fricke
Whitman Philadelphia Show, September, 2011 Our new Boston address enables us to attend many new shows. One of these is the Philadelphia show conducted by Whitman. This is a 300 mile drive (everywhere but NYC and New England is far from Boston!), that we made Thursday morning to set up Thursday afternoon. The show was already underway. We did get in and set up for a few hours that afternoon and made a few sales. Friday was a good day, especially in the last hour, though the show was not well attended and many dealers had a bad show. I did a lot of wholesale business both on the CSA paper money and large cent fronts. There was some retail business and at least one new collector bought my 2008 book, a T-64 and a T-68. I suspect the observant collector could have snagged some deals at this show due to its slow retail activity.
Starting next year, the Colonial Coin Collectors Club (C4) will have their show in conjunction with the Whitman Philly show which makes it interesting for me to return. I hope that next year is stronger, though I did pretty well despite the relatively weak public attendance. Blue Ridge Coin and Paper Money Show, August, 2011 I attended the Blue Ridge show in Dalton, GA with a table set up. This was my first Dalton show I set up where I needed to fly in from Boston, Ma to Atlanta, Ga and rented a car to drive the last 90 miles to the north. Unfortunately, this is quite a bit more expensive in time and money, but the show was a good one and worthwhile. I was set up by Friday morning, missing the early bird Thursday. This show also conflicted with the ANA show in Chicago, but while some dealers did not attend, the local collector base did, most of whom would not travel to Chicago in preference to the Dalton show.
This show had a good crowd, but there was not as much spending going on here except for lower-end items. I did sell more large cents than CSA and southern paper money, though I did manage to sell quite a bit of the latter, again mainly lower end items. I did manage to sell a few significant train and hoer notes here though. One of the interesting features of this show more than Memphis was the significant family turnout. I managed to sell quite a lot of large cents to kids and parents buying these for their kids. There was interest in the group in CSA paper money too and more than one T-68 found its way into a potential new collection.
Most of the usual Confederate dealers were present and Hugh Shull made his 2011 debut at this show after taking a sabbatical. I managed to catch up with him and others while adding a couple of notes to my CSA type set (the second I have built). Interestingly, while David Johnson and Barry Kurian were present in the large cent community, other large cent dealers went to ANA instead.
On Saturday evening, I returned to the Atlanta airport and flew home on the midnight express, quite satisfied with the show. I will be attending the GNA show in April, but will not set up at the February 2012 Civil War show in Dalton as they do not rent cases and I need to cut back somewhere. I will be looking into the Gettysburg and DC area Civil War shows though where I can drive and bring my own cases. New England Numismatic Association (NENA) - July 2011 We attended our first New England show in July at Manchester, NH about 60 miles north of where we live. This is a similar show to the Dalton, GA Blue Ridge show in that it is a regional show, but it is a bit smaller in terms of number of dealers. On the other hand, there is a plethora of Sunday weekend shows almost every weekend in New England, unlike in the southeast which may siphon some dealers focus away from NENA.
This was a good show. I sold a lot of large cents and more Confederate paper money and books than I expected. I sold several better types to one type collector and several common notes to a variety of kids. I sold quite a lot of better and common large cents, which I did expect, as this region of the country is big time into early American coins. I had more than one passer-by gawk and wonder at the Confederate paper money; they not having seen so much or seen any at all before!
I did a presentation at this show - The History of Collecting Confederate Paper Money - which was well attended. I also joined NENA and attended their meeting which was very friendly and hospitable.
I met a lot of people who I had never met before, some of whom knew my book or a did business with; but also a bunch of new people. The show was well done and promoted and there was a good mix of retail and wholesale business to be had. I will return next year when there will be two shows - one in the spring and one in the fall - vs. one summer show. Memphis Paper Money Show 2011 I had the pleasure of attending the 35th International Paper Money Show in Memphis in mid-June. This was also coincident with the 50th anniversary of the Society of Paper Money Collectors (www.spmc.org ) where I am Vice President. This was Lyn Knight's second show and he made improvements over his first show which was a very well done show itself. Mainly, he arranged the exhibits in a better format and there were a record number of those. Further, he worked with us in the SPMC to have a celebration at the end of the show on day and before his auction. This was a fun celebration with games and recognition, etc...
My wife Joyce and I arrived on Thursday early afternoon and proceeded to check in and then set up the table first. I had one of the tables against the wall near the front (a prime location, I was lucky). I set up two cases of Confederate, southern state and some obsolete paper money. I set up one case of large cents and put out some low priced boxes of large cents too ($15 and $20 coins). I had my 2008 Confederate book, the IDR book and Train book for sale as well.
I also set up an exhibit of contemporary counterfeit Condederate paper money including a complete type set (of those types actually counterfeited less the CT-11 and CT-35 which are unique or nearly so), representatives of the Female Riding Deer note, the extremely rare Transition note (XX-4) from Upham's CT-10 to the Female Riding Deer note, and the Fantasy or "pattern" or "sample" XX-2 (T-47) and XX-3 (T-48) notes. All four of these are nice add-ons to a regular issue type set too. A significant number of Upham imprint and Kromer Hair Dye ad notes complemented the set and really makes it special as these are the historical tie to Upham and Kromer who printed a lot of these souvenirs and fakes. This display took six cases and attracted considerable attention and discussion. It actually is a relatively affordable set to put together and represents the most under appreciated area of Confederate paper money today. Only the CT-64 is a five figure note, and the XX-2, 3 and 4 are four figure notes - almost all of the rest are less than $1,000 and actually less than $200-400-500 with some of the rarer Uphams and Kromer ads excepted.
The show was a good show in terms of sales more than purchases. I sold a lot of rare varieties to a few people. I sold quite a bit of common, less than $100, type notes too. I also sold a couple of better types and a couple of trains. Some southern state and obsolete found new homes too. The low grade large cents were popular and I even sold a couple of better coins, though these tend to do better at coin shows which attract the people interested in them. I sold a bunch of 2008 CSA books and a few IDR and Train books too. Joyce helped sell a lot of stuff and met a lot of long time and new paper money collectors and dealers.
There was not much Confederate paper money in the auction and I did not attend as I had SPMC business to attend to. We met a lot of friends at the show and enjoyed the SPMC events including some dinners and the party. I was the featured speaker at the SPMC meeting and I did an expose on The History of Collecting Confederate Paper Money (the subject of an upcoming two volume book series by Fred Reed and myself). This SPMC meeting was very well attended.
We had a lot of fun as usual. One interesting observation was the crowd was reduced to some degree, perhaps partly due to the economy, and also maybe due to the $20 entrance fee. However, you received $19 or 20 in a variety of world and obsolete paper money facsimiles to spend with dealers. I took in nearly $100 of this and Lyn Knight did redeem it!
Memphis was a bit challenging for my wife and I to attend as we were in the midst of moving from Atlanta, Ga. to the Boston, Ma area and technically were homeless! We've since bought a house in the Boston area, built in 1850 and owned by a pastor and then a former Union Colonel whom I need to learn more about. Feedback on Collecting Confederate Paper Money - Field Edition 2008 I get emails fairly frequently (and letters on occasion) giving feedback on the current Confederate paper money book - Collecting Confederate Paper Money - Field Edition 2008. The vast majority are appreciative and there are some good suggestions too. I recently received this from D. Richard Harrison which, I believe, reflects exactly why we wrote this book (It was the book I wanted when I started collecting in 2000) -
"I would just like to say that I have been collecting CSA and confederate states notes for several years but I still have only a relatively small number in my collection.This is due, in large part, to my prior hesitation to commit to a purchase because I had insufficient information to feel comfortable with the transaction; however, your field guide to collecting confederate currency has greatly increased my rather limited knowledge of the subject. I can now approach dealers and other collectors with a certain sense of confidence and exercise better judgement when contemplating an acquisition. Thank you for your invaluable contribution to this fascinating hobby."
Thanks, Richard, and we'll keep making it better!
Two Big Numbers - 100,000 and 1,000 - April 17, 2011 Last week, the 100,000 unique person (per day) visited CSA Quotes! This comes only slightly more than 2 years after reaching 50,000 unique person-day visits in March 2009. Those first 50,000 visitors spanned 5 years from 2004. These are not page views (average page views are several per person-day visit) or clicks.
The second big number is 1,000. As of last Fall (2010), I personally sold 1,000 Confederate books over a 4 year period. About 100 of those were the 2005 Collecting Confederate Paper Money book, over 100 Confederate IDR books and over 50 Confederate Train and Hoer Issuer books. The rest being the 2008 Confederate paper money book. This count does not include the 2007 CSA Type Edition PDF.
The total sale of Collecting Confederate Paper Money (2005), 2007 type edition ebook PDF ($20, $10 and then free till the 2008 book came out), and the 2008 book top 8,000 with most being the 2008 book. Now I am up to almost 100 Train books sold and more than 150 IDR books sold too.
We thank all of our customers for these purchases and their work to enjoy and advance the hobby!
The Spink Smythe 150th Anniversary Sale - April 12, 2011 150th anniversary of the firing on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, SC by Confederate troops, Spink Smythe will hold a 150th anniversary sale with major Bond and Interim Depository Receipt (IDR) collections. I received the catalog the other day and I must say a job well done! Jim Fitzgerald went to extra length cataloging this auction with great details about many of the lots. Also, he catalogued the IDRs as individual lots (mostly) using the new Tremmel, Fricke, Davis (TFD) numbers, a first in Confederate fiscal history. Dr Ball's collection was much more expansive, however, the IDRs were grouped into large lots with many pieces per lot and no cataloging system (which was the state of the art at the time in 1987).
I have some lots in this auction that I want to point out. Most of the IDRs not beloning to Joe Copeland or Holger are mine. I privately sold a good number of IDRs, but rather than carry the rest to shows, I thought it appropriate to consign them to this sale to complement these other consignments adding to scope of the IDR part of the sale. There are many IDRs in here (mine as well as Joe's and Holger's) that are not readily available and are quite affordable (for now). So take advantage of this opportunity!
Beyond these IDRs, I have a couple of bonds and other items. Two come to mind to note:
Lot 155. A Trans-Mississippi account of army subsistence signed by Major William H Thomas. Great piece of Trans-Mississippi history!
Lot 1141. An otherwise typical Ball 290 Confederate bond with a Train-Hoer (T-39-40-41) interest paid stamp on the reverse! First seen or heard of by me. See Picture!
Hope you have a fun 150th anniversary and win some lots to add to your collection!
April 5, 1861 - The First Confederate Notes - 150 years now Here is a short blurb about the fisrt Montgomery Notes which began to be issued on April 5, 1861. The Treasury contracted the printing and engraving work to the National Bank Note Company in New York. Memminger communicated with G. B. Lamar of the Bank of Republic in New York. On March 13, Memminger instructed Lamar that the notes are to be interest bearing at one cent per day per $100, interest calculations should be rendered on the back of the note and no denominations should be smaller than $50. As these were interest bearing notes, they were not intended for general circulation, and the high denominations generally kept them from being used for that purpose (though they did circulate as evidenced by the circulated survivors). Notes from this First Series tended to be saved, to be endorsed on the back when issued, and to be cancelled when redeemed. Memminger continued communicating with Lamar by letter on March 16 further detailing the purpose of these interest bearing notes; “The notes are, by law, to be at twelve months at one cent per hundred dollars per day; are receivable for all debts except for export duties on cotton; are not legal tender; and should not be fundable (into bonds).We wish to use them for twelve months…”. In letters dates March 22 and 23, Memminger presses Lamar to deliver the notes ahead of the bonds. The bond subscription was still being sold, with the Treasury in communication with various banks looking for support and funding of the Feb 28th $15 million loan. Memminger also inquired if a form for recording interest was to be put on the back of the notes (he may have meant the bonds). Finally, he inquired of Lamar if $1m of the loan would be taken in New York. Memminger received the first lot of 607 of each denomination ($50, $100, $500 and $1000) of the Montgomery interest bearing notes on April 2 with a total face value of $1,001,550) and sent communication back to Lamar confirming this. Memminger was concerned about the delay with the bonds and asked they be sent to New Orleans with all possible speed. Finally, he stated he needed more $50 and $100 Montgomery notes and no more $1000 and $500 as he had “too many” already. This would set up the second printing of Montgomery notes using a half plate with only the $50 and $100.He quickly sent these to Treasurer E. C. Elmore asking him to prepare for issue and keep the appropriate books. The first issued were the $50 (five) and $100 (nineteen) notes on April 5th, most likely in Montgomery itself. These were signed by the Treasurer and Register personally, as were all the Montgomery notes. On April 6, Memminger followed up with Elmore asking him to send some of the new Montgomery Treasury notes to Charleston ($5,000), Mobile ($10,000), New Orleans ($10,000) and Savannah ($5,000) as a first step to introducing them to the public and paying them out.
 Dr Douglas B. Ball considered the second printing of the $50 and $100 Montgomery notes to be a separate variety. These first appeared in Collecting Confederate Paper Money – Field Edition 2008 by Pierre Fricke, building upon Dr. Ball’s research.
Georgia Numismatic Association (GNA) show - April 15-17 This show is held in Dalton, Ga at the convention center up the hill. I will have table #226 to the right as you enter. Go right and go down the 2nd row from the end. I will be on the right near the back. I look forward to seeing you there! Pierre Fricke
New York City Talks - April 8, 2011 I will be in New York City on Friday April 8, 2011 giving talks on The History of Collecting Confederate Paper Money. This is coincident with the 150th anniversary of first Confederate paper money issued (Montgomery notes) on April 5, 1861 and the start of the War on April 12, 1861. The first will be at the Museum of American Finance at 12:30PM sharp. This is open to the public - see this link. The second talk is a private event that evening, open to members of the New York Numismatic Club. I hope to see you there! Pierre Fricke
Dalton Civil War Show - February Friday morning, my wife Joyce and I travelled up to Dalton, Georgia about 85 miles to the north. We arrived and landed a good unloading place by the side loading door. It turns out we did not pay for a table, unlike many shows where you pay for the next one at the previous one. So it was a bit of a scramble, but I managed to get a decent table near the center of the floor (my old table was on the first aisle on the far left, which at this show is good). We proceeded to set up and as my wife was finishing the setup, I wandered around as usual to see who was there, what may be found, etc... I ran into Greg Ton right away and we caught up. Others I saw pretty quickly were Randy Shipley, Phillip Lamb and then Vernon Vallance amongst many others. I did manage to pick up some interesting things that Friday afternoon, some of which have made my train and supplemental lists after the show (see CSA for sale). Saturday is the big day at this show and we had a big day. There were a lot of people in the hall and it was difficult to get out to see the tables which had not been set up the previous afternoon. A lot of people came by. I sold some major rare varieties, a good number of type notes mostly more common, and a lot of inexpensive large cents. I also sold more than my expected quota of books - about 1/2 case of my 2008 Confederate paper money book and a few each of the IDR and Train book. This was a strong show with attendance better than the past few years. Sunday was quite a bit slower as expected, but it was not dead. I had the time to get out and visit with people more while Joyce held the table (and sold quite a few common CSA notes and large cents!). She's also good at selling books, having worked in retail for many years. There was no major occurrence or find at this show and there is no auction to report on. However, I was more in a selling mood than a buying mood having bought a lot of stuff over the past few months. Turned out we were not dissappointed.
I missed the early March Chattanooga show due to a best friend's daughter's wedding in Orlando that weekend. However, I will be setting up at GNA in April 15-17 in Dalton, at Early American Coppers in Portland Oregon on May 12-15, and at the Memphis Paper Money show on June 9-12. I also will be making a significant update to my Southern States for sale list soon. Featured will be a high grade, choice, Texas Republic note set that took several years to complete - many of the notes are as good as you can get technically, including the 3rd or 4th finest known $500 note and all of them have choice to gem eye appeal in cut and color (which is even harder to find than AU or Uncs).
New Confederate Paper Money Article I have an interesting introduction to Confederate Paper Money article in the March 2011 Currency Dealer Newsletter (Greensheet). You may find it at The Coin Dealer Newsletter Site(paper or downloads available).
Spink Smythe to Host 150th Anniversary Sale Spink Smythe will hold a Confederate-focused auction on April 12, 2011, the 150th anniversary of the start of the War for Southern Independence (aka Civil War), at their Dallas Texas offices or nearby. This will be an interesting event selling into a strengthening market. Jim Fitzgerald states that there will be paper money, bonds, IDRs and other historical items associated with the Confederate States offered. I consigned my Confederate Treasury Certificate (IDRs) collection amongst other interesting items (Confederate bond with a T-39, 40, 41 interest paid stamp!). I look forward to thie event and wish them well!
Confederate Paper Money Market Strong at FUN 2011 in Tampa The annual FUN show was help January 5 through 9, 2011 at the Tampa Convention Center downtown. My wife Joyce travelled with me, first to Orlando to visit friends and then over to Tampa to set up at the show. This was the first FUN show I held a table (#232) which I split with the renowned researcher and early Americana expert John Kraljevich. We arrived the morning of the 5th, before the show opened to view auction lots. There was quite a spread of Confederate material in the auction, including most of a type set with the Big 6 and the Fantasy/Pattern T-47/XX-2 note along with a few rare varieties. We proceeded to setup Wed afternoon and immediately we had people looking over our coins and paper money and making purchases. In two cases I set up a large run of Confederate and Southern State paper money for sale and a sizable grouping of large cents in two groups - inexpensive and more expensive. We also had a by-now-feature of my table of 4 boxes of u-pick'em large cents ranging from $5 to $20 (these always sell well).
This was a strong show with lots of people in attendance Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I sold and bought a lot of CSA paper money and large cents. We sold a lot of Confederate paper money books (a lot, these are really selling now with the 150th anniversary in progress). I added three coins to my Fugio Copper (the first US coin) collection, bringing this set up to 36 coins. I added a large cent or two to my color set of large cents. And bought several deals of Confederate paper money for resale. Upgraded one of my Federal Civil War greenbacks too. Hopefully, I will get to updating my lists for sale soon.
John always attracts a lot of people who are interested in colonial Americana including medals. So it was fun meeting people from a different part of the hobby. We had time to catch up on a wide range of things from books to the market to eating out with friends at good dinners.
One of the highlights of the auction and show was a large run of early capped bust half dollars in high grade with a lot of those collectors in attendance. I had the good fortunte to catch up with some of them over dinner one night and attended that part of the auction as well. Early halves seem to be a very strong market with many bidders and a lot of excitment.
I did not attend the Confederate sale due to one of these dinners, however, submitted my bids right before hand after viewing the lots. My general observation is that the Confederate type market is stronger than it has been since 2003, along with other areas of CSA currency collecting as well (I sold a good number of rare varieties and some T-39, 40 and 41s too). All of the notes in the sale were thrid party graded which is becoming the norm. That helps and puts a floor on overgrading. However, one must view the notes to ensure one is getting what they think. In particular, problems and F-VF to VF-XF seem to be weak areas of the grading services, while New notes get good carefuly scrutiny these days by both PMG and PCGS. Most of the notes sold in the sale, with some bringing pretty strong prices. The nicer Montgomery notes went for strong prices so it seems if you are thinking about selling Montgomery notes and were waiting for the market to get better, it is better and it may be a good time to sell.
Here are some of the results of the more significant notes:
15399. T-1 PF-1 PMG VG-8 Net (Good to me) $13,800 15400. T-2 PF-1 PCGS VF-25 Apparent (Net VG) $17,250 (strong) 15401. T-3 PF-2 PCGS VF-25 Apparent (Net F-CC closed) did not sell 15402. T-3 PF-1 PMG VF-25 (VF or so) This is the rarer T-3 variety $20,700 (strong) 15403. T-4 PF-2 PMG VF-35 Net (VF-XF) $20,700 (strong) 15404. T-4 PF-2 PMG VG-8 Net (Good) $ 5,175 15405. T-5 PF-1 PMG New-65 EPQ (Unc) $ 4,313 15407. T-6 PF-1 PMG New-62 Net (Net AU) $ 3,220 15408. T-6 PF-1 PCGS AU-58 PPQ (AU+) $ 3,738 15410. T-7 PF-4 PMG AU-50 (Choice AU) $ 2,990 (cheap!) 15412. T-8 PF-7 PMG New-65 EPQ (Choice Unc) $ 1,725 (strong) 15413. T-9 PF-12 PMG New-65 EPQ (Gem Unc) $ 2,070 (strong) 15416. T-10 PF-13 PMG VF-25 (Choice About VF) $ 1,840 (solid) 15418. T-11 PF-2 PMG VG-8 Net (VG, net Good) Rare double "f" $ 2,300 15419. T-12 PF-1 PCGS VF-25 Apparent (F-VF, net F) $ 4,313 (strong) 15422. T-17 PF-2 PMG VF-25 (Choice About VF, great color) $ 1,265 15424. T-20 PF-11 PCGS VF-25 (F-VF) Rare error - finest known $ 575 (cheap!) 15427. T-22 PF-1 PCGS VF-25 (F-VF) $ 1,093 15430. T-24 PF-1 PMG VF-35 (About XF, choice color) $ 978 15432. T-27 PF-2 A12 plen PMG F-12 Net (F, net VG+) rarest variety of rarest type - did not sell (should've - these are really hard to find this nice...will find several Montgomery sets before finding another this nice) 15436. T-30 PF-1 PMG New-64 EPQ (Choice Unc) $ 1,208 15437. T-31 PF-1 PMG VF-25 Net (About VF, great color) $ 920 (cheap) Several nice T-38s did not sell 15452. T-41 PF-11 PCGS New 66 PPQ (near Superb Gem Unc) $ 633 15454. T-45 PF-1 PMG AU-55 EPQ (AU+, nearly choice) $ 1,840 15455. T-45 PF-1 PMG AU-50 (Choice AU) $ 2,300 (eye appeal trumps EPQ/PPQ!!) 15456. XX-2/T-47 PF-1 PMG F-15 (Choice F+) $ 4,313 15458. T-52 PF-9IB inverted back PMG VF-20 (F-VF-CC) most common IB $ 748 (about right for this variety in this grade) 15469. T-68 PF-21 Serial #1 PMG VF-25 (F-VF) $ 3,738 (strong!!) 15471. $500 CSA Bond Ball 15 PMG VF-35 Net (Bad trim) $ 2,300
The Federal large type sale was quite strong too...this is another market strengthening.
On Saturday morning we held the Society of Paper Money Collectors meeting. As Vice President of SPMC, I had the honor of being the host and we kicked off the 50th anniversary of the Society with a fun meeting. Ron Benice gave a great presentation on Floriday currency. Judith Murphy passed out $150 in macerated currency as souvenirs. If you are not a member, I strongly encourage you to become one - see www.spmc.org - or contact me.
All in all, this was a great show and we had a lot of fun. 4.5 days at the table (mostly,with my wife and John at the table I was able to get away some too!). Our next show is the first weekend in Feb in Dalton Georgia - the Civil War show.
Confederate Material Strong at Fall Shows I had the good fortune to participate in the October 2010 Stacks paper money auction, the Chattanooga coin and paper money show in November, and the Franklin (previously Nashville) Civil War show just a couple of weeks ago. All three of these events were well attended or strong with respect to Confederate paper money interest and interest in the 2008 Confederate book as well as this year's Confederate IDR and Train Issuers books. Let's take a closer look.
In early October, Stack's held a significant paper money auction which included the Q. David Bowers' collection of Confederate paper money. Dave had some great notes, though not a complete type set and no rare varieties. Notable was his set of Montgomery notes and the Thian album with 328 notes (none of the Big 6, but most or all other types and probably some rare varieties) that Thian, himself, put together as a personal album. The cataloguer did a good job describing the notes including attributing varieties (though there was a mistake with the Fricke numbers on the first few lots). I did not view the lots ahead of time, so the grades are as reported by Stack's or a third party grading service. The prices were very strong with new money pursuing the major notes and the Thian album. Two major Federal currency dealers were major players at this sale.
1037.Type 1 PF-1PMG VF-25 Net(repaired)$46,500(!) 1038.Type 2 PF-1PMG VF-25 EPQ$43,125 1039.Type 3 PF-2PMG AU-55 $29,900 1040.Type 4 PF-2PMG VF-30$19,550 1041.Type 5 PF-1PMG AU-55$ 2,990 (cheap) 1042.Type 6 PF-1PMG AU-58 Net (problem noted)$ 2,760 1045.Type 15 PF-1 PMG VF-25 (trimmed into margin; note PMG VF-25 usually equates to F-VF, but I did not view this note)$ 6,900 (cheap) 1048.Type 19 PF-1 PMG VF-25 Net (repaired, but nice trim)$ 5,175 1056.Thian Album - 328 notes, no Big 6, no Fantasy/Essay/Pattern notes$126,500
Some thought this was too high of a price.I believe it is a good price as this is a very rare piece of Confederate collecting history with unique provenance.
My observation is that the rare Confederate types are strengthening and along with most choice Confederate notes, rarities, and 1864 material.Military and place issued T-39-40-41s remain strong.Moderate type (e.g., mid grade 1861 notes) is weak still (a good time to collect it!). With the 150th anniversary on us now, there is increased interest.I see it at the shows and in my on-line correspondence. Also, I believe there will be a lot of opportunity to buy some notes we've not seen on the market lately as people have been holding them in anticipation of a better market and the sesquicentennial. That time has arrived.
The Chattanooga coin and paper money show was held the first weekend in November. I had a table on the back row in the main hall (finally, I was ready to give this show up if still placed in the side area).This table location is far better as it is the first row that people go down. I had three cases of paper money, IDRs, some bonds and large cents.I also was selling my 2008 Confederate paper money book and IDR book (I ran out of train books which I've since replenished). I sold a T-27 note at this show as a major sale. Also a good number of moderately priced 1862-64 notes sold.I sold quite a few low grade large cents out of the you-pick-em boxes I now put out. There were a lot of people in attendance at this show both Friday and Saturday.A lot of action at the bullion dealers' tables, but some of the rest of us did OK to great too. I bought some notes as well at this show, nothing significant.
This month saw the Nashville Civil War show make its debut in the outskirts of Franklin, Tenn. at the Agricultural Center. It was a large show, but some notable dealers were not present. I had a table on the main floor adjacent to Greg Ton.My wife attended with me and helped at the table as well.We saw many other friends including Phillip Lamb, Randy Shipley, Crutch Williams, Jack Buchert, and Hudson MacDonald to name a few. This show is always interesting and this was no exception. I sold quite a lot of notes of all ranges and a few large cents too. Quite a few books (2008 and IDRs) sold as well. We had some great dinners, saw a lot of interesting stuff, bought a significant amount of paper money and some Trans-Miss. IDRs, and had a lot of fun. This show was very well attended and it was announced that Franklin will be its new location permanently.
Next up with be the FUN show in Tampa Jan 5-9, 2010.I will have a table (#232) shared with Colonial and Early Americana dealer John Kraljevich. There is an interesting auction of Confederate paper money with most of a complete type set and a number of other interesting notes as well. The finest known T-20 PF-11, a solid T-27 PF-2, and a strong T-26 PF-31 make up the rarest notes in the sale. It will be interesting to see what the two T-41 PMG New-66 EPQ notes bring.The lone New 67 example brought over $1000 this year and New 65s regularly bring $500. There is an opportunity to pick up some affordable Montgomery notes and a T-35 as well. Please stop by and lets catch up... I am buying and selling at this show.
I've a lot of new material and have not had time to put a list up...I plan to do so in January after FUN. Have fun,Pierre Fricke
ANA and Blue Ridge Shows were fun and good shows. I had the good fortune to attend both the recent ANA and Blue Ridge shows in mid-August 2010. I had the opportunity to visit a lot of people, view some great coins and paper money and catch up on what's going on in the market "on the floor and in the auction room".
I attended Friday and Saturday of the ANA show. Actually I arrived from my employer's office in the area where I had been working that week, Thursday night, in time to attend the Numismatic Literary Guild Bash. As usual, it was a lot of fun and I caught up with a good number of fellow authors. Friday saw the opening of the show for me and a chance to catch up with several people in the early coin community as well as view a few pieces of rare early Federal and Confederate paper money which were offered privately. In addition, I helped coordinate the joint Society of Paper Money Collectors (SPMC) and Early American Coppers (EAC) club table where we met with current and prospective collectors and members.
The ANA auction was held and it had a few significant Condederate paper money items which sold at various levels. Alll were third party graded. This is what we saw (my grade in ( )).
12379. T-4 PF-1 Montgomery with interesting New Orleans stamp and stamp cancelled. PMG Fine 12 Net, has repairs too (Net VG) $6,325 12380. T-10 PF-7 PMG Fine 15 Net (Net VG+) $920 12381. T-11 PF-5 PCGS Apparent VF-25 minor restorations (Net VG) $1,725 12382. T-12 PF-1 PCGS VF-25 (F-VF) $3,220 12383. T-43 PF-1 PCGS VF-35 (VF-XF, market grade XF) $3,738 12385. Ball 13, CR-2A CSA bond. PMG Very Fine 30 $5,463
It was an interesting auction, though short, and a first time a currency sale was held at ANA by Heritage that I recall.
There were a few Montomery notes around, mostly private, including a new to the census high grade T-1 and a mid-grade T-3. I also considered a rare Federal note of 1863, but passed as there were some early Fugio and large cents that were higher priority (and harder to come by) to work on. I saw no rare Confederate varieties nor 7.3% $100 notes with issuers or place issued markings of note.
I went back to work in the Boston area then home to Atlanta where I prepared for the Blue Ridge show. I brought my large cent color set to display for this show, having displayed rare CSA and Federal notes at all shows over the past few years. I also set up 4 boxes of low grade large cents to pick through at $5, 10, 15 and 20 which was a hit (I sold more than 60 coins out of these boxes). Especially gratifying were the young numismatists from age 7 through 14 that came by and looked. One girl of 7 did a project on the pennies of America and picked a large cent out and knew what it was and bought it (with her mom, of course)!
I sold a bunch of Confederate and Southern State notes. I sold quite a few Confederate rare varieties, some common and rare Southern State notes, and a bunch of 1864 CSA notes as well. I bought a few items including a couple of plen error rare varieties, a nice T-29, T-64 in deep red with a low serial number in high grade (much rarer than the high serial number notes), and some common material too. I was more in selling mode than buying mode as I am amassing money to make some significant purchases soon.
It was a great selling show for both large cents and Southern paper money. I visited with many people that I see at this show and was busy most of the time. Had some great dinners and was especially pleased to see the young numismatists. I did a talk on the history of collecting Confederate paper money and watched the Young Numismatists auction which was held before my talk. That was quite exciting as kids with their parents bid with play money on donated lots. It was more contested than a lot of the auctions I've attended with at least 3 dozen kids and parents in a fairly full room! One girl under 10 was crying (like I was after I lost out the $50 Hamilton legal tender note at Memphis!), not winning the lot she wanted.
I has a case of our new Confederate Treasury Certificates (IDR) book and my Confederate Paper Money book of 2008. I sold more of each than I expected, with most of both cases gone (14 books per case). We've more than 400 IDR books sold or in the channels 5 weeks after its general availability. The CSA paper money 2008 book is beginning to run low, so if you want one....best get it soon.
Happy Hunting and have Fun, Pierre
ANA in Boston - August 11-15 2010 I will be attending the ANA show in Boston on Friday and Saturday, August 13 and 14, 2010. I will be walking the floor and spending some time at the shared Society of Paper Money Collector's and Early American Coppers club table. Please contact me via email if you want to meet!
For the first time that I recall, Heritage will be conducting a major paper money auction at the ANA summer show with its usual online bidding as well. There is a lot of stuff in there including a small run of Confederate paper money. They are getting all signficantly valued Confederate paper money third party graded now, it seems. While a short run, there are some interesting notes to check out. T-4 PF-1 with interesting stamps and endorsement (also the rarer of the T-4s) in PMG Fine 12 Net (some repair). T-10 PF-7 rare variety in PMG F-15 Net. T-11 PCGS Apparent VF-25 (!) with minor restoration and a very rare variety to boot, PF-5 the "ies" variety. This one is third in the condition census and has a low starting price (compare to $4K-$8K at retail for common T-11 type in similar grade). T-12 in PCGS VF-25. A high grade T-43, with a much better than average cut at PCGS VF-35 (Abt XF) PPQ. And, unusually, a Ball 13 CR-2A Confederate bond (rare Montgomery, cross-out and issued in Richmond) in a VF-30 PMG holder! Never thought I'd see bonds slabbed! There is a small run of printed (or bogus) backs, some rarer ones too, the T-41s and orange and red backs are tougher in this interesting post-War, 19th century anomaly that is part of the long history of collecting Confederate paper money. The good news for buyers is that Heritage started most everything with quite low starting prices.
The T-11 was in my collection (at Net VG; market grade F-VF) and the T-12 (F-VF; market grade VF) and T-43 (strict, well above average VF-XF; market grade XF and one similar to it sold for $10K +/- in the early 00s) are mine as well. The printed backs are from my collection, too.
The New Memphis was a Good Show! (June 2010)
I had a lot of fun and had a great selling show to boot at the International Paper Money Show in Memphis, Tenn. in mid-June 2010. This was the first show under Lyn Knight's stewardship and he and his team did a good job upgrading the quality of the show.The space within the Memphis Convention Center was put to much better use, with the entrance in the front where it was much nicer, a lot of carpeted area welcoming visitors flanked by Heritage and Knight's large areas.The exhibits were prominently featured down the center horizontal and vertical aisles and there were more of them.All in all, a higher quality show!
I drove up Thursday morning from Atlanta, a six to seven hour drive. Checked in and looked for the three cases of books that I had shipped to the show - two cases of the new train and hoer book - Confederate Issuer's of Train and Hoer Notes by Mike McNeil - with a lot of collaboration with the "Trainmen" and one case of fifteen Confederate Treasury Certificates - A Collector's Guide to IDRs by George Tremmel, Pierre Fricke, and John "Marty" Davis and based on the research of Douglas Ball and Marty Davis augmented with updated information by the authors. The former book was available in quantity at the show (I ended up selling most of one case) while the IDR book will be generally available by the end of July (all fifteen copies were sold at the show). Both books retail at $60 and I am selling them, signed, for $49 ppd.I strongly encourage people to get both books, you will really enjoy them, even if you do not collect either series.The IDR book has a lot of newly published information about Confederate Treasury operations in the field and is quite enlightening for any Confederate paper money collector.I also had some of my Collecting Confederate Paper Money book which sold well too.
I ran into several friends along the way and caught up.Eventually, I made my way over to the bourse floor with my exhibits to set up.The exhibits were featured much more prominently at this show than at previous Memphis shows. There were more of them and they were looked at by a lot more people than in the past.I displayed my Confederate paper money collection of J Whatman 1862 watermarked notes - a complete collection.I also displayed my set of printer name errors, mostly found in the 1862 and 1863 series when the Confederate Treasury was moving work from one printer to another and avoiding the Union threat to Richmond in 1862. The other major Confederate paper money collection was put together by Randall Smith along with some help from other Trainmen showing the various interesting signatures and stamps featured on the backs of Type 39, 40 and 41 notes. There was a lot of discussion about these exhibits during the course of the show which shows ongoing, healthy interest in Confederate paper money.
After the exhibits, I went to set up my table.I was fortunate in getting moved to table 104 near the front along the right wall.This proved to be a good location, thanks to Doug Davis (who also helped me with my exhibit set up - the Lyn Knight team was very helpful during this show). I brought some new material to sell - a lot of new Southern State paper money and a collection of IDRs - as well as a good number of fresh Confederate notes in inventory. I had a good selling show - sold several rare varieties of Confederate paper money along with a range of more common type notes.I also sold several trains and hoer notes. I'd say the rare varieties and the T-39, 40 and 41 were the strongest sellers followed by 1864 type notes. Confederate Interim Depository Receipts (IDRs) were also strong. I also was selling some low grade large cents in you-pick-em boxes for $10 and $15 each.These turned out to be very popular as well (I sold about half of what I brought)!Additionally, I sold a couple of more significant large cents - 1801 3 errors and 1801 1/000/100 corrected fraction coins.
Heritage conducted the auction at this Memphis (all future sales will be Lyn Knight's). I was interested in some of the Confederate paper money, though there were not a lot of lots. However, I was not really in a buying mode as I was especially focused on attempting to buy a major Union Federal $50 1862 Hamilton Legal Tender note the following evening (which I was the under bidder - I am now the strongest buyer remaining in the market so if you have one please contact me). The Confederate paper money yielded mixed results on Thursday night, selling around 10PM that evening. Some results, with my grade in parenthesis.
There was a larger run of Confederate paper money in the online only session Monday where a more common military issue (Capt Bomar)in Fine yielded $460.
Friday was the first full day of the show. After a strong start, I had to leave for two hours to attend the authors' forum to present with my co-authors on our new IDR book. This was a fun session where we get to hear about book projects from the past year and how authors approach dealing with the challenges of writing and publishing. I returned to the bourse, ate lunch and had a good, but slower afternoon.
The Large Type Federal notes went off the following evening (Friday). The room had a good crowd and there was a lot of bidding both online and in the room.I found this session to be quite interesting and this market has strengthened considerably since 2009.
Saturday morning found me in the Society of Paper Money Collector's board meeting where we review the Society's business and plan for new activities and events. It was a full room and a good meeting. I encourage people to join the Society as it provides a great platform for learning, networking at shows, where programs a presented, and has a great magazine, Paper Money to read and contact fellow paper money enthusiasts. Friday morning saw the Society's breakfast which as very well attended and where awards are passed out and fun is had by all.
The crowd at the show was pretty good in the mornings, but slowed down in the afternoons. It was fairly well attended, but not like it was several years ago. The economy is still having some impact on attendance. I still found it worthwhile attending and will do so again next year.
One notable thing about this year's Memphis show was that it conflicted with the Whitman Baltimore show and a regional North Carolina show in Raleigh.Several dealers who otherwise would have attended Memphis, did not, due to these shows. Next year, Memphis is earlier in June and hopefully will not overlap with any shows.
I hope to see you all at next year's event and look forward to it as always!
YET MORE for Memphis! I have yet more news! I will have a significant IDR collection for sale with IDRs from 10 of the 11 states that issued them. I will also have a major Civil War artifact from Vicksburg for sale as well. Please stops by Friday or Saturday to explore what you might need!
I will only have a few IDR books for sale and they will be generally available in later July at which point I will send out the pre-orders. I will have more Train/Hoer Issuer books as these are now available. I will fill pre-orders when I return from Memphis on Monday June 21 or Saturday June 26 when I return from Boston. Unfortunately, both of my cases were shipped to Memphis so I do not have them at the house to distribute ahead of the show (It was not certain we would have these this soon, that's why I had them sent there).
More on the Memphis Paper Money Show I will be setting up the afternoon of June 17 and will be selling books and some of my material at that time. At the 9AM opening to the public on Friday June 18, I will be offering a high grade, choice Southern State note collection including a complete set of Texas Republic notes (Austin - A1-A9) in choice, great white color, fully framed grade (virtually impossible to assemble) including one of the finest known $500 notes as a set. I will have many choice, handpicked notes available from Alabama (gorgeous choice and gem Uncs), Arkansas (very rare inverted backs), Georgia (many choice Uncs and a high grade $0.75 Indian Princess), Mississippi (3 red ABNC notes + many choice Cotton and Faith pledge notes), North Carolina (including rarities), Texas (high grade treasury warrants in addition to the TX Republic set), and Virginia notes (choice and gem uncs and a J Green and Son and Wookey Hole Mill watermarked note)! Please stop by the Table 1006. Take a LEFT, go to the wall and look for the 6th table (right after PMG) on the left wall. If you take a right, by the time you get to my table you will miss some for sure! You also want to come by to get both of the new Confederate books (IDRs - www.csaidrs.com and Train and Hoers - www.csatrains.com ) which will be in limited supply at the show.
There are some interesting Confederate paper money examples in the auction. It seems that Heritage is moving to auctioning third party graded notes like it does in coins (with the apparent exception of low cost notes). These are PCGS or PMG grades, not mine. We see a T-5 PCGS AU-55 apparent, two high grade T-6s, a high grade T-21 in PCGS VF-35, a T-22 in PMG VF-25, three T-23s in VF-20 (These are hard to find in nice shape like this. I don't know yet if these make VF to me, but it seems a good time to buy your T-23!), two T-31s V-25 and F-15, a nice T-32 in VF-25, a T-41 in PCGS 65. In the online part, there are a lot of notes, with a few exceptional examples. We see a military example of a T-41, some T-41 groups lots and most notably a New T-67 PCGS 67 note (this was once my note and is the finest known graded by PCGS according to Jason Bradford late last year). We'll see how some of these do...I look forward to an interesting Memphis.
Memphis Paper Money Show Approaching I will have a table at the Memphis paper money show from June 18 -20, setting up on June 17. I will have some new material for sale from my CSA paper & Southern States collection - will announce it ahead of time here. Some of this material is very hard to find in the choice for the grade condition I collected. You will want to come by early to get a shot.
Additionally, I will set up two exhibits - one featuring the Confederate J Whatman watermarked notes (there are 31 different varieties!), the first and only complete collection ever formed; and the Confederate paper money printer name errors, which are really interesting. Lyn Knight will be featuring the exhibits more prominently at this show and I look forward to many discussions.
Finally, I will have a limited quantity of two new books that will be hot off the presses (come by early to get one):
1. Confederate Treasury Certificates - A Collector's Guide to IDRs - Tremmel, Fricke, Davis and based on Marty Davis' and Dr Douglas Ball's research with much added since. $49 show special ($60 retail). I will only have about a dozen books for sale and will have the only copies at the show. They will be available in quantity in July. See http://www.csaidrs.com/
2. Confederate Issuers of Train and Hoer Notes - McNeil with the Trainmen. $49 show special ($60 retail). I will have about two dozen of these signed by the author. They will be available in quantity in June. See http://www.csatrains.com/
I look forward to seeing you there!
Updated Montgomery, T-27 and T-35 Census Counts
I've received a good number of updates since Collecting Confederate Paper Money - Field Edition 2008 has been published. While we figured T-27 would close in on T-35, it hasn't. Meanwhile T-2's have seen the fewest additions since 2008.
T-1 126 known - Rarity 8 (Really tough in VF or better)
T-2 116 known - Rarity 8+ (Really tough in VF or better)
T-3 173 known - Rarity 8 (Really tough in Ch XF or better)
T-4 172 known - Rarity 8 (Really tough in Ch XF or better)
T-27 102 known - Rarity 8+ (Really tough in VG-F, good eye appeal, and better) (70 PF-1 and 32 PF-2)
T-35 130 known - Rarity 8 (Really tough in VG, good eye appeal, and better)
The T-27 is the rarest type, followed by the T-2 (which ultimately will probably be the rarest, this is what some noted 19th century collectors believed), followed by the T-1 at 3rd. Choice T-27s and T-35s in any grade are virtually non-existent (by the definition in my book, fully framed, no repairs, no problems).
There are a good number of Rarity 15 varieties and military/place issue notes that represent the rarest Confederate notes.
Heritage Central States Auction - May 2010 I did not attend the Central States show, however, did observe and participate in the auction. Confederate paper money is doing well. There were not a lot of lots, but there were some signficant lots. Here are some results with my grades:
12256. T-2 PF-1 PMG VF-35, VF-XF, net VF $34,500 (strong) 12257. T-3 PF-2 PMG VF-30, VF $17,825 (strong) 12260. T-10 PF-7 PMG F-15, F-VF, net VG-F did not sell for $1,150 (decent buy) 12261. T-12 PF-1 PMG VF-25, F-VF, net F $ 3,738 12262. T-15 PF-1 PMG AU-50 Net, AU, net VF impaired $ 9,200 (!!??!!) 12263. T-22 PF-1 PMG F-15 - CC, F-VF-CC $ 863 (nice color) 12264. T-33 PF-10 State II PMG VF-25, F-VF $ 863 (condition census, good buy) 12265. T-36 Uncut half sheet of 4 notes in AU $ 978 (good buy) 12266. T-36 PF-7 PMG F-15, F-VF, net F (9th finest) $ 575 (make sense) 12269. T-68 front missing wiht just the overprint $ 633 (stronger than I expected) 14382. T-60 PF-6 A-D error, PMG VG-10-COC, VG-COC $202 (about right)
All in all, it was an interesting auction and things generally went well. It will be interesting to see what Heritage presents at the Memphis show.
Early American Coppers (EAC) - April 2010 The last weekend in April saw the annual EAC Convention. This is my favorite show due to the people in attendance (deep students of the start of the American Republic), the learning opportunites, the great early American coins (and some paper money shows up too!), and the general fun atmosphere. I took a table this year. I displayed my large cent color set - I'm working on a set of large cents that illustrates the many different colors copper can take on over the years - Sheldon did this in the 1950s and sold his set to Dan Holmes in the 1970s which again sold in 2009. I also displayed my growing Fugio copper colletion in the exhibit area - these are the United States first authorized and contracted for coinage in 1787. The show started with set-up... I put out my exhibit and then went and bought two Fugios which were my total purchases for the event (they were major coins and I was thrilled to get them). Set up the table and was sitting between Mark Borckardt and Brad Karoleff... a wild crew if there are any! Mark was representing Heritage and was displaying a rare Washington book with letters, etc... Brad, well, was being Brad :-) ... I missed most of the "Happenings" where coins are put out for discussion in the evening but went to dinner with several long time and one newer EAC members.
Friday brought a busy day. I did have some low grade large cents to sell and a few better ones... I actually sold quite a bit and made a trade or two as well. I was away from my table for quite a while while attending sessions and talking with others. I bought and sold some Confederate paper money as well and had some interesting discussions about CSA paper money. The Friday night dinner and talk with Q David Bowers was excellent as was a presentation by Len Augsberger on the original Philadelphia mint.
Saturday brought another busy day. I put my low grade large cent boxes out on the table and said "self-serve" and attended to some other business regarding a couple of major large cent projects and other items. When I came back, two people had bought stuff and left money under the buckets! You can't do that at any other show, BTW. Went to dinner before the auction and we had fun at the auction with Brad Karoleff calling the lots and intermingling some fun. The best part was when we got to the large cents and the S-1 Chain cent was up, about 10 EACers raised a paddle all with the same bidder number on it which really flumoxed Brad and the attendees (there were over 100 people there in the beginning). Later Chuck Heck wanders in wondering if he missed the S-1. Even later, Mark Borckardt wanders in wondering the same thing, both getting laughs. I was collecting infomation about what was selling and for what mainly as well as enjoying the show. The "1815" whiskey lot brought less than $100 as I recall (a donation), surprisingly low and some EACers shared it at the end of the auction.
Sunday was the end of the show, some more visits and pack up and head home. I had a lot of fun and look forward to next year in Portland!
Pierre Fricke April, 2010
Georgia Numismatic Association Show, April 2010 Normally, I do not attend this show as it usually conflicts with Early American Coppers (EAC) and since I set up at the Dalton Civil War show a couple months before and Blue Ridge show in August. I walked the floors on Saturday, catching up with both dealers and attendees on a wide range of topics. This show had more tables than in the past and seemed to be doing OK - some said they had a good show, others did not. I bought a bunch of material, some rare train and hoer notes, a couple of rare varieties and some notes for resale as well. I also sold some common and rare notes, including a rare B plate T-7 PF-1.
I missed the Society of Paper Money tour - Civil War era railroad and other sites which was on Friday. Howeverm I did catch the EAC meeting on Saturday where the imminent EAC Convention was discussed. I encourage people to attend these meetings as they can meet people, learn things and have fun while taking a break from the "chase" on the floor.
Chattanooga Coin and Paper Money Show, Mar 2010 I took a table at this show in early March (and will again in the Fall). This show had a conflict with the big Baltimore show and a good number of dealers chose Baltimore as their venue. Nevertheless, this show had a good dealer showing and a good crowd, particularly on Saturday.
For me, it was an OK show. I sold a lot of books - this shows ongoing strengthening of interesting in Confederate paper money. I also sold a few common notes. This time, I displayed Federal demand and legal tender notes from the Civil War, a few rare Confederate notes (Green T-17 in Ch XF, Blue T-17, T-27 PF-1 and PF-2 in F-VF and Choice Fine respectively (both about as good as you can get, not the finest known, but high eye appeal), T-35 in VG (strong eye appeal)), and a high grade, choice Texas Republic set (Austin series) with the $500 in AU-55 (Choice AU), cut-cancelled. I also had my large cent color set out which attracted a lot of discussion. I could have sold several of those if they were for sale (they will be eventually). It seems this show does not do so well for selling Confederate material in contrast to Dalton shows and the internet. On the other hand, I did buy some material for selling on my site and at eBay.
I caught up with many friends and discussed the imminently available Confederate Treasury Certificate (IDR) book and Issuers of Confederate Trains and Hoer Notes book. I will have limited copies available at Memphis so stop by early to see me to get them. They will be specially priced at $49 at the show ($60 retail). When you see these books and see what you can learn, you'll want to have a copy.
Dalton Georgia Civil War Show, Feb 2010 I set up a table at the Dalton Georgia Civil War show Feb 5-7, 2010. This show has become a signficant Civil War show as well as a place to buy Confederate, Southern States and Obsolete currency. This years event was very well attended both on the dealer and general public level. The weather was cold with snow and sleet to the north which probably both helped and hurt the show depending upon where you lived. Certainly no one was enjoying the weather outside which was a factor driving high attendance. On the other hand, if you lived to the north, it may have been a bit tricky driving in, though not too bad.
This show was an interesting show as lots of people I've not seen in a while attended, while some that usually come did not make it unfortunately. There were more dealers of paper money in attendance than before and activity was moderate. It did seem like the public was more into looking than buying. However, I met several new collectors and sold almost a whole case (14) of Collecting Confederate Paper Money - Field Edition 2008. Book sales have been brisk and I'm really glad we printed many more of the 2008 version than the 2005 version. Between the two as well as the 2007 type edition eBook, there are more than 7,000 copies out there in a bit more than four years.
Sales of Confederate paper money did pick up and I had an OK show on that front. I was also a strong buyer. I obtained two high end better Confederate type notes, a smattering of common 1864 material and also secured a consignment of 4 Montgomeries and the T-27 and T-35 in low to mid grade. These latter have been sold already. If you have stuff to sell, I can operate on a modest margin for consignments...may be the best way to go if you don't need the money instantly.
All in all, I had a lot of fun at the show, saw a lot of old and new friends and had some interesting conversations. Beyond Confederate material, some of my southern states notes sold, I had a great deal of interest in my Vicksburg newspaper on wall paper (which is not for sale now), my Union Large Type note collection, The blue and green T-17s side-by-side, and my U.S. large cent color set. There remains a great deal of interest in the latter, even at Civil War shows! Large cents have always been the "bedrock" of numismatics and it seems more so even today.
Two other events that transpired were Spink Smythe's collector series sale and David Sklow's numismatic book sale of Q David Bowers' library (part 1). The Spink sale was online and in NYC. It wasn't a large sale nor did it feature high end material. However, there was something for most people. I participated online and saw strong prices for average material. They did a good job cataloging the material, properly identifying varieties as people expect now. There was one rare variety T-66 For Register error which I was lucky enough to get a a very good price.
David Sklow's book sale was interesting and I acquired some interesting auction catalogs and other old time numismatic materials. The prevalance of early American copper coins in this old time numismatic research material is astounding! One last point, David Bowers was a reviewer of the 2005 edition of Collecting Confederate Paper Money. His review copy (of which there were about 20) realized more than $400 on strong bidding. Thanks!
Pierre Fricke Feb 20, 2010
FUN Show 2010 As usual after New Year's Day, many numismatists head to Orlando, FL to catch up with friends, buy and sell coins and paper money, and to have a good time. This year was no disappointment, with a crowd and activity exceeding the last two years by a good margin. I drive down on Wed and go to lot viewing to look over the Confederate and Southern States notes as well as a few of the large cents. Heritage had an especially large offering of Confederate and especially Obsolete notes with a very large run of Alabama and Arkansas notes. So much so that they did not do the usual detailed variety cataloging that is found more frequently in paper money (as it has been in coins for a long time) and that the auction ran until somewhere around 4AM!!! with the Confederate going off somewhere after 2AM. They did feature the rare varieties and did a good job representing those. Third party graded Confederate notes are becoming a fixture in these auctions, though not dominant. Some notes did pretty well, others were quite weak. An auction that is conducted at 2AM is not completely representative of the market, despite the strong internet presence, and I would not use these prices realized as indicative of retail - there are buying opportunities at wholesale levels for those who stay up! I had a consignment and interestingly enough the later the lots, the better they did for me. Arkansas was weak, North Carolina OK and my Confederate did pretty well.
I picked up a very rare, condition census level Confederate type and variety at the opening of the show on Thursday. Something very difficult to find - I will have it on display at the Dalton Civil War Show...come by to see me!! I visited with a lot of people right off the bat including Confederate dealers, Large Cent dealers and some collectors all in the first day. There are book projects to confer with others on as well as coins and paper money to look for. The Confederate Depository Receipt book is in layout and on schedule to make Memphis. I did discuss this with a few people including book dealers. Most believe we will be surprised at how well this will sell...there are more collectors of IDRs than I originally believed.
The show floor became crowded quickly on Thursday and by midday was really hopping. There seemed to be a lot of buying and looking going on, though people remain picky about grading especially on more common items. Rare items, people are just glad to get a shot at, it seems. Thursday night was the auction. I submitted my bids ahead of time and watched some of the obsolete go off on my Droid phone - I could actually bid using this hand held device - but didn't as I had only a few things under consideration. I did not stay up for the Confederate, but we saw these results including the buyers premium when the sun rose (my grades are represented).
T-5 PF-1 AU $3,220 (New 62 slab) T-5 PF-1 AU $2,760 T-6 PF-1 AU $2,070 (bad trim at left) T-7 PF-3 F+ $1,265 (Apparent VF-35 slab; my grade VF, net F+) T-10 PF-20 Ch F $ 920 (choice for grade... a premium note) T-11 PF-4 G-VG $1,725 T-12 PF-1 VG-F $1,840 T-14 PF-7 VF $1,495 (rare plate state with rare Transmississippi stamp) T-15 PF-1 F+-CC $2,530 T-17 PF-1 F $1,035 T-19 PF-1 VG $1,725 (Fine, but impaired) T-21 PF-1 Ch F-VF $ 748 (VF-30 PPQ slab; Choice for the grade F-VF to me) T-22 PF-2 F $ 748 (F-VF, net F) T-23 PF-2 F $3,594 (F-15 slab; choice color for me, but not cut) T-24 PF-9 Ch F-VF $ 805 (choice, beautiful note) T-28 PF-9 XF $ 345 (AU-53 slab; Great cut, but a problem - AU, net XF) T-29 PF-1 F $ 276 T-30 PF-3 Ch AU+ $ 633 (New 63 PPQ slab) T-30 PF-3 Ch AU $ 276 (AU-58 PPQ slab) T-31 PF-2 VF- $1,093 (VF-30 slab) T-32 PF-1 VF- $2,760 (choice color, but not cut) T-33 PF-20 F+ $ 863 (cheap, good buy) T-35 PF-1 G $9,200 (Apparent VG-10 slab; significant and easily seen repair) T-41 PF-26 Gem Unc $1,064 (New 67 EPQ slab; a bit better variety) T-41 PF-20 Ch Unc+ $ 518 (New 65 EPQ slab) T-41 PF-12 Unc+ $ 345 (New 64 EPQ slab) T-45 PF-2 Ch AU+ $2,530 (New 64 EPQ slab) T-52 PF-1IB VG $1,725 (good buy, rarer inverted back) T-56 PF-1 Unc+ $ 322 (New 64 EPQ slab) T-64 PF-2 AU+ $ 805 (New 64 EPQ slab; darker pink, almost red) T-68 sheet AU-55 $ 690 (cheap, good buy)
And there were quite a few other lots..it's worth purusing the Heritage web site to look.
The rest of the show was a lot of fun. I followed up with people and added to my large cent color set, Fugio copper set and Confederate collections including a new T-41 discovery, IDed by one of the Trainmen yesterday, as Issued Camp Bisland at Bayou Teche Louisiana!
I attended and presented at the Society of Paper Money Collectors (SPMC - www.spmc.org) on Saturday morning at 8:30AM. This was a good and well attended meeting with about 20 people there. I did a session on grading, focusing on collector-oriented grading and describing the importance of the two dimensions of grading - technical and condition. Based on the results above and on the floor, I'd say that condition is becoming as important as technical grade with choice notes of a lower grade more desirable than average notes of a higher grade. I passed out six notes for the audience members to grade and we compared notes, so to speak. Was quite a learning experience and I modelled it after the more comprehensive seminar that Doug Bird and Steve Carr give to the large cent crowds. Seemed to go well and people were engaged and had fun.
I finished the show that afternoon, did not get time to do all and see everyone I wanted to see unfortunately. The weather was cold, but inside it was quite warm! Next year we are in Tampa!
Nashville Civil War Show - 2009
I had the good fortune to attend the last Nashville Civil War show for the forseeable future. Next year, it moves to Franklin, Tenn to the south. It remains scheduled for the first weekend of December.
I drove up Friday morning as usual as it is a 4 hour drive and setup/early bird does not begin until noon. Arriving a bit ahead of time, I had the opportunity to catch up with others who were waiting to set up including Phillip Lamb, Hugh Shull and Greg Ton. The proverbial setup gun sounds at noon and people either race to set up or to see what they can buy from those setting up. This year, I go set up at first, rather than look around. It takes about 1 hour to set up, including bringing everything in and setting up the various cases and get situated.
Over the course of the next 2 days, I spend most of my time at the table. It was a good show for both buying and selling. I bought stuff mostly for resale, 1864 and other common material replenishing what is selling quite well. I sold some rare varieties, a rare Franklin bond, common type and a lot of books - Collecting Confederate Paper Money - Field Edition 2008 available for sale elsewhere on this site. I was pleased with book sales and several people were potential new collectors including a young boy of perhaps 10-12 years old. I displayed both Union and Confederate type and a few great rarities along with the Vicksburg newspaper on wallpaper and my bugeoning large cent color set. There was a lot of interest in those coins, suprisingly, as large cents predate the Civil War and have nothing to do with it.
There were many people present both at tables and coming buy as visitors over the two days. Crutch Williams set up a table for the first time - he was in the back of building 3. Other Trainmen present were Randy Shipley (next to me in Building 1), Larry Jones, Clint Reynolds, Hudson McDonald, Walt Rudecki. I also caught up with many others including K C Robertson, Jack Buchert, Hardie Maloney, and David Nelson. The show was crowded on Saturday through most of the day and active for mid to late Sunday too.
While the economy continues to be challenging, this show was well attended and gererally pretty good. Next stop is FUN in Orlando in Jan 2010.
Fisher Simmons Confederate Paper Money Collection Auction in New Orleans
November 21, 2009
I had the pleasure of visiting my home town last weekend, visiting family and friends, enjoying some good food and visiting the French Quarter and Uptown. Beyond the usual visits and culinary enjoyment, I and several other Confederate dealers and collectors attended the sale of the Fisher Simmons Confederate paper money auctioned by Neal Auction Company on Magazine Street. Many were wondering how this collection came to be auction at this excellent antique, art and historical artifact company, but who had little experience with numismatic items. Indeed, one of their leading catalogers told me they usually send numismatic items to other auction houses. In this case, however, Fisher Simmons and his heirs had a relationship with the company and consigned numerous other historical collectibles including a significant collection of steamboat art and historical items.
Fisher Simmons put this collection together in the 1970s (perhaps starting in the 1960s and ending before his death in the 1980s). It was a higher grade collection, but a number of the notes had 1970s-era Brent Hughes repairs (some of the notes actually had the documentation of the repair and the cost - ranging from $8-$12 in most cases!). Fisher stopped at T-52 for some reason; none of the types from T-53 through T-72 were present. Given these were in two custom albums with excellent and interesting writeups for each note, one wonders if a third album is missing. However, the second album had quite a few blank pages remaining and perhaps Fisher didn't get that far before he passed away.
The other question on peoples' minds was - who catalogued these notes? The firm didn't have expertise, yet the catalog was generally well done (with a couple of areas with room for improvement...we'll get to those). As it turned out, the cataloger was present; a local historical and numismatic dealer who had past experience with Confederate paper money. Neal Auction Company reached out to others in the community for input as well, but settled on the format they requested of the local cataloguer. Neal Auction Company did not want more than 30 lots of paper money. With the counterfeits, Louisiana state notes, some varieties (the three styles of T-26 Xs) and two notes for the types with backs, this required the cataloguer to creat mostly group lots except for the most valuable types. An interesting aside: Neal Auction Company, who is used to dealing in high end art, antiques and historical items, wanted to group ALL of the CSA notes in ONE LOT. The cataloguer talked them out of it, thankfully.
The other key aspect of the auction was Neal Auction Company created large, high resolution scans and sent them out to quite a few people on DVDs. I received one of these and the scans were excellent (to the point of even seeing many of the Brent Hughes repairs, but not all of them, so seeing the notes in person was critical). They did a good job advertising the sale and there was a good deal of interest. I received calls from coins dealers letting me know about it and other interested parties. Neal Auction Company used an online bidding service to present its auction as well as phone and mail bids. One last key item - the notes were sold AS IS with NO RETURNS whatsoever.
The grading was pretty good with a some differences from my perspective - actually the grading was better than some who more involved with Confederate paper money sales - the cataloguer took care to be relatively conservative and document the repairs. Nevertheless, there were some differences of opinion and a few notable and minor repairs were missed. Also, some of the notes had remnants of glue from being mounted (which can be removed) and some had some minor paper damage and loss due to removing the notes from a holder, unfortunately. This sale, like most, reminded me of the importance of viewing the notes yourself in person or by someone who is a conservative grader that you trust.
Between the group lots, the no returns policy and many of the repairs; most of the lots went to the floor and to dealers, one in particular was successful in buying quite a few of the lots. There were some good buys in here, but also there were some that went quite strong. Oh, and one more thing, the buyers fee was 19.5% for cash/check or 22% for credit! Let's take a look:
Type My Grade Total Realized (rounded) T-1 VF-XF-CC $33.5K T-1 VF+-CC $26.3K T-2 VF-XF, stain net Abt VF $25.1K T-3 AU-, choice color and cut $15.5K lots of interesting writing on back; called Unc in no burn, but some bleed through. sale This was a great buy. T-4 F-VF, strange graffitti on back $ 8.4K T-5 XF $ 2.0K T-6 F-VF, bad trim $ 950
The T-7 and T-11 went cheap; The T-10 C plate (F-VF) in a group lot went cheap, too.
T-12 F-VF, nice $ 2.5K This was a great buy; no return policy helped someone here!
T-15 AU (!), BUT $ 4.1K ...the top sliver was trimmed off and put back on by Brent Hughes. net VF impaired
The T-16 and 17 were in group lots (go figure) and went cheap because of this.
T-19 Abt VF and $ 4.1K ... the left end had been reattached professionaly (not Brent Hughes appeared very but a more modern repair well executed. Had spectacular eye Choice, BUT appeal. net Fine, impaired
T-20, 21, 22 in a group lot and a good buy...
T-23 Fine (only VG-F in catalog) $ 1.0K Cheap, overprint faded.
T-24 Unc+, nearly Choice, good color $ 1.8K Good buy too.
T-25s and T-26s in a group lot...5 notes.
T-27 F-VF, appears $23.3K ...tiny repair on corner, otherwise original and choice (undergraded one of the best T-27s offered for quite some time; at Fine in catalog) along with the T-3 above, this was one of the best buys.
T-28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34 + CTFs in a group lot with a Choice XF T-29 (with mounting glue faintly visible on one corner) ...kind of a silly lot really. A dealer got a great buy here.
T-35 Fine (called F-VF) $33.5K nice T-35 and I didn't see any repairs. However it was more circulated than F-VF and probably starched to give it more body (it had too much body).
T-36s-38s; T-39-46 in groups lots.
XX-2/T-47 VF-, net F+ $ 4.1K minor, but visible repair on top margin. Mounting glue on back. good eye appeal. XX-3/T-48 VF-, net F- $ 4.1K major repair on top margin; however great eye appeal excepting the repair which was noticeable.
T-49-52s; Louisiana State (26 notes), CSA Counterfeits (49 notes) group lots.
There were no significant rare varieties (only the T-10 PF-6 C plate would be in the variety condition census). Nor were there any military or otherwise interesting T-39s-41s.
It was a fun auction, at an interesting location, with an interesting set of players in attendance and unknown number on the phone, internet and mail bid. Most of the action revolved around a few of us and some phone bidders.
Other recent auctions included the Lyn Knight PCDA sale in October and the Spink Smythe Fall Collector's sale. The Knight sale had a T-11 PF-1 rarer B Plate note. It was catalogued as T-11 VF without the variety nor census information. I graded it F-VF, net VG-F with the usual repairs, but it was an attractive note and made the condition census. As catalogued, it did not meet the over $5000 reserve (with the buyers fee), but might have sold had it been catalogued better. Knight also had a T-12 in Fine bring $1800 hammer and other lots. I did not attend this sale, but did view the notes. I also viewed the Spink Smythe notes for their Fall sale. The main attraction here was a T-22 in a PMG net AU-55 holder. Now, this note was quite beautiful, but it had a major repair on the left margin (reattached) which Spink Smythe described. To me, this would be AU, net VF impaired. It brought $2000 primarily due to its beauty and the holder grade.
The next big events are the Nashville Civil War show next weekend where I will have a table in Building 1 and the FUN show in early January where I will be walking around.
Long Beach Events – 2009 – Not Everything is Down!
While this month did not present any major Confederate paper money sales, there were some significant shows and events, notably the Long Beach California show and the Dan Holmes Collection of Large Cents. In the Heritage Long Beach sale there were some Confederate notes, notably a T-60 PF-27IB inverted back.I attended the Dan Holmes sale, which was one of the numismatics events of this or last century (more on that)!I did not have time to attend the Long Beach show but did participate in the auction via the Internet. There are a string of Fall shows and sales coming up starting with the PCDA show in St. Charles Mo. in October (I will be there walking around) through to the Nashville Civil War show on the first week of December (I will have a table).
During this past summer and into even this weekend, many people have asked about what is the state of the market for Confederate notes, and in some cases, other things like early American coins, etc… I summarize the situation like this –
We’ve had a financial crisis and are in difficult economic times.
A lot of common numismatic material has softened considerably.
Confederate paper money type notes bottomed out in 2005-06 and have been gaining strength since then, especially, choice for the grade (VF-Unc) examples.
Major Confederate rare varieties are in strong demand such as the Wookey Hole Mill collection I sold.
Lesser Confederate rare varieties are softer now.
Trains and Hoers, 7.3% T-39, 40, 41s are very strong.
Third party graded New 63-66 notes are strong, especially 65 and 66 (caveat – buy the note not the holder). AU-55 and 58 with choice frame lines and color are strong too (and underrated compared to many lesser eye appeal Unc notes).
1864 notes are selling well on eBay.
Large Type US Paper Money from the Civil War is mixed, while later issues are quite weak (in the cycle where CSA paper money was in 2004-05).
Early American Copper coins that are rare, choice and/or in the condition census are very strong with some record prices realized at the Dan Holmes sale.
The point of all this is that not all things are down in value or are experiencing a weak market!I was in a debate with someone about this not long ago, where they wanted to buy some major rare varieties for 40% off my 2008 book estimated value since the stock market and real estate was down that much!Sorry, but rare items like that may be available only once or twice a decade and not always in a public forum.Those notes sold handily for at or above the 2008 book valuations and, as I told one of the purchasers, “I don’t know if these will be up a lot in ten years or down, but I do know I usually regret selling material like this later!But I’ve enjoyed them, completed the sets, and now its time to pass them on and I’m not out of the market by any means…”.
Let’s shift to a very recent public forum, the Dan Holmes Large Cent collection.Now, there are important differences between the early copper communities/markets and CSA paper money; but both arenas are dominated by collectors with similar interests in American history, neat old coins or paper money, etc… Ira and Larry Goldberg in conjunction with Chris McCawley and Bob Grellman hosted the event. Larry Goldberg hosted a party the night before with over 200 guests (a wonderful get together with people present not seen for quite some time). There were over 150 people in the room with some dealers representing several people each. Additionally, there were numerous internet and mail bidders. The Dan Holmes early date large cent sale realized over $15 million with the buyers premium, which is a record for a collection like this, and ranks as the largest most complete collection of early date large cents. We also saw the first greater than $1 million copper coin, the 1795 S-79 reeded edge rare variety in Very Good condition, a nice example, and the finest known. With 570 lots of individual coins plus one lot of 66 coins, the average price per coin was more than $23,000 (the cheapest sold for less than $100, something for everyone)!This is hardly a dead market, at least for rare, interesting and important numismatic items.A few highlights and comparisons to “similar” CSA paper money examples, to help position these in rarity and importance. Lot 3 – 1793 S-2 PCGS MS-63, EAC AU-55, Chain $403Ksimilar to a T-1 $1000 Montgomery in Unc. Lot 7 – 1793 NC-2 PCGS Fair 2, Strawberry leaf (Unique)$265Ksimilar to a T-43 inverted TWO; or blue T-17. Lot 31 – 1794 S-18b PCGS MS 63, EAC MS-60$155Ksimilar to a T-15 in Ch Unc. Lot 128 – 1795 S-79 PCGS VG-10, EAC VG-8, reeded edge (7 known)$1.265 millionsimilar to finest known T-59 PF-32 J Green and Son watermark Lot 131 – 1795 S-80 PCGS VF-20, EAC F-12, Jefferson head (likely contemporary counterfeit)$95Ksimilar to a high grade (XF or better) Essay T-48 / Fantasy XX-3 Interestingly, the S-80 is still considered part of a Sheldon set. Lot 352 – 1799 S-189 NCG MS-62, EAC AU-55$978Ksimilar to a T-35 Indian Princess in AU. This coin was the hands-down favorite to break $1m before the sale. Lot 531 – 1804 S-266 PCGS MS-63, EAC AU-58$661Ksimilar to a T-27 in XF-AU Etc…
Now, I realize these are different collecting areas and there are important differences in the markets. However, it is instructive to see that record prices are being realized even in these hard times and that each of the CSA paper money analogues would also likely realize a record price for their market today, too, though not necessarily in proportion to the above results.
Let’s look at the Heritage Long Beach CSA paper money.We see these results, some quite strong, others not so much.
T-5 PF-1 PMG New-62 with hinges on back$4,600 T-15 PF-1 PMG Net VF-25 (my grade Net Fine+)$3,738 T-41 PF-11 PMG New 66 (but with foxing!)$345 T-44 PF-3 PMG New 64 (but no full frame line, Unc+ to me) $345 T-57 PF-8 PMG New 64 (same as T-44)$403 T-60 PF-27IB Very Fine-CC, 5th finest known$3,450 T-64 PF-2 PMG New 65 (Choice Unc to me)$978
Some interesting results.We are also seeing third party grading playing a greater role in Confederate paper money. Some will like it; others will not. But it is what it is. You can always cut them out of the holder (I broke out two today!).
The US Large type did better than I thought it would.This is a market that has essentially gone almost completely to third party grading, though some of the dealers and collectors still grade the note themselves even if in a holder (good for them).
I had a great time at the Dan Holmes sale.Visited with many, many friends including some not seen in years. As David Lisot and other were filming the event and taking pictures, I could not help but think about the old time Chapman and other auction pictures featured in the Adams’ books and in other places. Even in difficult times, it can be fun to be a numismatist, collector and a dealer!
ave fun.Pierre Fricke
September 27, 2009
2009 Blue Ridge Show (Dalton, GA) - August 20-23, 2009
I attended and set up a table at this past weekend's Blue Ridge coin and paper money show as I have for the past several years. After sorting out some confusion on my table, I set up at #404, near the front and a good table (I was lucky). I am located next to Randy Shipley at #406. This should be my table in the future (we will see!). I drove up on Thursday late afternoon and brought my stuff in. Saw a bunch of people I've known for quite a while and caught up with a few. There were a couple of deals to settle up on right away (more on that below). I wandered the floor, looking at those dealers' stock who were already set up. Then I finished setting up...displaying Federal and Confederate type, a few rare varieties and a choice Mississippi ABNC set (side-by-side with the T-15, 19, 22 and 31), and the T-17 blue ink side by side with a choice T-17 in green ink. The color contrast between the green Federal notes (I displayed high grade $10 and $5 Demand notes; and $1, $2, $5 and $10 Legal Tender 1862-63 types) and the red Confederate and Mississippi notes was stunning. So was the blue and green T-17 next to each other. At the bottom of the case were some Fugio coppers, including a VF FUCIO error and XF Newman 1-L.
My other two cases held material for sale ranging from quite an assortment of average collector 1861-64 Confederate material to nicer type, rare varieties and rare bonds. I also brought a case of Collecting Confederate Paper Money - Field Edition 2008.
The show was well attended, but not packed. It was slower in the afternoon than in the morning. Sunday was dead, but worth staying to visit with some people and buy a few things. I has a good show...actually very good. Sold a mix of nicer and common type, a couple of rare varieties and 1/2 case of books.
I did even better buying. I had a good opportunity to buy a Confederate Fantasy XX-3 or "Essay" T-48 in a nicely framed Fine grade. This is a strong Rarity 10 note. I asked several collectors in attendance whether it was part of my counterfeit collection, type collection or an add-on to the type collection. While not scientific, I got about 50% counterfeit (mostly younger people) and 50% add-on to base type set (mostly older people). No one told me it was a requirement for a basic type set, which makes sense as it is not a regular issue under any theory. It is an intriguing note, though. I guess its part of both! :-) ... I picked up some common 1864 notes, some T-39-40-41s, two rare varieties including a T-67 "XIIL" Series and a T-60 Whatman in low grade. I bought a couple of Mississippi Southern State notes and a couple of Georgia obsoletes. I also took delivery of a Mobile T-41 and a high grade T-41 PF-24 double "For Treasurer" notes won on eBay the week before. The Mobile is for the collection. The T-41 PF-24 and T-60 Whatman are for sale. I considered a tougher FUGIO Newman 3-D variety, but decided to hold off on that one, waiting for a nicer example.
I attended the Society of Paper Money Collectors meeting Saturday morning which was capped off with an excellent presentation by Bob Schreiner on North Carolina colonial paper money. He used Acrobat Connect, a webinar tool, to present from his home. It worked out quite well and I may consider a presentation down the road using this technology. I also gave a beginner's presentation on Collecting Confederate Paper Money in the afternoon which was accompanied with some good discussion.
Thanks to all who came by to visit, buy or sell. I also had some visitors to discuss the upcoming Confederate Treasury Receipt (IDR) book (authors Tremmel, Fricke and Davis; also based on Dr Ball research) and some input/volunteers to help with the Historical Edition of Collecting Confederate Paper Money due in 2011. The IDR book is well along and on target for a Memphis 2010 publication. The 2011 book is also well along with me focusing on the census updates (with over 200 peoples' contribution, there is a lot to do) as well as the historical narratives that will make up the main body of this book.
This is a good show and I enjoy it every year. I encourage all to attend this show in August and the February Civil War show in Dalton as well. Both are great shows, inexpensive to attend, easy to get to, and have a great selection of dealers and things to do.
Memphis Paper Money Show - 2009 - After We're back from Memphis and it was a great show! The show attendance was OK....about the same as last year, but down a bit from years of better economic times earlier this decade. Most people (both CSA and Federal) that I talked with had a pretty good to great show. I bought and sold a lot of material - mostly Confederate Treasury notes, but also some Southern States.
I answered a number of questions about my exhibits, generally about how I found the notes, the different errors, and the general information about the types or the watermarks, especially the Wookey Hole Mill's and J Whatman T-26s. There was quite a lot of interest as both sets had never been displayed before nor completed to this level. I received at least one "name my price" offer on the Wookey Hole Mill set and other interest in T-26s. Maybe later, but not today :-).
1. T-26 collection. I displayed all of the collectible T-26s, 31 pieces, plus 4 of the 8 NCs or non-collectibles which are so rare as there are less than 3 examples in colletors' hands. 2. Wookey Hole Mill collection also displayed on this site. I showed all 8 of the collectible varieties as well as 5 of the 8 NC's of which 2 have not been seen in at least 50 years if at all and one unique T-58 PF-11 in the Museum of the Confederacy. I attended the SPMC Breakfast on Friday morning. Unfortunately, it was mischeduled for Saturday and there was quite a bit of scambling around to get it rolling. But with a major effort on the part of many SPMCers, the breakfast happened and was a nice event. I donated a US Grand Army of the Republic CSA note display from 1912 to the raffle which turned out to be quite an event in and of itself. John Herzog of R. M. Smythe (now Spink Smythe) was recognized for this lifelong contributions to the hobby - it was a moving recognition. Congratulations to John! I was very fortunate to have been recognized for Collecting Confederate Paper Money - Field Edition 2008 by SPMC with the Wismer Paper Money Book of the Year (2008-09) and accepted it graciously and with Thanks!
The Author's Forum was a lot of fun and we heard about a lot of interesting books including a new Kansas obsolete book by Steve Whitfield and Fred Reed's Lincoln book which I have read in part and really like (even though I am a Southerner!). I discussed the 2008 book's progress and talked about the upcoming Confederate Treasury Receipt book (aka the IDR book) for 2010. On the bourse floor, there was a lot of activity. I sold all of my remaining T-33s from my collection, a T-21 NY watermark note with great eye appeal, a scattering of 1861 and 1862 Trains and Hoers, numerous 1864 notes, and some Southern States material too. I sold 20 copies of Collecting Confederate Paper Money - Field Edition 2008 which is a great sales rate for a book that has been out for one year. I bought a collection of Trains, numerous type notes, and a few rare vareities including a new discovery T-20 with an 8 over 1 left plen error. A lot of people came by and reported finds and new notes for the condition census...in years past, before I had a table, I used to get around the floor and find some good finds. But now with a table, others get the pleasure and finds included a T-28 PF-11 (RV), a Franklin, La issued train, a Hempstead, TX issued train and several other rare varieties and neat errors like gutter folds. The auction was held Friday night with a long run of obsolete notes up front. A lot of us socialized in the foyer area with snacks. I caught up with many CSA collectors and a couple of Federal Large Type collectors. Many Trainmen were present including our new President, Ron Herzfeld. We did not reach the Confederate paper money section until nearly Midnight, but paused to take a picture of the Trainmen in attendance. Then the auction commenced running into a nearly complete type set minus the T-1, several rare varieties, and a nice run of trains and hoers. The quality of the material was a mixed bag, but the cataloging was outstanding with the varieties properly IDed with PF and Criswell numbers and the grading as accurate as possible, with even an undergrade or two. There were some good notes in here, and given the economy, many series are down especially when presented at auction. This rang true for a good portion of the Confederate paper money and bonds with some notable exceptions. Given the timing (after midnight for a good portion of it), there were some deals to be had and I was active buying along with a few others. Many missed out, though if all were in attendance and bidding at that late hour, perhaps there would not have been so many good deals! Highlights include:
Lot number. Description with my grade Price Realized with buyers premium. 1723. T-2 PF-1 VG+, POC (strong price) $19,650 1724. T-3 PF-2 PMG-AU-50; Choice XF-AU (a good buy) $20,800 1725. T-4 PF-2 F-VF, POC $ 8,150 1726. T-5 PF-1 AU bad trim (this shows how much cut can impact) PASS at $1,800 1727. T-5 PF-1 Choice AU (undergraded and a great buy) $ 2,400 1728. T-6 PF-1 PCGS-New-64; Choice Unc (a good buy) $ 3,550 1729. T-6 PF-1 Choice Unc (great color and a good buy) $ 4,413 1731. T-7 PF-4 VF-XF, foxed (condition is as important as tech grade) $ 1,080 1738. T-11 PF-4 Good or so, backed with tape. P stamp, rare! $ 780 1739. T-12 PF-1 Fine+, cut-canceled (nice note, good buy) $ 1,680 1743. T-15 PF-1 Fine, good color (good buy, cheap!) $ 4,988 1744. T-15 PF-1 Fine+, weak color (eye appeal better on the previous) $ 3,838 1745. T-16 PF-3 Choice XF, outstanding margins and eye appeal (steal!) $ 780 1746. T-17 PF-2 VG (not pretty) PASS at $600 1748. T-19 PF-1 F-VF, cut-cancelled (nice note, good buy) $ 3,090 1749. T-20 PF-10 Fine, CC (Rare Variety, some minor staining, good buy) $ 204 1751. T-22 PF-1 F-VF, nice color, but trimmed into margin (a good buy) $ 960 1753. T-23 PF-1 F, but overprint weak and oxidized PASS at $990 1756. T-26 PF-19 Fine, CC (Rare Variety, good buy) $ 216 1758. T-27 PF-1 Net about VG with repair and staining (OK price) $11,025 1759. T-27 PF-1 VG, cut-cancelled (good buy, nice looking note) $ 5,850 1765. T-32 PF-1 VG+, but weak overprint PASS at $633 1767. T-33 PF-5 State II Fine,CC (Rare Variety, great buy potential) PASS at $546 1769. T-33 PF-8 State II VG-F (Rare Variety, solid result on this one) $ 660 1771. T-35 PF-1 VG, net Good (staining, a good buy) $ 9,300 1775. T-38 PF-1 VG (good buy) $ 540 1783. T-41 PF-22 PMG-66 Gem (but with foxing/staining!!!); net AU $ 510 1784. T-41 PF-22 PMG-64 Choice; Choice Unc (better than last) $ 216 1786. T-41 PF-12 Choice Unc; Issued by Senac $ 600 1798. T-49 PF-2 Choice AU (good buy, cheap) $ 540 1829. T-64 PF-2 PCGS-64 PPQ; Choice Unc (good buy) $ 690 1833. T-65 PF-2 PMG-66 EPQ; Choice Unc (very strong price, not Gem) $ 540 1837. T-67 PF-2 VG-F double rat error (one of the buys of the sale) $ 750 1838. T-68 PF-16 Unc, but trimmed sloppily (another great buy, watch the cut) $ 900
There also were numerous lots of Confederate bonds that went generally back to the book on reserves with some exceptions. The Ben Franklin, Confederacy, Cotton bond, and Trans-Miss bonds went for stronger prices than two years ago at Mayer's sale. The sale was interesting to be sure. Unfortunately (or fortunately!), it was very late which had some impact. Interestingly, some of the same type of material was stronger on the bourse than it was at the auction (sometimes it is the reverse of this where record prices are set at an auction). It seemed there were some investors buying the slab grades and not really understanding what was in the slabs. The T-41 New 66 would not bring $150 out of the holder and the T-65 New-66 would be about $200 out of the holder. I would expect near perfect color (no stains or foxing) and excellent balanced centering on the margins to make New-66. This will be an interesting phenomenon to watch over the coming years.
The Memphis show was fun as always! Saw many good friends and did not stop for one minute. I enjoyed staying with Ralph Plumb and having him at my table helping. He's been collecting at least 55 years and has amazing stories to tell. The Trainmen got together and discussed a range of topics and had our pictures taken. Mike McNeil is leading the charge on a new book on T-39, 40 and 41 People and Places Issued. Several of us went to Beale St and Rendezvous for BBQ Friday and Sat nights. I caught up with and discussed Union Federal Large Type of 1861-63 with several dealers on Sunday when I finally got a break.
I also discussed the show with Lyn Knight who assured me that it is staying in Memphis and will be upgraded in quality. He will maintain prices for at least some of the tables at today's rate, though prime real estate may go for considerably more than 2009 bourse fees in the future.
I look forward to next year and will be at the Blue Ridge Dalton show in late August next! Look for new CSA lists in July.
Memphis Paper Money Show - 2009 - Prelude I am looking forward to the Memphis paper money show next week - June 25-28. Despite the economy, I expect a good show with lots of people coming, some of whom have not made it in recent years. Let's look at a rundown.
I will have a table as well as two exhibits - a CSA paper money T-26 collection and collection of Wookey Hole Mill watermarks. At the table, I will be displaying some major Confederate and Union type notes. With the 150th anniversary of the War coming, it is only appropriate to expand to look at both sides - and the financial history, coins and paper money are very interesting on both sides. I will have a few major varieties, a collection of 100 Trains and Hoer military and place issued and some other interesting items (there will be a surprise or two :-)). I will be selling a few of them and a great choice of collector notes too. I will be buying notes as well.
George Tremmel, Marty Davis, and I have made significant progress on the new Confederate Depository Receipt book due to be published by Memphis 2010. I will have a draft copy in color available for viewing. Please come by and take a look. I will also have Collecting Confederate Paper Money - Field Edition 2008 for sale at a special price of $29. Thousands have been sold and more still remain as we expand the market for and with this book.
I will be attending and speaking at the Author's forum on Friday from Noon to 2PM. Will also be attending Society of Paper Money Collectors and Trainmen meetings.
I will attend the auction. Spink Smythe has the auction this year again and I look forward to it. There is a rich range of obsolete, Southern State and Confederate notes available. Looking at the Confederate section we see almost a complete type set, missing only the T-1. The catalog is generally well done, with good attribution and grading anticipated by me (I've not seen the notes yet, but know the cataloguers including Jim Fitzgerald well, and expect high quality). Items to note include:
T-2 PF-1 About Fine, POC T-3 PF-2 PMG AU-50 (I look forward to seeing this note) T-4 PF-2 Fine+, POC A nice selection of T-5s and T-6s A decent T-11 PF-4. Two T-15 PF-1s in Fine. Nice T-19, T-22 and T-31 examples. Two T-27 PF-1s and they got it right as the (currently by census, as well as by Dr Ball estimates) rarest Confederate type. A nice selection of T-33s including some real rarities. T-35 in VG. A PMG-66 T-41 (this will be interesting to watch) along with other nice T-41s. A good selection of 1862-64 material. A VG-F T-67 PF-2 double ratification clause error...should be a good opportunity to pick this great rarity up affordably. An Unc T-68 PF-16 A-C plen error along with a Fine example too. A T-68 PF-1 State IIIG (G virtually gone).
There is also a selection of Confederate bonds including some rare Franklin and Confederacy bonds, Erlanger bonds, as well as a Cotton Certificate (I used to own that one and it was one of my favorites).
The auction should be interesting, provide an opportunity to add something to almost anyone's collection and be fun too!
I've updated the lists of CSA paper money, Trains, etc...for sale. The T-10s went fast and I had multiple inquiries. The trains are selling well, so are some of the rare varieties. 1864 and common 1861-63 stuff is selling well on eBay. There also is some demand for better grade rarer type. Call / Email me if you have some, prices are firming up here.
Early American Coppers (EAC) Convention - April 2009 The Early American Coppers Convention was held in mid-April at the Drawbridge Inn in the Kentucky suburbs south of Cincinnatti. This is a favorite location due to its ease of access for many members and this show was very well attended. I did not have a table, but did display my Fugio Coppers of 1787 (first United States authorized coin). We were joined by the early silver people of the John Reich Collectors Society which added nicely to the events and festivities. There was a lot of activity and the auction yielded quite good results. One would not think there are any economic problems here.
There were two things about this show that are relevant to Confederate paper money.
1. My book - Collecting Confederate Paper Money - Field Edition 2008 - was the second best seller amongst the book dealers present with something like 8 copies sold. Only Dave Bowers new Colonial coinage book did better (a great book BTW). I talked with several people present who asked about CSA paper money including a small number of casual and one serious collector.
2. Third Party Grading (aka Slabs). If there is any community fortified against the onslaught of third party grading, it is EAC. Perhaps the most open community with a rich set of information available as well as a mentoring tradition, EAC has developed grading standards that have withstood the test of time and up and down markets better than other grading approaches (unlike market-oriented grading which fluctuates with the market). Despite these traditional grading techniques (aka EAC grading or collector-oriented grading), leading EAC collectors are having their collections "slabbed" and graded using multiple standards (Slab, EAC condition census, auction house) at auction. Why? A significant population of investors, Red Book collectors and others are now comfortable with these third party grading services (which have been around for 20+ years) and the EAC collectors want to cast as wide a net as possible to attract all bidders to the sale of their collections. The Walt Husak Collection of Early Date Large Cents was third party graded (and each coin was graded using 4 different opinions) and realized over $10 million for 301 coins! The upcoming Dan Holmes series of sales (the largest and most complete large cent collection ever assembled) will be likewise graded.
What does this have to do with CSA paper money or paper money in general? If a community steeped in tradition such as EAC is now co-existing with and leveraging third party grading at least in some circumstances, I believe it is inevitable in the paper money communities as well. The third party grading firms need to mature more - especially in areas outside of US Federal paper money. They need to be more consistent. They need to get better at detecting professional repairs. But as more casual wealth comes into the paper money hobby, a lot of it will be seeking the assurances of third party grading (assuming, of course, more maturity of these firms). More collectors and dealers will use third party grading to maximize sales price and a cycle will commence (already has in Federal paper money). The next "bull market" in CSA type may be fueled by these types of collectors and investors even as the current market firms up with more traditional collectors entering the hobby. I've seen quite a bit of the latter (traditional collectors entering the hobby) in the past year, especially with the publication of my 2008 CSA paper money book. I expect the former, third party grading, to have more impact at the Uncirculated level (already starting to happen) and perhaps high grade rarer type as well in the next decade.
Personally, I like to grade notes for myself. I like to use objective standards that most collectors use and describe these in my CSA paper money books. I believe that this is critical even if third party grading gets better and more mature in paper money. However, I also am practical and have observed how third party grading has evolved in coins and the most collector-oriented communities (e.g., EAC, early American silver coins) over the years. I've bought coins and notes that were third party graded and "cracked" them out. Others I've left in the holders. I believe, whether we like it or not, we will see third party grading play a bigger role in CSA paper money in the next decade.
Back to EAC, I look forward to the Dan Holmes sales of his large cent collection over 2009-2011 (his collection is THAT big)!
March 2009 Chattanooga Coin and Paper Money Show
I attended this show in mid-March in lieu of attending the Chicago paper money show as they unfortunately overlapped and Chattanooga is an easy drive. This was a good show despite missing good friends who were attending Chicago. I did not set up until Friday morning as I had to work into Thursday evening. I visited with several people that Friday morning before the show opened and found some rare military and place issued T-39s, 40s and 41s - some nice additions for the collection and a duplicate to sell. There were several dealers who sell Confederate paper money present and I enjoyed visiting with them all. I also ran into several Early American Copper dealers and collectors and caught up with them. The show was pretty busy through Friday and especially Saturday with a large crowd of people. They were buying and not just looking and some came to sell too. In addition to selling some Confederate, Southern State notes, I also sold a couple of large cents. Nearly ten of my Confederate paper money books sold, a good showing for a book that is approaching 1 year old.
I also visited with some Confederate Interim Depository Receipt (IDR) collectors and some obsolete collectors, one of whom is writing a book. The IDR collectors have been a great help to George Tremmel and myself and we've made significant progress on the first complete book on these interesting examples of Confederate fiscal paper. We hope to have a book available by the Memphis International Paper Money Show in 2010.
All in all, one would say that while people were a bit cautious and selective in their purchases, the show was a good one and did not exhibit the same dour mood as the economy, real estate market and stock market (though the latter has been making a bear market rally). I did not see evidence of wholesale, panic selling at all. In fact, it seems people are holding onto their Southern treausures even tighter during this period. Supply of Confederate paper money is lower than it has been in some time. I had the pleasure of talking to a few new collectors or those considering CSA paper money and sold more than one of them my book and gave some pointers as to how to get started. As I said in my book, this is a good time to get started while people are chasing other material, though it seems more collectors are adding Confederate notes to their collections. 1864 material, solid beginner stuff, was quite strong at this show.
We thank the many people who visit the web site, send feedback, information, buy books and notes. This is a major milestone, especially when one considers this is not page hits but unique individuals visiting the site counted just once per day. Contrast this with counts of page hits where a single visitor in a day may hit a site 3,5, or even 10 pages or times. By that measure CSA Quotes has greater than 250,000 page views over the past 5 years!
New Confederate Book Project!
Confederate Depository Receipts and Exchange Certificates
By George Tremmel and Pierre Fricke
Collectors of Confederate fiscal paper have long been fascinated by the interim depository receipts (IDRs) and exchange certificates.This book will explore the history of these important fiscal documents that bridged older issues of paper money to bonds or newer issues of paper money. The printers of official Confederate treasury notes and bonds could not keep up with demand for new paper money and print bonds to redeem the old paper money. Hence, the Confederate Treasury resorted to certificates of indebtedness or interim receipts. These were used to borrow money temporarily while new issues were substituted for the old paper money or to satisfy claims of those who had bought bonds which the treasury did not have on hand. See Figure for an example of an IDR issued by the depositary at Selma, Alabama.
In 1998, two great researchers and collectors of IDRs, Dr. Douglas B. Ball and John Martin (Marty) Davis, began collaborating on a definitive reference and history of these interesting documents. Unfortunately, Dr. Ball’s untimely death in 2003 ended this partnership.Subsequently, Pierre Fricke acquired Dr. Ball’s work, and more recently, Marty Davis approached George Tremmel to help author a book based on his earlier research. Tremmel contacted Fricke in late summer 2008 and the old collaboration was resumed.
In 2010, the authors plan to publish, a history and catalog of IDRs and exchange certificates originating in all eleven Confederate states. Several publishing options are being explored. The book will be modeled after recent award winning Confederate currency books by both Fricke and Tremmel. It will be portable, in full color and affordably priced. Its contents include an historical narrative and an illustrated catalog with rarities and pricing.
Several major collectors are helping already and we encourage others willing to contribute information and scans to contact us, please.
I attended the Dalton Civil War show and had my own table this year. This is a growing and increasingly popular Civil War show as demonstrated by the large turnout on Saturday. While some discussed the economy, most seemed more interested in browsing, buying and selling a whole range of Civil War artifacts, books, documents, paper money, etc... My favorite was the full-size replica of a rifled cannon with all the accoutrements for $45,000 (wonder what my wife would have done if I brought that home)!
I had a great show and really would not have thought of their being any economic problems at all.I arrived late Friday afternoon and proceeded to set up after talking with several friends.Several people had new rare variety notes to report or to consider.
A large crowd waited as the show opened at 10AM EST and they literally rushed in.I was at my table on the left side first row….a good place to be.I was constantly busy from 10AM through 3PM.Both Confederate notes and my book, Collecting Confederate Paper Money – Field Edition 2008, sold well. I also signed books for several people who came by. I sold a wide mix of items including some better type, common 1861 and 1864 type and rare varieties.I also displayed in one case some of my favorite notes – including my “mini” type set – T-15, T-19, T-22, T-23, T-31, T-32; The matching red American Bank Note Mississippi state notes ($100, $50, $20 and $10); CT-64; Kromer Hair Dye ad counterfeit CT-41 note; and even a couple of Yankee notes – the rare $5 and $10 1861 Demand notes.
I also was a strong buyer. I bought several rare varieties and a few other items. Finally, at this show – Mr. Blue (Vernon Vallance) with his extremely rare T-17 and Mr. Cash (me, from the time I waved a stack of cash to entice Vern to sell his blue T-17) swapped goods and I have been fortunate enough to add this great rarity to my collection.Thanks Vern.
This is a good show and I will have my same table (hopefully) in 2010!
FUN Show 2009
I had the pleasure of attending the FUN show in January in Orlando this year again. There was a lot of speculation about how the economy would affect this show and how the big auctions would respond.In a nutshell, it was a mixed bag.Heritage seemed pleased with overall results and there were a lot of people in attendance. I spent most of my time dealing in the Confederate and Southern State paper money realm as well as the U.S. large cent and Fugio copper arenas.
I actually was a strong buyer at this show and found some good deal both on the floor and at auction.I bought several group lots of CSA paper…some for eBay…some better notes.I sold some rare varieties privately.I bought an extremely rare Fugio copper as well (which I was thrilled to get)!
Let’s take a look at the Heritage sale. Heritage had a less than usual run of Confederate paper money this time.The most significant note was the newly discovered T-43 PF-1 with an inverted overprint (T-43 PF-1 IO).I did not acquire the note and three collectors (all three were represented) fought to the end – the note went for $20,700. Two Montgomery notes rounded out the top line featured notes of the Confederate section. The T-3 PF-2 at Fine to Very Fine opened at $11,500 hammer and did not sell.The T-4 PF-2 in a PCGS New 62 holder (Unc+) sold after the sale at $25,300. PCGS is pretty good grading Unc notes, but this time didn’t get it quite right.The note was AU+ and had been cleaned/de-acified and pressed with some wrinkles left in the note. The cut was decent, but not fully framed. Call it AU, it still was a good buy at $25,300. Another AU, perhaps a bit better, went for $34,000 in 2006.
Some of the other results… 12283.T-6 PF-1Fine (with some staining)$1,035. 12287.T-9 PF-13PCGS Gem New 66$1,323. 12289.T-10 PF-7Rare Variety – “reoeivable” error – did not sell at reserve $2,300. PMG net Fine 15.I call it Net VG-F. 12292.T-19 PF-1PMG VF-25 (F-VF to me) HOC with rare red date stamp $1,438. 12293.T-19 PF-1Fine (net VG-F to me) COC$805. 12295.T-23 PF-2Fine, CC some oxidation$805.( cheap) 12298.T-3020 pieces, average VF$1,150. 12300.T-33 PF-12PCGS VF-20 (F-VF with corner nip)$504. 12303.T-36 PF-4VF (About VF) Red Round Trans-Miss.$253.(a good buy) 12304.T-40 PF-2AU Issued from Houston twice$374. 12308.T-41 PF-13PMG New 63 (Unc+) commoner Whatman variety$546. 12311.T-43 PF-1PCGS VF-30(Abt VF, but really bad trim)$460. 12312.T-43 PF-1PMG VF-20 (F-VF to me)$518. 12314.T-45 PF-1VF-XF (XF to me and better than avg cut)2 notes$2,013. 12317.T-52 PF-21IBPMG Fine 12 (Fine or so, not so good cut)$1,725. (a good buy) 12318.T-53 PF-4PMG VF-25 POC (VF-POC)H-A error$276. (a cool note for a good price) 12320.T-61 Ch CU and AU (both AU to me)$748. 12321.T-62 PF-6CU (Unc to me) better variety$345.
There also were several large 1864 circulated note lots of which most sold for strong wholesale prices.
Finally, there was a Virginia Southern State rare 1861 $50 graded XF$7,475.
In general, I’d say there is strength in under rated, rare, special and provenanced items. There is strength in the Obsolete paper money market (perhaps too much – I talked to more than one Federal collector or investor moving into obsolete – I’ll buy your $20 1861 demand note to help you fund your obsolete collection – US paper money collectors!). Three or four CSA Montgomery notes sold on the floor as did several rare varieties, some of which I purchased, some went to others.
As America’s first coin, Fugio Coppers are tough to find….if you have high grade rare variety, condition census examples, I’m a strong buyer at collector level prices.
I attended the Society of Paper Money Collectors and Early American Coppers meetings. I also discussed several book projects with co-authors and others – some to be announced in the future.One, of course, is the 2nd volume of Collecting Confederate Paper Money – History and Census Edition which is well underway.I’ve had more than 200 people submit new notes for the census which will be published by 2011, perhaps sooner. If you have any rare varieties, please contact me.
In New York City, George Kolbe conducted a major numismatic literature sale where prices were generally strong to very strong despite the overlap with FUN. I thought the best buy in that sale was the first US coin book on early Colonial and Federal coinage and probably the most significant piece of U.S. numismatic literature – Hickcox’s American Coinage published in 1858 (there are three known in large format). A rare large size Haseltine CSA guide book from 1876 went for about $7,500 including the buyer fee (far above the $500 estimate).
Have fun and enjoy your collecting!
Dalton, Ga Civil War Show - Sat-Sun, Feb 7-8. I will have a table at the Dalton, Georgia Civil War show this weekend at the North Ga Covention Center off I-75 Exit 333. Please stop by to say hi, discuss CSA paper or other numismatics, get your book signed, see some neat stuff on display and for sale too. Look forward to seeing you there!
Confederate Paper Money Auctions in 2008 - Progress
A few auctions from Memphis through the Spink Smythe November 2008 auction had some significant Confederate money sections. Both the Lyn Knight Memphis and the Spink Smythe July and November sales had featured complete type sets and a few rare varieties. While Spink Smythe has been the historical leader in this segment and featured the highest quality cataloging traditionally, we can now say that several other auction firms have improved to the point to also offer high quality cataloging and grading. These include Heritage, Lyn Knight, Stack's and the Goldberg's. They all have Collecting Confederate Paper Money and are using it to postive result both in terms of better attribution and more conservative and better grading(1). While a few mistakes were made (we all make them), I applaud these firms' improvements as they now offer a better experience and product to collectors. I've heard this repeatedly from many, especially over the course of 2008. Let's take a closer look.
Lyn Knight's Memphis sale was well done. I was an active participant on many lots. I bought a few notes for resale as well as an important addition to my collection. In what was a deteriorating economy, Lyn achieved quite good results (click here for more). The T-41 PF-29 Wookey Hole Mill (AG, but extremely rare!) brought a record price (over $2000) as did a high grade (XF-AU) T-31 (over $12,000 - added 12/30: this is the finest known T-31 PF-2 C plen...probably one reason why it brought double a type T-31 in similar grade which is very rare and in the top ten anyway). Choice (as described in Collecting Confederate Paper Money) notes did well. After the auction, he asked a group of us how it went and, universally, all were quite happy! Congrats on a good auction, Lyn.
Lyn also hosted the PCDA October sale which had a strong Southern State offering. I liked the cataloging and grading here as well and was active. You would not think we were in a recession based on the prices realized here!
Spink Smythe has been in transition, working to complete the acquisition of R. M. Smythe in March 2008. There were a few speed bumps managing different auction mailing lists where some did not get catalogs, etc... I've been assured they are passed these integration challenges and are hitting on all cylinders now. Despite these speed bumps, they did produce an excellent catalog for their July and November sales with Confederate type sets and some rare varieties featured. The November sale featured a higher quality type set than July, but both auctions has some interesting notes. The timing of the November sale was not so great as it fell two days after an historic election during the height of a financial panic. Despite this, the results were respectable, all things considered. The market for most numismatics had slowed considerably (except for the rarest or most significant items, but even here there was some impact - see Heritage's September Long Beach sale of Large Type US notes). Spink Smythe did their usual excellent cataloging and grading job (except for the CT-64 - for some strange reason, it was catalogued as common and not featured!). While I have helped catalog Spink Smythe sales in the past, I've only answered questions in 2008 sales so the credit goes to the Spink Smythe team. You can see more on these sales here (click this link) - See Sale 288- Autumn Currency Sale (Lots 478-570). For the July sale (Sale 282), only prices realized are posted. See these here (click this link).
Heritage has the upcoming FUN 2009 sale. While not featuring a complete type set, there are important type notes as well as a few significant rare varieties including the recently discovered T-43 PF-1 inverted overprint (actually the green 2 TWO in an underprint which I need to updated in the next version of my book). Heritage delivers an excellent catalog as well as Internet or live experience. I just received the catalog and am quite impressed with the way they've presented the notes and look forward to being there in person!
By the way, I have been a strong buyer of late, purchasing quite a lot of Confederate paper money. At the Nashville Civil War show in December, I was mostly buying notes (some rare items as well as significant groups of 1864 and T-39-40-41 notes for resale which will be featured in new January lists). I and others also sold a lot of Collecting Confederate Paper Money - Field Edition 2008 to many collectors and some of the dealers present.
I've also had a very strong year selling as collectors remain willing to buy conservatively graded and rare notes regardless of the economic backdrop. In some cases, they are new people coming into the hobby. In other cases, its long time collectors capitalizing on an opportunity to add unobtainable and difficult to obtain notes to their collections (e.g., my T-33 sale this Fall).
Have a Happy New Year and look forward to more fun in 2009!
(1) I don't endorse all grades presented in these catalogs and you need to make your own decision. However, I am quite pleased as a purchaser of notes from these firms with their improved grading quality over the past year or two.
2008 – The End of the “FIRE” Economy
Now that the year-end holidays are here, it is a good time to reflect on what happened this year and what may come in 2009.2008 was a historic year on several dimensions. We had financial earthquakes of epic proportions. We finally got main stream media talking about the real estate bust which had been underway since 2006. We saw an historic election where the USA decided to move to the left (which it often has during hard times during the 20th century – we then end up with different excesses or harder times and move back to the right!). I believe the title sums it up – the end of the “FIRE” (Financial services, Insurance, Real Estate) driven economy is here.Not to say these industries go away; of course, they don’t.However, they will be dramatically restructured and more heavily regulated going forward. There won’t be anywhere near as many or as well paying jobs in these industries for at least a generation as there were during the past two decades. We are going to have to invest and produce more at home over time, as foreigners tire of propping up our lifestyle.This means a return of domestic and regional manufacturing, investments in infrastructure, more local agriculture, and (hopefully) investment in new energy technologies and transportation systems that take advantage of those new and old technologies (e.g., electric trains, plug-in hybrid cars, etc…) before it is too late. It will be too late when OPEC and Russia decide to no longer accept dollars for oil and demand gold or rubles or some new Asian currency (or if the dollar is dramatically devalued vs. Asian currencies). What would you do if you were limited to 10 gallons of gasoline per month in a rationing system? I hope the U S of A is up to the transition. Oil at $30-$40 is setting us up for the “mother” of all energy crises down the road as projects are shelved and supply begins to fall (demand has fallen faster than supply for now, pushing prices down too low to encourage good long term planning or projects).
Essentially, we’ve lost a lot of trust in the financial system – both domestically and overseas. We saw a lot of fraud and will see more revealed. We see lending contracting and see deflation now with little trust in the financial system. We see our and other central banks feverishly “printing” money to offset this deflation.It remains unclear which will win – will we see a rerun of Japan 1990s-2000s or the 1930s deflation?Or a return of the 1970s US inflation or even 1920s German inflation?
Right now, residential real estate is down between 10% and 50% in most parts of the country with some outliers already down 70% (yep, one can find houses in parts of FL or CA that went for $500K in 2005 for $150K now and still dropping!).Having lived through the Texas real estate crash of the late 1980s (Austin – which was not an oil, but a speculation driven mania), I expect most suburban real estate to fall to less than 100 times monthly rent assuming a stable neighborhood and stable rents.80 times monthly rent for areas with some uncertainty and declining rents. These numbers will move savvy (income / cash flow) investors back into the market enmass and represent a pricing floor. Most resort areas (2nd homes) will be hit hard too. A few exceptions to this may include prime waterfront property, close-in city 1890s – 1930s old “street-car” neighborhoods with good schools and lots of high paying employment close-by, and perhaps a few other special locales where supply is constrained and desirability is high. These areas may see smaller drops and may hold at 150 to 180 times monthly rent +/-.
Against this backdrop, numismatics motors on. Certainly some areas are slowing down.But other items remain in demand as well-to-do collectors realize that great collections are built in down times when rare material comes available. These collectors also have lost faith in the traditional investment arenas and seek to further diversify out of the fraudulent financial system. They cannot abandon the financial system and don’t, but a good number are looking to expand their collections now. Casual collectors are seeking solace in their collections as well. Numismatics did fairly well in the 1930s and very well in the 1970s. There are no guarantees this time around, but history can be instructive.
Confederate paper money, large cents, colonial coins and other numismatic items of significance, rarity, quality or unique interest continue to hold up quite well in the face of these economic challenges. I can say CSA paper money has saved me twice now – once when I sold a lot of stock in 2000 and started collecting; and again this year!Perhaps Southern great-great-grandparents lost out holding this money, but we’ve benefited!I’ve had a record year buying and selling – both paper money and early American coppers – and have had a lot of fun while maintaining value in most of my collection and dealer inventory!
2008 also saw the publication of Collecting Confederate Paper Money – Field Edition 2008.Thanks to all who have helped on both the creation and the distribution sides.This new book is outselling the 2005 edition at twice the pace.I’ve received hundreds of communications this year with new information, questions, people inquiring on how to get started collecting, etc…This is good news! This is a book written by a collector and the collecting community with the collector perspective in mind. I’ve also had the benefit of also sitting behind the table as a part-time dealer and appreciate the hard work of that side of the table as well. I’ve been told the Field Edition 2008 is a $100 book for $40!
The second volume of the update to the 2005 book will be ready in 2010 (or thereabouts) with a lot of new census information, expanded specialty area item sections, as well as historical narrative.There also are other book projects underway in both other arenas of CSA fiscal paper and large cents that I am involved in for 2010 or 2011 which will be announced soon.
I wish all a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Holidays and a (more) prosperous 2009. I will be at the FUN show in Florida Jan 8-10 walking the floor, visiting people, and attending auction and educational sessions.
Current Census Count of the Big 6 CSA notes - Nov 25, 2008 Here is an updated count of the Montgomeries, Eagle and Shield and Indian Princess. Note, the Indian Princess is not the rarest note despite some continuing to propagate the mythology to continue this belief. OTOH, it carries a premium for aesthetic and emotional reasons surrounding the panache of the Indian Princess vignette and legend. The rarest Confederate notes are denoted with "NC" (Non-Collectible) in Collecting Confederate Paper Money.
The T-1 and T-35 command premiums due to their unique denomination (T-1) and vignette mystique (T-35) over the other 4 Big Six.
2008 CSA Book - Halfway Sold out at Wholesale Level - Sep 30, 2008
I placed an order for another 100 books to sell myself yesterday and with that order, more than half of the print run of the 2008 book is sold at the wholesale level! Thanks to all who have purchased and helped with the book!
Heritage Long Beach Sale of Confederate Paper Money - Sep 14, 2008
There is an interesting set of collections for sale this week at the Long Beach Heritage sale. Included are a T-16 whatman, some rare T-24s, including a NY countermark example, and extremely rare T-33s including a PF-11 StateII and PF-20. Also, some nice type may be found. While I haven't viewed the notes in person, the grading looks pretty good, especially the Heritage graded notes. The attributions are spot on - they are using the 2008 an 2005 editions of Collecting Confederate Paper Money. Happy Hunting and good luck.
I found this blog to be interesting - highlights the evolution of third party grading in coins. In paper money, we are about where third party grading was for coins in 1990 or so - except PCGS and NCG were stricter for coins back then than they are now for coins or currency (circulated paper money especially). There has been some pressure on the grading services not to loosen any more (and once the coin bull market ends...we may see a re-tightening as we did in past slow downs...always best to be reasonably conservative and consistent!).
Attending the Blue Ridge show at Dalton Georgia, Aug 29-31!
I will be sharing a table with Randy Shipley (406/408) at the Dalton show, Aug 29-31 this weekend. My new Confederate paper money book will be available. Please come by the table to get yours first - make my table your first stop on Friday morning!
I also will be buying Confederate and Southern States paper money. Some examples of what I will be buying:
CSA - Type 10 PF-1 through PF-10 inclusive - VF and better - $1400 or more. CSA - Type 19 any - Choice VF and better - $10000. CSA - Type 20 any - Choice AU or Choice Unc - $500 and up. CSA - Type 23 any - Choice VF and better - $5000 and up. (will consider Choice F-VF) CSA - Type 37 any - Choice AU or Choice Unc - $1500 and up. CSA - Type 38 any - Choice F-VF or VF - $5000 and up. CSA - T-39, 40 and 41 Military issue - F and better - $200 and up for most. CSA - Type 42 any - Choice Unc - $1000 and up. CSA - Type 44 any - Choice Unc - $500 and up. Rare watermarks - Wookey Hole Mill, Whatman, J Green and Son, NY - highest price paid on floor. Inverted backs - highest price paid on floor.
Texas - Republic - Austin - A1 through A8 - Choice AU or Choice Unc - bright white Mississippi - ABNC red notes - Choice AU or Choice Unc - strong color Mississippi - Cotton and Faith pledged notes - Choice XF or better Florida - most low denominations - Choice VF or better - strong color Virginia - CR-1 and CR-2 - Choice AU or Unc - strong color - paying at or over Shull Southern States catalog value depending upon quality and which notes.
I am buying XF-AU rare Fugio Coppers by Newman variety as well (lower grade for R7s)!
It will be worth your time to stop by!
New Confederate Paper Money Book - Progress One Week into General Availability - August 22, 2008
I received my order of 100 books from Spink Smythe last Friday, August 15, 2008. I have sold nearly half of them in the first week! Here are reactions from two major Confederate paper money collectors upon receiving the book this week:
"The book is fantastic! Congratulations! I'm sort of fond of the big book, but this is really a nice, useful size. The color is a terrific improvement and just looking at the rarity scale makes you ask why no one ever laid it out this way before."
"Your book arrived today and I have been reading it for the past couple of hours. It certainly has lived up to its advance billing. Congratulations on a job well done!"
More on Memphis - July 25, 2008
I always enjoy attending Memphis as it is the paper money show where most of the people in the paper money hobby that will attend a show, go. So we get the opportunity to see many friends, old and new, and catch up on the events of the past year. This show was special for three reasons 1). I released an early shipment of Collecting Confederate Paper Money - Field Edition 2008, 2). I had my own table in a section with Randy Shipley and Cruch Williams (also known as the Trainmen section, though other Train(wo)men had tables around the floor), and 3). I became a governor of the Society of Paper Money Collectors.
The 50 copies of the new Confederate paper money book (we had special shipped to the show) were split between myself and Spink Smythe - I sold out in 3 hours on Friday morning, referring people to Spink Smythe after that. The new CSA book will be gererally available in early August (hoped it would have been before, but shipping, customs, etc... take time). Approximately 1500 copies have been sold into various channels/dealers as of this writing.
Unfortunately, I did not plan my time well on Thursday and Friday I had several meetings, including an SPMC and an authors meetings which took up quite a bit of time. I missed seeing several people who came just for Thursday and Friday for a short time! Sorry about that.
Lyn Knight, known for his strength in National Paper Money and some Federal issues, took extra effort with a significant consignment of Confederate paper money - I applaud his effort and so did a lot of other people. It was interesting in that the Confederate paper money was a bit stronger than US Federal Large Size Type, except for the 1860s issues, which also were strong. Could we be seeing a shift in the market, as they happen from time to time? There were some significant notes in this sale - I'll point out just a couple of them.
XX-4 Transitional Upham note to XX-1 Reindeer note - 3 known - $2,300. This was pretty interesting because this note is rarer than XX-2 and XX-3 as well as CT-64, is equally significant, yet went for a fraction of what those notes go for, especially the CT-64 ($23K for a F-VF)!
Type 1 PF-1 F-VF-POC went for $26,450. Type 11 PF-4 VG +/- with some minor repair went for $2,640. Type 15 PF-1 F-VF went for $5530 (but was poorly cut). Type 27 PF-1 in Good or so, with repair, went for $4313 (a good price). Type 31 PF-1 in XF-AU (2 folds and pressed once, but a great looking note) went for $12,650!!! It is in the top ten, but probably not top 4 or 5. Type 35 PF-1 in VG with some repair went for $19,950 (an OK price). Type 41 PF-29 a very rare Wookey Hole Mill variety (missing from the Dr Ball and Gene Mintz collections) went for $2185 in AG.
All in all it was a great show, got a bit slow on Saturday afternoon, but was fun. I look forward to next year!
Memphis was a Fun Show! (July 1, 2008)
The Memphis show was a lot of fun. We saw many old and new friends. Bought and sold some CSA material. Displayed a complete set of NY countermarked CSA notes and the only complete set of collecitble T-10s ever assembled.
We also had 50 copies of Collecting Confederate Paper Money - 2008 that were divided between myself and Spink Smythe and all have sold! We will have the book available in quantity before ANA in late July. It was very well received - especially the smaller form factor, brilliant color, new information and useability. This is a community developed book and I included people that are not regular CSA note collectors in this process to help improve the book.
New CSA Book, strong buyer of CSA and Southern States - Memphis 2008
I will have my own table at Memphis this year. My new Confederate paper money book will be available at this show in limited numbers (we are having a few cases air shipped - it will be generally available in July). Please come by the table to get yours first - make my table your first stop on Friday morning!
I also will be buying Confederate and Southern States paper money. Some examples of what I will be buying:
CSA - Type 10 PF-1 through PF-10 inclusive - VF and better - $1400 or more. CSA - Type 19 any - Choice VF and better - $10000. CSA - Type 20 any - Choice AU or Choice Unc - $500 and up. CSA - Type 23 any - Choice VF and better - $5000 and up. (will consider Choice F-VF) CSA - Type 37 any - Choice AU or Choice Unc - $1500 and up. CSA - Type 38 any - Choice F-VF or VF - $5000 and up. CSA - T-39, 40 and 41 Military issue - F and better - $200 and up for most. CSA - Type 42 any - Choice Unc - $1000 and up. CSA - Type 44 any - Choice Unc - $500 and up. Rare watermarks - Wookey Hole Mill, Whatman, J Green and Son, NY - highest price paid on floor. Inverted backs - highest price paid on floor.
Texas - Republic - Austin - A1 through A8 - Choice AU or Choice Unc - bright white Mississippi - ABNC red notes - Choice AU or Choice Unc - strong color Mississippi - Cotton and Faith pledged notes - Choice XF or better Florida - most low denominations - Choice VF or better - strong color Virginia - CR-1 and CR-2 - Choice AU or Unc - strong color - paying at or over Shull Southern States catalog value depending upon quality and which notes.
It will be worth your time to stop by!
I also will have a few of my old book available - which still is a really good book to have in your library.
I look forward to seeing you at the Memphis show!
Good Example of Collector- vs Market Grading - May 17, 2008
I ran across this T-22 in a recent Heritage sale. Note Criswell's market grade of VF-XF as contrasted with Heritage's F-VF grade. Heritage got it right. However, at $805 is was a bargain - possibly going to a dealer for resale. A true VF-XF T-22 would bring upwards of $2500.
I attended the FUN show and auction of Confederate and obsolete notes last week. FUN shows are always fun! I saw a lot of great people, had a full agenda, and found / bought a few interesting pieces. This show was very busy with a lot of activity on the floor as well as in the auction room. I also spent some time with people who have been helping write Collecting Confederate Paper Money - Field Edition 2008 as well as those who will help market it and sell it later this year. There is a lot of excitement around a field edition with a level of information to give the collector the "edge" when acquiring CSA notes!
I bought and sold some CSA notes in the auction. Heritage has become a solid conservative grader, it seems, using collector-oriented standards as outlined in my book. I hope they continue that trend as they offered good value at this sale. A few special notes brought strong results. These included (my grade):
12665. T-7 PF-4 VF-XF $ 2,990 12666. T-7 PF-1 State II VG-F $ 1,840 12671. XX-1 Ch Unc $ 489 12677. T-13 PF-6 State I AU $ 748 12684. T-17 VF (better than avg) $ 1,610 12689. T-22 PF-1 Ch VF+ $ 4,025 ex Chiappa, Fricke; also Criswell & Fricke plate note! Note - Ch VF+ can be worth more than XF average. This sold in my 2004 type collection sale for around $2800 if I recall when it was just the Criswell plate note. 12692. T-23 PF-1 F-VF HOC $ 2,415 (repaired)...great color. 12700. T-30 Ch AU+ (PCGS-63) $ 978 12711. T-41 PF-4 Unc+ $ 4,600 Wookey Hole Mill, 4th finest. ex Ford. 12712. T-43 PF-1 VF+ $ 2,875 12722. T-58 Ch Unc (PCGS-64) $ 805 12727. T-68 sheet Unc $ 1,955
These notes went for strong prices, in some cases, setting a record (e.g., T-41 PF-4).
There were two T-9 notes that acutally were pretty good deal even though they appeared to command high prices. 12673 was Choice AU+, a gorgeous note, worth more than Unc in my view given its eye appeal. This went for about $375. Ch AU T-9s will be listed in my new book at a value of $600 and they have brought that. 12674 made Ch Unc in my view and a great buy at $460. The point is that choice notes within any grade with great color, cut and eye appeal can be worth more than an average note a whole grade higher. Would you rather an Unc T-9 trimmed into the margin or a Ch XF note, great white color and fully framed?
Other notes were soft, a few surprisingly so. The T-4 PCGS-62 was cheap. However, it had a bit too much handling for me to be Unc - I call it AU+. Where were the high end type collectors? It should have gone for $10K more. The T-16 Whatman went to a dealer (I think, who will make some good money on it). The T-38 Choice Fine went to reserve at $2875 (too cheap, a good deal) and the 1864 rare variety set was a good opportunity (there are some that want individual notes, perhaps this was not the best way to sell). Some of the T-39s, 40s and 41s in the final session went pretty cheap as well. Other, more run of the mill type in average condition and graded properly were somewhat weak as well. This illustrates that we are still in a soft period in the CSA market for average material (average basic type has been soft since 2004, but modest, under $100 notes have gained strength this past year) and good buys may also be found. The slow part of the market cycle is a good time to buy high quality type and / or rare variety notes. It's a good time to get started as material is readily available, much more so than in 2002, unless exceptionally rare.
The obsolete material was generally strong, but not all of it, interestingly enough. Lot 12806, the 1865 $50 Florida CR-42 note was quite cheap, for example, going to a dealer who will make some money. The Louisiana parish and other notes were something I watched with interest. I have a collection of obsoletes and Southern States and do acquire some notes on occasion. This show, I decided to focus my buying elsewhere.
Overall, the FUN show is one of the best shows of the year, with many good friends in attendance and good weather to enjoy in January! Hope to see you there next year.
January 16, 2008
FUN 2008 - Heritage Sale - CSA Notes
Heritage just posted its FUN 2008 currency sale which includes quite an interesting assortment of Confederate notes. Along with other consignments, I have some of the notes in this sale and provide additional information regarding those notes in the PDF file at right.
Some of the interesting notes in this sale include.
T-4 PF-1 PCGS New 62. This is a great note as it appears in the scans on their site (I've not viewed it in person yet). Just a touch trimmed into the margin at the top keeps it from Choice Unc and New 63 or above. This will give us some idea how much of a premium collectors are willing to pay for the perceived and perhaps real safety factor in buying expensive third party graded notes. It is possible, that within 10 years, all major type high grade type notes will need to be certified to realize maximum price potential assuming one of the grading services solidifies its ability to grade consistently and detect and report repairs.
Many T-5s and T-6s. These are beautiful notes and always popular. As we see here, they are not as rare as their low print run indicate as they were saved in significant quantities as they paid interest (unlike T-7 and later notes which heavily circulated).
T-7 PF-1 B plate T-7 rare variety.
T-13s PF-4 and PF-6 rare plate state Is. One of these are mine. See PDF at right.
T-15 PF-1. Looks like a strong F-VF to me on the collector scale, but a great note with strong color and worthy of a strong bid.
T-16 PF-17 J Whatman...3rd finest known in collector's hands! ex Fricke. See PDF.
T-17 PF-2 Looks Choice Unc in the scan and a heck of a note! Great color.
T-18 Uncut Sheet.
T-19 PF-1 nice Fine, uncut.
T-22 PF-1 serial number 455. Choice note! Not only Criswell and Fricke plate notes, but the note was part of the Chiappa and Fricke collections! I sold this as part of my type set in Smythe's July 2004 sale. One of my favorites!
T-38 PF-1 Choice Fine. Better eye appeal than some of the VFs in the top ten condition census!
One of the great notes in this auction is one of the Ford examples of the T-41 PF-4 Wookey Hole Mill watermarked notes. Currently, this ranks 4th in the condition census with two Choice Uncs (with full frame lines) and three Unc+ notes including this one with great eye appeal and not quite a full frame line. While not quite Choice Unc in my book, this example may be the finest available for quite some time into the future as the finest resides in my collection and I’ve placed the next two examples in the census in other long term collections. I’ve been fortunate enough to own 5 of the 6 top notes and have had the opportunity to compare this one with a couple of the others in the top 5. I’ve been thrilled to own each and every one of them and pass them on to others to enjoy as I upgrade. There are just a few of these available in this state of preservation and I’d expect strong bidding on this one as several people have asked me to find one for them. The current record for a T-41 PF-4 is a bit north of $4000 for one of the two known Choice Uncs I sold on eBay 2 years ago or so. You may view my current Wookey Hole Mill collection here including my example of this variety.
T-43 PF-1 Well above average!
Nice T-49s, 50s, 56s and a 58.
T-60 PF-25. Very rare and unusual variety with the tiny lithographer's name at left. This one one of the best notes in collector's hands. One of mine. See PDF at right.
Set of major 1864 error varieties. I've been holding these as I upgraded or found a duplicate to put this set together. I was lucky enough to complete it this year and now offer it to a collector who will appreciate a set of great rarities to complement and enhance their type or variety set. This set is undervalued at the estimate in my opinion as these are major errors with most of them truly very rare with less than a dozen known. See PDF at right.
There are also a good number of interesting notes in the online session as well. Including a number of rare varieties and tough T-39, T-40 and T-41 military and other issues. I have some of these as well. See PDF at right.
I will attend FUN 2008 and this auction and look forward to seeing you there! Feel free to email me if you have questions.
Dr. Ball's Manuscript - Sample of Criswell T-8; Ball T-9; $50 July 25 1861 Note
Many have wondered what Dr. Ball's book may have looked like if published. Attached is a sample of the last version of the typed manuscript as he left it in 2003. Dr. Ball was going to change the type numbering system (combining T-25 and T-26 and T-39 and T-40, for example) as well as the variety system (B-1 through B-800 +/-). Also, he was using a proprietary rarity scale that he never published nor distributed with his manuscript to reviewers. Luckily, I spent quite a bit of time with Dr. Ball in NYC in 2002 before he passed away, giving me the knowledge to decipher this manuscript and convert it into a form more consumable by a wide audience of collectors. The condition census work and the front 100 pages of work in Collecting Confederate Paper Money were based on my research and were additions to Dr. Ball's foundation.
This sample is of Criswell Type 8 (Ball Type 9) and the beginning of Criswell Type 7 (Ball Type 10). I decided to retain the Criswell types as they are too embedded and fixed the variety scale in a manner that has worked better (more easily updated) with rare coins (1-N per type, rather than 1-N across all types).
A Guide Book to Counterfeit Confederate Currency by George Tremmel
I purchased my copy of A Guide Book to Counterfeit Confederate Currency by George Tremmel in mid-October at the Whitman show in Atlanta. I also visited with George for a while discussing numerous topics and he signed my new book. I really enjoyed the show and the people I visited with there. I encourage people to attend future Atlanta Whitman shows.
George's book is a major update to his 2003 counterfeit Confederate currency book. Improvements include - full color illustrations, more solid rarity ratings based on additional research, CSA counterfeit sheets, the counterfeit local shinplasters and counterfeit bonds. He also adds prices for multiple grade levels. He carries forward his outstanding historical dissertation from his earlier book and updates it with new information.
My favorite part of the book is the upfront historical discussion, though, I don't need to carry this around to shows. The good news is the book is less than 400 pages and quite portable even with the historical information. George has incorporated a lot of feedback and input from numerous collectors and dealers, whom he gives credit in the front of the book, including me. As a collector of counterfeit Confederate paper money and counterfeit bonds, I find his book useful and helpful in identifying varieties and understanding the latest thinking on rarity. An outstanding job overall!
The one part of the book that I differ with George over is his pricing. Of course, this is the most difficult part of a book like this, and I as a fellow author, fully appreciate this challenge. I have two differences of opinion on this.
1. I record actual transaction values between knowledgeable people and at auction as much as possible. George removed the emotional element of pricing and presents a fomulamatic approach. That's fine, but since valuation by definition includes an emotional element, I believe in some cases, his valuations are not realistic.
2. While I agree with his assertions about the nature of XX-2/T-47 and XX-3/T-48 and the nature of the marketing around these mysterious notes, I do not agree with the dramatically low prices he presents. See next article for more on this!
Many of the valuations George presents for the common variety type notes are in the ball park. His valuations on the very rare types (CT-11, 35, 64) are also good estimates in my opinion. Where I differ are on the rare varieties. I believe the major rare varieties (e.g., CT-10 and CT-31 with green overprint) and some of the tougher types (e.g., CT-28, CT-44) are worth more than what is presented in the book. As we've seen in the regular issue CSA notes, major rare varieties are highly sought out and command significant premiums over rare minor varieties and even over key types. Other very rare, but obscure, varieties may be over valued in my opinion such as the minor, obscure R10 CT-18s. There are likely more of these around and, unlike regular issue Confederate Treasury notes where we have decades and hundreds of person-years of research on rarity, we are only a decade or two into understanding the rarity of these counterfeits, particularly the minor varieties. There are no known transactions (to me or George by his own admission) of a CT-18/101A, for example, R-10 at $1200 for an Unc. I'm a buyer at $200-$250 or so.
With the exception of some of the pricing, notably the most difficult task of any numismatic book, George's book is a great contribution to the collecting fraternity and excellent addition to my library. His book will stimulate more interest in this fascinating area and will help me in my collecting and dealing endeavors as well.
The XX-2/T-47 & XX-3/T-48 Debate Continues
I visited with George Tremmel at the Whitman Atlanta show earlier in October where he and Whitman Publishing debuted his new book, A Guide Book of Counterfeit Confederate Currency. I review his book in another article on this web site. It is a significant update to his 2003 book and a great addition to my library. Here I want to briefly discuss the "October Surprise" that George presented in his book with respect to the fantasy notes XX-2 (T-47) and XX-3 (T-48). There has been no new information found on the XX-2 (T-47) and XX-3 (T-48) fantasy notes for many decades. XX-2 and XX-3 were not regular issue notes by the Confederate Treasury under any of the accepted or proposed theories. One possible theory postulates these notes are the experimental paper money samples (e.g., printed signatures) not put into regular use. Another, more likely, scenario is that XX-2 and XX-3 are fantasy issues by some non-governmental party. Additionally, they may be contemporary or post-War. No one knows for sure. In his new book, A Guide Book of Counterfeit Confederate Currency, George Tremmel asserts that it is most likely these are fantasy notes of the same vein as the Female Riding Deer note (XX-1) and may even be in the same class as the post-War copies of XX-1! He goes on to give XX-2 and XX-3 low valuations, not based on current market, but based on what they might be worth as fantasy notes in the same category as XX-1 contemporary with the War. On page 239 George reports a XX-2/T-47 in AU-Unc for $175! On page 240, he reports XX-3/T-48 in AU-Unc for $850! Any for sale at those numbers, George?!? Further, he believes that the current high valuations are based on mythology (Essays) and marketing by packaging as type notes. I agree with his assertion these are not type notes, nor belong as a required part of a complete regular issue Confederate Treasury note type set. I agree that today’s market valuations are based, in part, but not totally, with these notes being marketed and positioned in a type set. However, if these were real regular type notes, they would command premiums in excess of the T-35 and T-1 due to rarity (especially the XX-3/T-48). They do make great additions to type sets, though I’d rather add much rarer regular issue notes like J Green and Son, Wookey Hole Mill and inverted back examples to my type set (and did). There is risk that the next generation of collectors (I'm in that generation) rejects these as part of a type set which would drive valuations down, though probably not to the level of XX-1. On the other hand, the elevated controversy generated by the XX-2 and XX-3 listings in George Tremmel’s 2008 counterfeit CSA currency book may drive values even higher!We’ve seen this happen in rare coins.
There has been and will continue to be a concerted marketing effort by dealers and collectors who own these notes to position them as part of a type set.There is nothing wrong with marketing and packaging as long as it is not misleading. I am neutral on the matter as I don’t own nor am seeking examples for my collection. It will be interesting to see this drama play out over the next decade.
I report valuations based on real market transactions between knowledgeable people as much as possible. A Choice XF (or Ch XF-AU) XX-2 example which was a spectacular example traded hands for $14K in the summer of 2007.
The Frederick Mayer Confederate Notes and Bonds Sale
I rarely consider taking out a mortgage on the house to finance my collecting habits. However, the Frederick Mayer Confederate Notes and Bonds sale had me pause to seriously consider it.Mayer’s collection was that good! In the end, a conservative streak won out. Nevertheless, I did manage to acquire some special bonds from the Mayer collection and a few notes in the other sections of Smythe’s International Paper Money Show sale held July 5th through July 7th.
Mayer’s Montgomery notes kicked off the sale of his collection.These Montgomery notes along with the unique T-66 inverted back in another part of the sale were the highlights of the Confederate notes offered in the Smythe auction. Mayer assembled a wonderful collection of mostly mid-grade notes.With 13 Montgomeries in the Mayer collection (plus one additional T-3 in another part of the sale), a wide range of Montgomery notes was available to collectors and dealers of Confederate paper money, making this an ideal time to add to or start a collection. Dr Douglas Ball’s T-1 $1,000 Montgomery note headed this Montgomery set. At AU restored with cut-cancels closed, net XF-CC (my grades reported here), it was a beautiful note realizing $60,375 (prices realized include 15% buyers premium). A summary of the results follows:
T-1AU, net XF-CC ex Ball$60,375
T-3About VF$ 9,775
T-4XF-CC, closed, choice appearance$16,200
T-4About Fine-CC but with a coolNew Orleans custom house stamp$ 9,775
My observation from this sale and Smythe’s April 2007 Western Reserve sale is that the speculators and most of the investors are playing in other parts of the obsolete and US paper money markets making this an ideal time for the traditional collector to assemble a collection of Confederate notes including the Montgomeries which are available at good prices today. Considering the number of Montgomery notes available, prices and floor action were quite respectable indicating an ongoing interest in these historically significant notes.
The other Confederate paper money highlight was the T-66 PF-11IB inverted back, unique, realized $9,775 in another part of the sale with multiple book bids and three floor, phone and/or internet bidders. There was quite a bit of interest at the show in building focused variety collections such as the inverted back and complete T-33 collection I exhibited. I enjoyed talking with many collectors and dealers on this topic at the Memphis paper money show.
There was a lot of buzz in the Confederate bond collecting fraternity prior to the sale. A good number of the rarest bonds most of which had not been seen on the market since the Ball sale in 1987or Ford sale in the late 1990s. These include with prices realized:the Ball
8hand drawn mockup$21,850
20Ahand written bond$11,500
29hand written bond$ 8,050
141 hand written bonds (4)$ 1,955 to $4,025
142Flagenheimer (3)$ 9,775 to $13,800
149the great essay bond$43,125 ( a new record price for aCSA bond)
151 and 152 cotton bond lots$11,500 and $20,700
277$500 4% call certificate$ 9,775
280hand drawn essai$ 8,625
281hand drawn essai$ 9,200
341I issuedfarmer plowing$ 3,737.50
In addition, there was a complete set offour Montgomery bonds and four Montgomeries crossed out with Richmond written in which were sought after with prices ranging from $1,500 for the $1000 Ball 17 with minor repair up to $14,375 for the extremely rare $100 Ball 12. These make a wonderful, historically significant, and convenient due to smaller size focused bond collection and remain undervalued in my opinion. The largest groups of Ball 19 Ben Franklin and Ball 20 Confederacy bonds ever to appear at auction were sold, with a good number going for a wholesale price as collectors focused their attention on the bonds described above. This was a great opportunity to acquire one of each of these bonds which are also very significant additions to any collection of Confederate fiscal paper.
There were many large group lots and other rare bonds available as well. The large group lots tended to go to dealers and other retailers as expected.Popular bonds such as those featuring Jefferson Davis or General Winder (of Stonewall Brigade fame) went for strong prices as did the Trans-Mississippi issues.
The Mayer Confederate note and bond sale was a major highlight of my collecting experience. Truly interesting and rare material was available for collectors to add to their great collections carrying forward Dr. Ball’s. John Ford’s and Frederick Mayer’s stewardship of these great bonds and notes!
This article was also published in Bank Note Reporter - August 2007.
My Exhibit at Memphis 2007 - Confederate Paper Money:Inverted Backs
Confederate paper money was printed using (mostly) lithographic stones where the designs of the note were transferred from a master plate to a printing stone. The printing stone would be used for some thousands of sheets until it wore or broke. With the exception of the Manouvrier T-12 $5 note, the Confederacy did not print backs on its paper money until the December 2 1862 Fifth Series issues of T-49 through T-55. Starting with this December 2 1862 Fifth Series the $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 of 1862, the Sixth Series of April 6 1863 and the Seventh Series of February 1864 also had printed backs to make the notes more difficult to counterfeit and easier to identify when in use.
While a good strategy, with far fewer counterfeits known of these later Series, it also introduced the possibility of error where the back would be upside down from the front. These are one of the more fascinating errors in Confederate paper money - the inverted back. These were created when the printers put the sheet upside down onto the second printing plate to print either the front or the back after the first side was printed. While it is a simple error, quality control procedures and perhaps discarded error printings, make these inverted backs extremely rare with the most common is still rare.
Collecting inverted backs are may stimulate further investigation into printing techniques of the period. The fun of collecting inverted backs today is the hunt or the chase to find something extremely rare with one or only a few known. This also is the case with Federal notes printed over the 19th and 20th century as well. An inverted back makes an interesting addition to a type set and a collection of inverted backs is a rare sight indeed. This collection displayed here represents the most types and varieties of inverted backs ever assembled.
It’s always a thrill to find one. X = present in this collection.
Collectible Inverted Backs (3 or more in collectors’ hands)
XT-52 PF-1IB R-7No series XT-52 PF-9IB R-63 Series near top; Printed by B. Duncan XT-52 PF-21IB R-7-4 Series near top; Printed by B. Duncan XT-58 PF-12IB R-7+ 1st Series XT-59 PF-19IB R-6+2nd Series XT-59 PF-33IB R-7No series; Litho’d by Evans & Cogswell; Block plate letters XT-60 PF-11IB R-7+2nd Series; Engraved by Keatinge & Ball Columbia SC XT-60 PF-27IB R-7-No series; Litho’d by Evans & Cogswell on left end XT-60 PF-31IB R-7+No series; Litho’d by Evans & Cogswell on bottom margin
R-8+= UniqueR-7= 7-9 known
R-8= 2 known R-7-= 10-12 known
R-8-= 3 known R-6+= 13-18 known
R-7+= 4-6 known R-6= 19-24 known
Non-Collectible (NC) Inverted Backs (none, 1 or 2 available to collectors)
T-49 PF-1IB R-8+Plain paper XT-50 PF-4IB R-8+Richmond Va above fundable; CSA with wavy line watermark T-51 PF-1IB R-8+Printed by J. T. Paterson T-52 PF-11IB R-8+3 Series in large letters T-52 PF-13IB R-83rd Series in small letters XT-52 PF-19IB R-8+4 Series; C-G plen error XT-52 PF-25IB R-8+4 Series T-53 PF-8IB R-8+3rd Series ; Litho’d by J. T. Paterson T-57 PF-16IB R-8+1st Series in large letters; Period after “Series” XT-58 PF-4IB R-81st Series; Engraved by Keatinge & Ball Columbia SC T-58 PF-17IB R-82nd Series T-58 PF-28IB R-83rd Series XT-58 PF-29IB R-8- 3rd Series; CSA block letter with wavy line watermark XT-59 PF-3IB R-8+1st Series; Ptd. by Evans & Cogswell XT-59 PF-11IB R-8No series XT-59 PF-12IB R-7+1st Series; Litho’d by Evans & Cogswell XT-59 PF-13IB R-8- 1st Series; Litho’d by Evans & Cogswell XT-59 PF-16IB R-7+1st Series; large letters T-59 PF-17IB R-81st Series; large letters; CSA with wavy line watermark XT-59 PF-24IB R-82nd Series; large letters; fallen left “D”; plain paper T-59 PF-25IB R-82nd Series; large letters; CSA block letter watermark T-59 PF-26IB R-8+2nd Series; large letters; CSA with wavy line watermark T-60 PF-1IB R-82nd Series; Engraver’s name only XT-60 PF-4IB R-81st Series; Engraver and Lithographer names XT-60 PF-19IB R-8+3rd Series; CSA block letter with wavy line watermark XT-65 PF-2IB R-8Series I X T-66 PF-11IB R-8+Flourish over Con; No Series XT-68 PF-1IB R-8+No series T-68 PF-44IB Not seen nor confirmed 10 Series
Other Unique Inverted Backs
XT-52 PF-9IB with black round Trans-Mississippi stamp XT-59 PF-33IB with double date stamp
New XX-2 (Formerly T-47) Variety Discovered - June 13 2007
It's quite rare that a major new variety is discovered. The last were the two inverted backs and the new T-26 Whatman vareities found by Stephen Goldsmith in the Western Reserve Collection auctioned April 2007. However, over the past couple of weeks another major discovery surfaced more privately and with the permission of the discoverer, Dale Alberstone, we make it public today. Ironically, this XX-2 was also in the Western Reserve sale, but most of us don't look at XX-2s for new varieties. Dale did and was pleasantly surprised with a historically significant discovery.
After discussions with George Tremmel, Crutch Williams and others, we've agreed to call the XX-2 varieties XX-2/A for the orginal and XX-2/B for the new "Checker Board Shield" variety (Crutch Williams' name for it). For those that refer to these under the older nomenclature - T-47 PF-1 and T-47 PF-2 for the Checker Board Shield will do. XX-2/B is currently unique even after several looked at least 2 dozen XX-2 scans and photos.
Figure 1 is a closeup of the normal XX-2 variety and figure 2 is a closeup of the XX-2/B Checker Board Shield. XX-2 has been considered a Fantasy or Bogus counterfeit issues for many years. However, new theories are being investigated. One possible theory postulates these notes are the experimental paper money samples or patterns (e.g., printed signatures) not put into regular use. XX-2 was not a regular issue by the Confederate Treasury under any of the accepted or proposed theories, but is a great addition to a Confederate regular 70 issue type set or counterfeit set.
Congratulations Dale on your new discovery and addition to your collection!
Update - There are two known as of Friday June 15!
XX-2/A (T-47 PF-1)
XX-2/B (T-47 PF-2)
The Frederick Mayer Collection of Confederate Bonds and Montgomery Notes - Smythe Memphis Sale July 6, 2007
At the 2007 Memphis International Paper Money Show, July 6-8, R.M. Smythe will be selling one of the greatest Confederate bond collections of all time – The Frederick Mayer Collection. As a bond collector myself, I wondered where all of those great unique bonds were that Dr Douglas Ball featured in his Comprehensive Catalog and History of Confederate Bonds book published in 1998.Here they are – available to collectors at the 2007 Memphis Paper Money Show.
At the beginning, we find a complete set of Montgomery bonds, including the B-10 through B-17 which is rarer than their Confederate paper money counterparts. Quickly we find an impressive run of Ben Franklin B-18 and rare Confederacy B-19 bonds. Mayer has those mysterious and intriguing handwritten bonds featured in Dr Ball’s bond book – the B-20, B-29, B-141, B-280, and B-281. A nice run of B-21 bonds is present.We find three B-28 bonds including the Criswell plate example. The Ball plate B-142 extremely rare Flagenhiemer bond is featured as well. The king of them all, the B-149 $500 Battle of Shiloh bond that brought a world record price in 1997, is available to collectors once again after a decade-long hiatus. We next find the rare Cotton bonds B-151, B-152 and B-155. A B-188 printed on paper watermarked J Green & Son 1862 makes a great addition to a bond or paper money collection – the Confederate $10 T-59 PF-32 is the complementary note. The rare B-271 and B-273 are here. Most all of the other rarities, many Trans-Mississippi issues, and many more common bonds with great provenance are available as well.
In addition to his fabulous bond collection, Frederick Mayer also assembled two nice Montgomery sets with additional T-3s and T-4s. Dr. Ball’s T-1 makes a return appearance after 20 years. Mayer added two nice mid-grade T-2s in VF to his collection. The T-3s and T-4s offer something for everyone – from the discriminating collector adding to a high end collection to the budget minded looking for a respectable Montgomery at an affordable price with the added bonus of great provenance.
Memphis will be special this year, as it was in 2003 with the Gene Mintz Confederate paper money collection Smythe sale.Now, if I can only convince my wife to sell the house!
Announcing Collecting Confederate Paper Money - Type Edition 2007.
The Smythe Western Reserve Confederate Collection Sale - April 13th 2007
Friday the 13th was an interesting day this money in New York City at Smythe's offices where the Western Reserve Historical Society's Collection of Confederate paper money was sold. I had the good fortune to help catalogue this monumental collection of well over 2000 notes auctioned in more than 500 lots. This collection included a complete type set and a lot more. It was an old time collection built near the turn of the last century and eventually catalogued using Bradbeer's 1915's Confederate and Southern State Currency with Bradbeer numbers lightly inked on the reverse of many notes. This was an old time collection where not only did the collector(s) attempt to get all 578 Bradbeer varieties but also put together plate letter-number (plen) sets of most of the types and even many of the varieties within the later types following Rapheal Thian's example in his CSA paper money books and albums. A truly great collection, the Western Reserve set was missing only some of the rarest varieties such as the T-7 PF-5, T-16 PF-6 number plen, and T-41 PF-3; and watermarks such as most of the Wookey Hole Mill and the Green & Son notes (most of which were not known 100 years ago).
I arrived at the auction that morning after a late night flight the night before. Visting with some people as well as taking a last look at some of the rare notes to be offered filled the morning. Smythe served a nice lunch where people socialized and speculated on the auction and discussed some of the history and collecting CSA in general. At 1pm sharp, I was in the right rear corner ready to go representing myself and some other bidders.
The type collection of the Western Reserve Sale was not particularly high grade, but there were some notable examples, some of which went at quite a bargain. All prices include the 15% buyers fee.
T-1 PF-1 VF-CC $34,500 T-2 PF-1 Extremely Rare Jones Signature VF- orginal $31,050 (cheap!) T-3 PF-1 AU $26,450 (another buy) T-4 PF-1 XF-AU pinholes $23,000 T-7 PF-3 high in the census for variety Ch AU $ 2,645 (cheap!) T-11 PF-4 VG-F orginal $ 4,025 T-12s PF-1 F, G, H and I all Goods or so $500 to 900 range (buys) T-15 PF-1 F- $ 4,313 T-19 PF-1 F- $ 3,738 T-22 PF-1 Gorgeous color (commercial Ch XF) Choice VF+ $ 3,220 (fair price, worth it) T-23 PF-2 some foxing Fine $ 1,840 T-27 PF-1 VG-F-CC $ 9,775 T-32 PF-1 F+ $ 2,875 T-33 PF-19 trimmed into margin AU $ 3,163 T-35 PF-1 could have made the top ten, but lower margin was poorly cut (commercial VF) I thought it Fine+ $25,300 (cheap!) T-38 PF-1 F $ 3,450
Most of these went to the book, there was some floor activity on some of them.
There were several collectors and a couple of dealers active on the major rare varieties. Prices for some of the big rare varieties (including 15 percent buyer fees):
Lot 3531: T-8, PF-5 – three known, this one the finest, realized $2,990.
Lot 3539: T-11, PF-2 – third-finest known, $13,800.
Lot 3567: T-16, PF-4 – four known, two in collectors’ hands, $2,875.
Lot 3568: T-18, PF-5 – upside down XX, finest known, $2,587.50.
Lot 2658z: T-26, PF and CR unlisted – new Whatman watermark, discovery by Stephen Goldsmith, unique, $7,475.
Lot 3673: T-30, PF-4, 5-1 plate number error, finest known of six, $6,900.
Lot 3691, T-33, PF-14 – VG-F, only uncut example known, $2,875.
Lot 3704: T-34, PF-8 – Wookey Hole Mill watermark, unciculated cut cancel, $4,887.50 (by comparison, a T-34 example Unc-CC in Lot 3701 went for $632.50).
Lot 3762: T-43, PF-2 – 1-10 plate number error, second-finest known of six, $9,775.
Lot 3764: T-50, PF-4 IB – inverted back, new discovery by Goldsmith, unique, $7,475 (graded XF-AU – cut-out cancel – so much for cut-out cancel notes not being interesting, at least in this case).
Lot 3806: T-52, PF-19 IB – inverted back and C-G plate letter error, new discovery by Goldsmith, unique, $16,100.
Lot 3848: T-58, PF-13 – A-E plate letter error, second-finest known at fine, cut-out cancel, $5,175.
There was a lot of floor, phone, book and Internet bidding on most of these. I managed to snag the new discoveries I needed and some upgrades. Other collectors got some great additions to their collections as well. The two inverted backs went for big money (and there was a lot of action on these). They will make an appearance at Memphis so stay tuned!
This was one of those once in a 5 to 10 year auctions that was a must attend for me as I prepare my next CSA book. It was a lot of fun, and we can truly say that the major varieties have come back into their own as they once were highly sought after in the late 19th and early 20th century. As some of these or duplicates find their way to the market, opportunities exist to start a focused collection on the great rarities, plen errors or Whatman watermarks or printer name errors as well as to add some interesting notes to a completed type set. One does not need to stop at the 70 notes, and as this collection along with a couple of other sold last year indicate, type collections supplemented with rare and interesting varieties can attract even greater interest and make a mark in the history of this great hobby! Enjoy and have fun!
Pierre April 21, 2007
Updated Rarity Ratings for the Types I'm in the process of updating the rarity ratings for the types. Currently, T-27 is the rarest type note at R-4+ (very scarce). Reminder of the rarity rating scales. I moved to the Sheldon scale because it is used by far more people in numismatics than any other as well as it has proven to hold its usefulness over decades and a wide range of collector base sizes. Also, as I compare the rarity ratings, you'll see if a Montgomery, for example, the Sheldon scale's finer granularity is a better reflection of the rarity of those notes than the Criswell scale.
The rarity scales compared. Hugh added some adjectives to the Criswell scale in his Southern States book. I extend that thought here below Criswell Rarity 9.
Sheldon (+ and - used) Rarity 8 1-3 known Excessively Rare or Unique Rarity 7 4-12 known Extremely Rare Rarity 6 13-30 known Very Rare Rarity 5 31-75 known Rare Rarity 4 76-200 known Very Scarce Rarity 3 201-500 known Scarce Rarity 2 501-1250 known Not So Common Rarity 1 1251+ known Common
Criswell (+ and - not used traditionally) Rarity 11 1-4 known Extremely Rare or Unique Rarity 10 5-15 known Very Rare Rarity 9 16-50 known Rare Rarity 8 51-100 known Very Scarce Rarity 7 101-400 known Scarce Rarity 6 401-800 known Not So Common Rarity 5 801-1500 known Common Rarity 4 - 1 1500+ known Very Common
Type Sheldon Rarity Criswell Rarity 1 4 (very scarce) 7 (scarce) 2 4 (very scarce) 7 (scarce) 3 4- (very scarce) 7 (scarce) 4 4- (very scarce) 7 (scarce) 5 2+ (not so common) 6 (not so common) 6 2+ (not so common) 6 (not so common) 7 2 (not so common) 5 (common) 10 1 (common) 3 (very common) 11 3 (scarce) 6 (not so common) 12 2+ (not so common) 6 (not so common) 15 3 (scarce) 7 (scarce) 17 2 (not so common) 6 (not so common) 19 3 (scarce) 7 (scarce) 23 2+ (not so common) 6 (not so common) 27 4+ (very scarce) 8 (very scarce) 32 2+ (not so common) 6 (not so common) 35 4 (very scarce) 7 (scarce) 38 3- (scarce) 6 (not so common)
All other types are Sheldon R1 or Criswell R5 or lower...e.g. common. Of course, this is overall rarity. Some are rare to very rare in high grades which is a condition census statement.
Current Big 6 Census Population
T-1 116 known T-2 111 known T-3 158 known T-4 162 known T-27 46 ab plen + 29 a-number plen = 74 known (the ab plen list is quite new) T-35 109 known
The 2007 FUN Show and Confederate Paper Money I attended the 2007 FUN show in January.
These shows are always fun (pun intended :-)) and, of course, it is great to get South in January! Some highlights:
Hugh Shull's Southern State book made its debut. I great update that was badly needed! I hear it is selling well. Congrats, Hugh!
The CSA paper money in the Heritage auction produced expected results, mostly. The best buys, in my opinion were: T-7 AU $2013 ...not sure it sold. T-10 PF-12 Fine "es" variety $489 T-10 PF-14 VG+ plate note $299 (this was a steal!) T-12 called Fine, to me VG-F $1668 (T-12 have really gone down...at this level, it is a good buy). T-12 not graded, VG to me $1380 T-22 called VF, Choice F-VF to me (which is better than VF) $2185 T-27 VG+, to me VG-F original $10925 (this was a steal! T-27s at current prices are a far better buy than T-35s) T-27 called VG+, VG, net Good to me $6038 T-29 VF $1265 T-31 PF-1 red serial numbers F+ $1035 (this was a steal!) T-32 F $1725. T-33 PF-8 State II F-VF $1725 (2nd finest known and a good buy at this price!) Some of the Ch AU and CU T-41s were good buys.
I found a couple of rare varieties on the floor as well as bought 4 1796 large cents, getting closer to completing that collection. I visited with long time friends as well as new friends and had a lot of fun at FUN!
Grover Criswell did a wonderful job promoting Confederate paper money collecting for more than 40 years with his efforts and series of books. His type system remains the foundation for collecting today. However, he did not leverage information from Dr Philip Chase nor Dr. Douglas Ball who did far more reseach than Grover did. Grover's strength was in marketing more than research. This led me as a follower of the Chase-Ball school to make updates, or from the serious variety collector view point (or even the casual collector's view), corrections, bring the latest and greatest thinking and information to bear in Collecting Confederate Paper Money. These are some of the issues I updated and dealt with:
1. T-1, 2, 3, 4, 27 and 35 all are rarity 7 as types (not rarity 8 or 9). This translates into rarity 4 on the hobby standard Sheldon scale.
2. Dates listed as varieties. Criswell picked this up from Bradbeer as some earlier listings of Confederate paper notes broke out by year of issue and not Acts of the Confederate Congress nor Types. Dr Ball and others did not agree with this methodology. Neither do I...dates on T-39-41 certainly are a good way to collect those, but that is different from plate variety collecting.
3. I did NOT change Criswell's type system as it is entrenched. However, if I were to, I would delist T-26 (combine with T-25), T-38 (combine with T-42), T-40 (combine with T-39), T-43 (combine with T-42), T-45 (combine with T-44) and list as varieties or groups of varieties. The blue T-17 is a variety and is in the same category.
4. Where money comes in to play - grading. Criswell's definitions were somewhat vague which was OK for the 1950s and 1960s. Needed updating for the 21st century. Particularly needed updating with respect to problems and repairs which are much more prevalent (particularly well done repairs that are hard to detect) on the expensive types today than in the 1950s and 1960s.
5. Many varieites were either under estimated or over estimated in some cases where better information from Dr Ball was available - even in Dr Ball's 1987 catalog. These have been fixed in Collecting Confederate Paper Money. An example is the T-53 D-A error listed as CR-389 as rarity 8 on Criswell's scale. I figure it as a rarity 9+ or 10- (R6+ on the standard scale) which comes from Dr. Ball's view as well. If R8 on Criswell's scale, where are they? Someone just sold one of these on eBay using Criswell's book without realizing how rare it was or that they had one of the finest known! T-33 needed major rework. Do not collect T-33s by Criswell! Dr Ball threw down his Criswell book on the table in disgust when I discussed T-33 with him saying - "what a mess!"
There are many other updates as well. As we progress further, I quite certain there will be those who improve upon Collecting Confederate Paper Money as well in the future! However, my goal was to provide the latest, best accepted and known information and theories as of 2005. I applaud Criswell, but its time to move up to the next level! The safest and smartest thing to do is use Criswell as a historical reference as it remains very good for that as well as for basic introduction material. I still use it for that. But one should use the latest rarity, price, census, grading, type and variety information in Collecting Confederate Paper Money to ensure they are getting what they think they are getting when making purchases.
T-27 PF-1 (ab plen) Serial Numbers
I am building a list of these similar to the lists maintained for T-1 through 4 and T-35. Please let me know if you have a serial number to report. Thanks!
There is also an AG-CC with the serial number unreadable known making a total of 47 identified so far.
Heritage Sale at Long Beach - Aftermath - September 24 2006
I watched the Hreitage sale with interest as it would provide input to update prices in Collecting Confederate Paper Money - Field Edition which will likely be published in 2007. It was possible to watch online on Heritage's web site or through eBay Live!
I saw strength in choice type and rare varieties as well as some of the specialty items such as military issue train notes. I saw some returned strength to T-11 (repaired examples) and T-12, which got clobbered in the softer market for type in recent years. T-33 continues to be strong as does T-35. CSA contemporary counterfeits also were strong. I was amazed at the result for the T-59 inverted back. Of course, most of these inverted back notes are extremely rare.
I saw weakness in run of the mill, generic type that is easily found at any significant show, even when it is in Unc (think T-8, T-13, T-54, T-68). I was a bit surprised at the weak performance by T-22, 23, 24, 31 and 32. T-27s seem undervalued relative to T-35 (I believe T-27s are rarer than T-35s, BTW, but can't prove it yet). My guess is collectors are more focused on building unique and differentiated collections than buying run of the mill material. Choice or Gem Unc is a different story, of course.
After the sale, I had an interesting email exchange with another collector. He said, looks like CSA is slow and Choice-Gem Large (Federal) Type is "smokin" hot. Certainly common and basic CSA type is slow, but as I told him, seems like a good time to collect CSA paper money and sell Gem Federal type.
Heritage Sale at Long Beach in Mid September (written August 25)
I've just viewed the sale posted to the Heritage web site. There are some interesting and rare variety notes along with some solid scarce and rare type notes. I also commend some of the consigners and Heritage for using the PF variety numbering system as it helps people understand which notes are really rare and where they are in the condition census. Further, I commend Heritage for better and more conservative grading. In particular, the PF identified varieties appear to be graded with collector-oriented standards for the most part or at least within 1/2 grade. Thank you!
I don't agree with all of the estimates, but that is to be expected. Some are too low; others too high. But the T-59 PF-19IB at $5000-$10000 is a bit much for me! Tough note and a great addition to a variety or type set! We'll see....I was surprised by the demand in the last Smythe sale for inverted backs and they are rare and special notes!
Memphis - June 2006
I attended the Memphis International Paper Money show this month, flyng in from a computer industry conference in Las Vegas on a red eye on Friday morning. The flights were uneventful, but the trip was tiring to say the least!
I arrived too late to attend the SPMC publication awards meeting, which was unfortunate. It turns out that Collecting Confederate Paper Money, by me, won the Book of the Year award! I want to thank all in SPMC and those who helped make this book a reality for all of us! Thanks!
I set up with Randy Shipley with some notes for sale and rare varieties for show and tell. Over the next two days, many good friends and aquaintences stopped by to chat, compare notes, add a note to the condition census and discuss CSA paper and numismatics. We even had a whist match between two CU T-41 PF-24 double "For Treasurer" notes. I lost! I own the second finest known...now. Both are killer notes and major CSA rarities. I also sold some notes from the collection I have for sale on another page on this site. I did not bring all of the notes to Memphis so many remain!
The auction had nothing in it for me. The lower grade inverted back went cheap - CSA people tend not to bid in Knight sales unless he gets a major collection...Knight is more known for Federal. I did buy a few rare varieties on the floor including the finest known T-10 PF-5 (an incredibly rare note) and the T-10 PF-14! I also picked up a few other items for my collection or others. There were several people actively searching for rare varieties on the floor...they and some obsolete and T-39-41s were sought after items. Some type moved as well and the market appears to be stablizing at lower but solid levels from 2000-03. I could have completed a type set on the floor with the exception of a T-4 and a T-35 (one is in July's Smythe sale). It seems to be a good time to get back int Confederate as good type material is available as well as the occasional rare variety that might spice up a type set a bit!
I harrassed "Mr. Blue T-17" by walking over to him with a (large) pile of $100 bills and offered to make him "Mr. Cash" and I'll be "Mr. Blue"....but he didn't go for it. Maybe next time!
Sunday was a quiet morning with a couple of visitors, then packed up, then home! I enjoyed the show and all of the people who stopped by the table and look forward to next year!
April 27, 2006 Evening + April 29 Update
The Benjamin Powel collection of Confederate paper money along with other consignments just finished selling about an hour ago. I did not attend nor view the notes in person. I watched the action live on the Heritage site. My only complaint was that I could not bid live as eBay has locked that up with Heritage (and charges the bidder 5% for the privlege of being the middleman).
After the auction, I talked to a couple of people who attended and looked at the notes. Unforuntately, some of the notes had repair or improvements that could not be detected in the scans. I've updated the commentary to reflect that.
Actually, there was only one note I was interested in for my collection: Lot 15353, the T-26 in "CU". This lot was a very rare variety - the T-26 PF-24 which is an R-6+ with only an estimated 900 printed. However, it had two moisture stains and a little edge roughness. So it does not make CU in my book. I net it as XF. However, it is by far and away the finest known T-26 PF-24. It brought $2875 including the buyers fee! I did not win nor was I the underbidder. I own the newly found third finest known at F+. Needless to say, the top few known of this variety are worth more today than one year ago!
Powel also had a T-33 PF-7 State II "No Va" which is now the finest known. Heritage should have identified this and the T-26. Looks like from the result of these that others found them anyway.
Powel did not have any other big or lesser rare varieties of consequence. He was a classic high grade type collector. And he did very well on his type that was in or near the top ten for the type known. A couple of new records have been set. Average type notes, whether Powel's or not, did OK at lower price levels from the 2002-03 period. Here are some highlights:
The Montgomeries did OK to well, but no records here. The PCGS certified notes did better than the raw notes. I don't know if these had any undocumented repairs or not. This is something to be careful about on major type notes.
15289. T-1 F-VF-CC $29,900. Note looked pretty in the scan. Solid result.
15290. T-2 Fine $37,375. OK, nothing special. Strong price.
15291. T-3 Ch Unc...could be. Looks great in the scan. $24,725. Cheap, till you see there are 4 mounts remaining on the reverse. It will be interesting to see if someone removes them skillfully.
15293. T-4 PCGS AU-58. Corner fold. Ch AU. I agree with PCGS. Color not strong $34,500. Solid result.
15294. T-4 XF. Looks it or close. Nice note. $23,000. A bit under my 2005 price guide.
T-5s and 6s did a little better here than last month and over the past year.
Powel's T-7 is Unc in my book. Not near the top ten. Nice note. Weak result at $2990. Some dealer will make money on this.
Powel's T-10 is a very nice and Ch F-VF. Strong price at $1725. But nicer than most. Not in the top ten at all, though.
15317. T-11 XF-AU...some minor edge repair in the scan. I'd net it to VF-XF. I didn't see the note though. Top ten T-11 brings very strong price. $25,300.
15318. T-11 VF. I go F-VF. Says its not repaired. However, this has been reported to have repairs. Steep price. $8625.
15319. T-12 CU. In my book, looks Unc or better. AHowever, there are two cross body folds. Makes it XF-AU. Does not make the top ten. There are more than 10 of these around in nice Unc to CU. $27,600!! Big price! A touch of foxing at lower left...I liked my Ch XF-AU I had better which brought a bit less than $15,000 two years ago.
15320. T-12 VF. Might be. Nice color. Weak price. T-12s below XF have dropped in value quite a lot. They are not "very rare" as stated by Heritage. Only in Ch XF-AU and better are they really rare. $5,175.
15325. T-15 VF. I could go Ch VF from the scan! Great note! Beats my T-15 sold in 2004 in grade and price realized at $14,950.
15329. T-17 CU. Not CU because of right margin trim. May not be Unc. Pretty color. High price for what it is. $5462.50.
15334. T-19 F-VF. Harder to find than T-15. Good buy. $6325.
15336. T-21 CU. Nice note. May or may not make top ten. There are more than ten CUs out there. Strong price. $5750.
T-22s, 23s and 24s went cheap. This is a bit surprising, particularly for the nicer T-23. Dealers will make money on these.
Unfortunately, Powel actually did not complete the type set. His T-25 was a CT-25. But he did get a strong price for a CT-25 at more than $800. Lesson to learn here, double check your type notes...particularly T-16, T-25, T-26 and T-33. I've seen more than one type collector not have a real one.
T-26 PF-24 nearly $3000 in CU, net XF!!!! Finest known rare variety. No where near top ten for the type, however.
T-27 Fine. A top ten note. Good buy at this number, unless there are repairs I couldn't see. Some signature reinforcement present. $29,900.
T-32 VF with stain and great color brought more than $4000. I'd have waited for a note without the problem.
T-33 CU...PF-7 State II. Big, but not as big of a number as last month. Not as strong a type note in grade. $5175. But it is a "No Va" plate state and the finest known, BTW. Heritage should have looked this one up!
T-35 Fine. If no repairs, most likely is in the lower range of the top ten. Small stain is acceptable for the grade. However, there is other repair that was reported to me. Big price and a record. The T-27 was a better buy, though. May net to VG-F and not in top ten. Not sure. $60,375.
T-43 CU. I'd go Unc on it. Trim not up to CU. Strong price. $13,800.
T-47 and T-48 each at $9775. Strong price for these.
Many (but not all) of the CU notes in T-49 and on were more like Unc in my book and they brought prices consistent with Unc notes. No interesting varieties, inverted backs, etc... Kinda boring...these later types offer some interesting rarities to spice up a type set.
Benjamin Powel had one of the better type sets I've seen and he should be congratulated on his accomplishment and I'm happy for him on his results for his big notes.
April 8, 2006
I did not get to attend the March 28, 2006 R. M. Smythe sale, but did preview many of the lots.
It was quite remarkable, building on the March record for a T-41 PF-4 Wookey Hole Mill note (see below) to see the trend continue with increases of 200%-400% over the previous price level set for some important great rare varieties and inverted backs. Additionally, we saw strength and 25%-100% increases in some top end Choice Unc type notes as well. There are new, serious players in the market for both kinds of material. Average material commanded averages prices, or drifted lower in some cases. Comparing some of these prices realized to other areas of numismatics, the "big" or "significant" rare varieties are now more rationally valued, but remain bargains compated to finest known and 3rd finest known equivalents in U.S. Federal paper money and early American coins. True, Choice Unc tough type is very strong and is beginning to approach comparable coins and Federal paper money.
2001-2002. T-5 and T-6 CU - $4,600 each. T-5s and T-6s are not really rare even in CU though they are scarce. Many were saved despite low print run. Hyped up a lot in the last boom. Drifting down.
2009. T-11 nice and small repairs, if I recall. Strong price. $6900.
2010. T-12 VF-XF. A bit "ugly" as some reported. Another note which is scarce, but not rare. Hyped up in last boom. Drifting down in VF and below. Many sold as VF in the past are Fines at best. However, Ch XF and up these remain sought after items. $7475.
2013. T-15 F-VF bad trim...I was shocked! My true VF with better margins and color brought $10,400 2 years ago...but this is 2006, I guess. $9775.
2015. T-17 Unc (better than average margins), perhaps Choice. I have reports this had a corner fold, but did not see the note. At any rate, Ch AU or CU T-17s are truly rare with 4 margins. $4312.50
2019. T-19 F-VF Underrated compared to T-15, but not as much now! This was a much better buy then the T-15 above. $8050.
2023. T-23 VF-XF, but net something less due to problems. T-23s are white hot! $5462.50
2029. T-29 XF-AU.... super and finally recognized as rare. $8050
2033. T-32 Unc...but problems... $3737.50 (this is a new low record for post 1999).
2035. T-33 CU...super. There are CU T-33s around, but not many and they are tightly held. This is fully valued or more at this level! $9775.
2039. T-38 F+ ex Ford. Condition census T-38 with provenance! $9200.
2044. T-42 CU....finally recognized for rarity. $2300.
2045. T-43 VF or so.... some may argue F-VF esp with repair. But good margins. This one is very high, in my opinion. $4887.50
2047. T-45 CU....super and now fully valued. $5175.
T-64s are solid at lower price levels Unc 400-900...depending on if red or not. The CU dark reds are more common than many thought and price levels are reflecting that. Good values now for sovenir pieces to collector's pieces.
2017. T-18 PF-5 inverted XX. VF-XF and NOT repaired! Classic great rarity at the top of the condition census. Finest known. Not as cheap as before, but still a bargain in this grade! $2415.
2018. T-18 PF-26 TEASR error. F-VF and edges mine out at 2nd finest known. $2070.
2022. T-22 PF-1 red serial numbers. Ch VF+ Tougher than T-15 and T-19 by a good margin. Finest known by a longshot. A good value and provenance too! $4600.
2026. T-26 PF-4 AU. A lesser obvious rare variety, but the finest known. T-26s are a cool collection to put together. Not expensive but not easy! $1725.
2042. T-41 PF-4 AU, Wookey Hole Mill. These moved up quite a bit and there aren't enough to go around even amongst the high end type collectors that may want to add one to their collection. $2300.
2043. T-41 PF-24 CU. Tied with Mintz's for finest known. (Need to see them side by side). I got this one to upgrade the 4th finest known. Not so cheap as they were in 2005, but it is a great rarity! $3105.
2053. T-52 PF-9IB. Inverted back. The commonest inverted back, but not common. AU. $2300.
2060. T-58 PF-12IB. Inverted back. Now collectible with 3 known in collector's hands. This is the 2nd finest of those three. F-VF, net F. I fell out of my chair. Man, I wish I had the Museum of the Confederacy piece (VG-CC) I sold for well below $1000 last year! $4370.
2072. T-68 PF-16 Unc. 6th finest known....these plen errors are getting more interest too. This is one of the most common (not real comon though) along with the T-53 H-A. But not common in this grade! $1725.
March 18, 2006
New record for a Wookey Hole Mill note set last night on eBay. T-41 PF-4 (CR-314) in CU (2nd finest known; ex Ford, Fricke) went for over $3,900.
March 12, 2006
The book is sold out at the wholesale level. There are perhaps 300-400 left in the channel and these may be gone after Memphis in June. So get yours today while you still can!
I have received a lot of good wishes, a few new varieties, some good constructive criticism and I appreciate it very much! So will the readers of the Field Edition of 2006 and the Second Comprehesive Edition of 2007. I've found a number of typos and mistakes that need to be corrected as well and all input helps. Those who want their notes listed in the census can contact me at their leisure....there is still time. There are a number of new notes for the census that have been recorded for the next books.
More than one type collector has discovered the pleasure of finding out they own a rare variety that make the condition census. This book helps one to understand what they really have - type and varieties (and their grade that the serious and old time collectors use)!
March 8-9, 2006
What will constitute a new variety added to the Collecting Confederate Paper Money2nd Edition?
I've been approached by a good number of people over the past months asking about whether they have a new discovery or not. I really appreciate these discussions and they do advance the knowledge of all involved. There will be some new additions to the next versions of the book.
I lay out what it takes to get a new PF number in the book on pages 26-29. Basically, to get a new PF number assigned, the note in question will have to have some significant plate or paper variation consistent with other varieties defined in the book. A second category, plate state, may be assigned when a plate has wore down some and the note has missing or faded design elements (I'm not tracking all plate states). Things like stray periods, dots, printing anomalies, an extra flourish, and other minor variances will not warrant a new PF number.
I do this to protect the integrity of the variety definition and to prevent a re-run of the 1880s where every minor variation was called out as a major new rarity! Some of these were then sold at hefty premiums to unsuspecting collectors! Beware those who are selling unlisted PF "varieties" that have not been vetted and are not scheduled to be in the 2nd Edition. The notes in question may well not be significant to the serious variety collectors building collections, and therefore, not worth a significant premium on the market. They will not be added to future editions of the book unless they meet the criteria described. This follows in the tradition of Bradbeer, Chase, Criswell and Ball!
OTOH, these minor variations may be interesting to some, and if interested, have fun! Just understand that most of these are not major new rarities that will be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars over their type value!
February 17-19, 2006
There is a high grade type collection (minus the big 6) that will be sold at the March 28-29, 2006 R. M. Smythe sale. Includes many Unc and CU notes not normally found including an Unc T-32! There are also some great rarities, a Wookey Hole Mill note and two inverted backs, most of which rank high in the condition census! Included are T-18s upside down XX and TEASR error notes, T-22 red serial numbers, T-41 Wookey Hole Mill in AU, T-52 and excessively rare T-58 inverted backs, and an Unc T-68 A-C error!
Collecting Confederate Paper Money has sold over 1,000 copies as of mid-February! Almost all of the variety collectors known to me (including some new ones) are using the PF numbering system. So the Criswell numbering system is obsolete to those of us who care the most. Those still using the Criswell system to identify varieties, particularly rare varieties in the condition census, may have great and historically significant notes and not even know it!
February 11, 2006
I've updated the Wookey Hole Mill on line exhibit to reflect the new variety numbering system and the latest from the condition census. See link on main page.
At the Dalton Civil War show, I found a T-33 PF-17 which completed my T-33 collection! This is the first time it has ever been done. There are 20 collectible varieties, 4 non-collectible varieites (the PF-2 has not been seen in over fifty years and may not exist), and a number of "No Va" plate states which are optional additions to the basic 20 piece collection.
The Heritage FUN auction and show was a lot of fun. Saw a lot of great people. Didn't find any really great notes :-( . But notably, the T-7 PF-3 finest known of the variety brought more than $10,000 and a VG Montgomery! Several other rare varieties did quite well,. However, the T-21, T-22 and T-31 high grade notes were weaker than I expected.
As of early February there are more than 1000 Collecting Confederate Paper Money books sold! It is possible the printing will sell out this year. There will not be another run of this edition, so get yours soon!
The Heritage sale
December 24, 2005
New Book Out and the Heritage FUN Auction
The new Confederate paper money book is finally out aftger so many years of waiting and hoping. I am honored to have been part of the process to make it a reality. Unfortunately, Dr. Ball could not be with us to see this event. We all miss him. However, despite the certainty that he would not have agreed with everything I did (!), I'm sure he would be quite pleased and thrilled to see his work and others come to fruition.
The book is available from numerous dealers and has appeared on eBay. There were only 2,500 copies printed and several hundered have been sold or are in the channel after only a few weeks. I doubt there will be a second printing of the first edition. More likely, we will update it with new news and print a second edition when the first is completely sold out. That could be as early as 2007 or later.
I will be attending the FUN show and Heritage auction in early 2006 in Orlando. I always enjoy this show as I meet many friends and always seem to find some rare variety on the floor!
The auction is the first sale to feature Confederate notes with the new PF variety designations. Interestingly, an individual purchased a group of rare and important notes from me, ran them through PCGS, and put them up for sale. All of these notes are significant in some way. The T-7, 21, 22 and 31 high grade rarities are in the top of the condition census and are plate notes in the book! The other rare varieties are tough to find and special notes as well. Add a Trans-Miss and rare and newly surfaced Louisiana issued T-41 and we have an interesting sale. I wish the gentleman well!
July 22, 2005
Shifting Grading Definition with the Market
Interpretations of grading of notes (or coins) shifts with the market, particularly when applying market-oriented grading. In strong or hot markets, people, particularly newer collectors, relax their expectations and will accept more circulation and damage (or repair) on a note at any given grade. So a VF becomes a note with good body and moderate circulation (whatever that means). When the bull market ends and most of the investors sell, the remaining collectors tend to be quite a lot pickier about what they will accept as VF. Many remaining collectors will use collector-oriented grading and likely have been during the whole cycle. In this slow market, that VF described above won't make VF. It likely will be viewed a Fine (or even lower if damaged or repaired) by experienced collectors.
This phenomenon is quite common across many disciplines of numismatics. It explains why while the price guides and lists may not show much downward movement, there actually is a large downward movement of prices for some issues. For example, T-12 notes are scarce, but not particularly rare (except in XF - 3 folds - and better). These were hyped quite a lot in the last CSA boom and market graded VF notes commanded up to $7,000. Now, in a slow market, these same T-12s are viewed as VG-F or F on a collector-oriented grading scale and may bring from $3,000 to $4,500. Collector-oriented VF T-12s remain quite tough, and if they hold up with 8 folds and modest circulation handling, may still bring $6,000 to $8,000 when a buyer comes along.
I've learned a long time ago that while even collector-oriented grading will fluctuate some, the conservative grader will ALWAYS be much more in tune with potential buyers and hence do better than the market grader who buys using liberal assumptions.
2005 is a good time to become a collector of CSA paper money as it appears to be near the bottom of a cycle. Prices are down some. Grading by some sellers (that are moving material) is conservative. New information about high grade type and rare varieties will soon be available to help collectors make more informed collecting decisions and purchases. This is a better time to start than in 2000 or perhaps the next boom in 2009-11 or so.
July 19, 2005
Value of Market vs Collector-Oriented Graded Notes
Building on the article of July 13 below, there are significant differences in what prices and values various grading styles will yield. Consider the following actual results (Hammer + 15%) of widely publicized 2004 auctions with Internet bidding available.
T-33 Choice F-VF (collector grade) $1,265
T-33 F+ (market-oriented grade) $ 810
T-33 VF (liberal market-oriented grade) $ 518 (did not sell)
It is clear that knowledgeable collectors and dealers who viewed this notes will pay more for properly and conservatively graded notes. Further, most people won't even bother to bid on blatantly overgraded material, particularly in a slow market (T-33s have remained hot items in CSA currency through 2004 and 2005).
My own buying patterns indicate similar results. For example, I have paid the following (and would again if I so need these notes):
T-31 collector Choice VF $2,500
T-31 market VF to VF+ $600 - $1,200
T-23 collector VF $3,800
T-23 market VF $2,500
T-10 collector VF $1,500 or more
T-10 market VF $800 - $900
T-12 collector VF $7,000
T-12 market VF $3,000 to $4,500
...and so on. The conclusion I reached a long time ago is that experienced collectors will reach and pay strong prices for quality and properly graded material and will discount or shun market or overgraded material.
July 13, 2005
Where are the Market Graders When You Sell?
When I first started collecting Confederate paper money, I observed that there were a wide range of grading opinions and no real standard. However, there were a couple of different philosophies:
Market grading: essentially hype the good points of a note and downplay or ignore the problems or even some of the circulation.
Collector grading: basically the conservative grading that most longer time and experienced collectors and numismatists use. This was the grading I learned from Dr. Douglas Ball and saw other experienced collectors use.
These grading styles and collector grading is described elsewhere on this site. See "Condition" and "Grading CSA $" on the menu at left. Grading guidelines, long used in serious collecting communities, will be published in the new CSA book including pictures.
There are plenty of market graders when I'm a buyer. Seems like there are many who consider a note with 12 folds to be VF or VF-XF or even XF who'd like to sell the note to me. However, I cannot find these people when I'm a seller. Or they either aren't buying or I get low prices offered for my market graded material when I go to sell.
I was told by a noted dealer that there are many more people who use market grading than use collector grading. Where are they when I'm selling?
The bottom line is that the majority of people that purchase Confederate notes at "market" grades are the newbie investors or collectors who do not do their homework. These people tend to prolferate during boom markets and buy everything and anything. They tire and decide to sell after the craze or boom is over, typically at the bottom of the cycle. Then they get surprised when their "CU" note with 2 folds is graded XF-AU. Or their 12 fold note is not called Ch XF, but rather F-VF, as it should be. One of the biggest mistakes is to call a note that has been trimmed into the margin "CU". It is, at best, Uncirculated. And maybe less. A "CU" note cannot have any folds and must have all four margins complete.
The key being a successful numismatic collector including Confederate paper money is to talk to a number of different people about collecting, grading, history, etc... Not just dealers, but include fellow collectors in these conversations. Go to shows and look at a lot of notes.Buy and study modern and old time books on your favorite collecting topics. Learn to grade and grade and attribute every purchase yourself. Make sure you have done this no matter who you are buying from. Attempt to sell some duplicates to see how you are doing.
If you are buying using collector-oriented grading, you'll do much better come the time to sell. After all, you'll be using the grading style that most people use when they buy.
The ONLY exception to the above guidance is when you find a very rare variety, an unattributed or underpriced rare variety or specialty item (e.g., Military or rare town issue T-39, 40, 41; bogus back; Trans Miss or validation date stamps; errors). Then it doesn't matter as much if the note is F or VF or XF. You are just lucky to have found it and it is likely a good deal no matter what the seller has graded it.
Memphis 2005 - June 16-19
I attended the International Paper Money Show in Memphis in mid-June. Shared a table with Randy Shipley. These shows are always fun as the largest number of paper money enthusiasts gather at Memphis each year. This year was special for me as I had two speaking slots on the agenda about my upcoming book Collecting Confederate Paper Money. I also exhibited a collection of the "Great rarities" in Confederate paper money, essentially a subset of those listed un "Collecting CSA $" on the home page menu bar.
Confederate paper money was a relatively slow seller at this show and prices for typical type notes have fallen a bit from last year. Material was readily available. Actually, it is a good time to begin a Confederate collection.
I contrast this with Obsolete notes which are red or white hot. Reminds me of the Confederate paper money market 3 or 4 years ago. In my opinion, it is too late for the investor to get into Obsolete in this cycle as it has already had a huge run up. I suspect in 2 or 3 years (after most of the Schingoethe sales are done), the market will follow the path of Confederate paper money with some issues softening up a bit as the euphoria wears off and the investors move on.
I remain focused on very rare items such as Confederate rare varieties and rare CSA counterfeit notes to avoid these types of hype cycles and bear markets.
The auction results support the above discussion. Confederate type was soft except for very high grade type examples. Rare varieties made a strong showing with all 4 of the examples surpassing my expectations (T-13 CR-56A $750, T-16 Whatman F-VF at $850+, T-17 CR-100 at $2,200 in F-VF and a T-18 CR-108A at $350 in VF). The good news is there was not "bubble" mania bidding...just sane, rational price appreciation. CSA IDRS were very strong. Confederate bonds exhbitied extreme demand and incredible bidding wars even for common material available on the floor for less money. The Montgomery bonds have come into their own and are being recognized as rarer than the Montgomery notes with one more than tripling its previous auction experience at $12,000+ including the juice.
I attemped to assess the progress and grading scales of PMG and PCGS. Niether service has graded many Confederate notes. My initial impression is that PCGS's grading descriptions are about 1/2 grade looser than what serious, long time collectors use, so I will discount PCGS-graded notes 1/2 grade (except perhaps "Unc"). I do not yet have a feel for PMG, and they have not published any standards. I will use caution when buying PMG until I see what they are doing.
There was strong attendance at the Publisher's Forum and SPMC meeting where I presented tha background, goals and features of my new book. I was grateful for the postive feedback and interest expressed.
I had a lot of fun at the show; bought a few items; and learned some things as well. All-in-all, a successful show!
June 1 2005
The Case for Dr. Douglas Ball as the “Greatest” CSA Collector
In the May 2005 Bank Note Reporter,both Wayne Hilton and Fred Reed presented some interesting facts and opinions about John Browne, the great 19th and early 20th century collector of Confederate paper money. I will add some facts, opinion and cast my vote. In a nutshell, Browne had the higher grade type set; Dr. Douglas Ball, the most complete set and significantly more rare varieties, including a good number that are unique or near unique.
There is no doubt that quality is a critical focus area of noted collectors of numismatic items, including Confederate paper money. After perusing the 1922 auction catalog featuring John Browne’s Confederate type set and other items, there is no doubt in my mind that John Browne built the highest quality type collection. He certainly deserves recognition and will get it in my upcoming book, Collecting Confederate Paper Money.
However, quality is not the only measure of a great collection. Rarity, completeness, and research also make for a great collector and collection.
Rarity and completeness are equally important dimensions of collecting, in addition to quality. John Browne owned many rarities, far beyond the basic type set. These include such items as a T-7 CR-12, T-8 CR-21, a complete set of the rare T-14 plate (CR-66-74), a complete set of the rare numbered plate T-27 (CR-222-229), three of the rare T-16 number plate (the fourth, A2, has never been seen) and many other rare varieties and common notes (more than 7,000). Dr. Ball had not only these rarities (minus one of the T-16s), but many notable discoveries and other rare varieties. Items missing from Browne’s collection include the J Green and Son watermarked T-59, the most complete set of inverted backs assembled, several excessively rare or unique T-10s, several other excessively rare or unique T-16s, the T-17 with blue overprint, the only rare T-18 plate set (CR-115, CR-118-126) known to have been assembled, a more complete set of T-33s, and quite a few others. Further, Dr. Ball assembled the only complete collection of the significant Hodgkinson & Co. Wookey Hole Mill and J Whatman watermarked notes.
Dr. Ball contributed significant research into Confederate paper money (his manuscript and articles), bonds (Comprehensive Catalog and History of Confederate Bonds), and interim depository receipts (IDRs). Collectors of Confederate fiscal paper all benefit from this work today with more to come.
I’m not so sure it is fair to compare across three generations and declare a “greatest” collector. Browne was wealthy, well beyond Dr. Ball’s means. Browne was a collector when Confederate paper money was dirt cheap (literally, in the earliest days). Ball had the advantage of time which included better information, communications and travel infrastructure. Browne was a sucker for altered notes; Ball knew better. Really, both are giants.
But, if we insist on declaring a “winner”, let’s do it the old fashioned way, using the game old time numismatists (and some today) play to determine the “greater” collection – Whist. The goal was to out score your opponent by amassing points based on the completeness and quality of your collection. A particular collection or logical group of coins or notes is agreed upon, and then, variety by variety, the collections would be compared with a neutral party acting as referee. Possession of a variety counts as 1 point. A superior piece over your opponent adds another point. Each comparison could yield 0, 1 or 2 points. If you had a note and your opponent didn’t, you got 2 points. If you had one superior to your opponent, you won 2 to 1. If tied, both scored 1 point. Wagers could be placed (and were in some of these old games) on the winning collection. A variation of this theme was to multiply the resulting score of each comparison by the rarity rating. This gives a better measure of the difficulty of assembling the collections being compared.
We cannot know the outcome of such a contest between Dr. Ball and John Browne with certainty. However, after spending a good deal of my time studying the Ball and Browne collections, I’d place my wager on Dr. Ball.
Pierre Fricke Rye, NY
Variety Collecting Isn’t So Complex
I was amused and entertained by Fred Reed’s “Shades of the Blue & Grey” in the May 2005 BNR. Certainly, variety collecting can be taking to extremes and has been as he described. On the other hand, the key to building a great collection is focus. There are many historically important variety collections of Confederate paper money that can be assembled for significantly less money than the basic 70 note type set. Nearly all of these notes are much rarer than the “rarest Confederate note” – the T-35 “Indian Princess”. These include – a 34 note “great rarity” set of old time and interesting rare varieties; the 22 note plate letter-number error collection (displayed at the 2004 Memphis paper money show); the 15 notes that have printer name errors; the 14 Hodgkinson & Co. Wookey Hole Mill notes; the 22 J Whatman watermarked notes; an inverted back type or variety set, and other interesting and significant collections. These will be described in the soon to be published Collecting Confederate Paper Money.
I got a real chuckle with the “…grown men on the verge of wetting their knickers over the exciting prospects of cherrypicking…”. Well Fred, which kind of excitement do you prefer – cherrypicking a T-9 CR-29A for $50 (a $1500 note with 4 known – this has been done; Nashville Civil War Show 2004) or getting home with your newly purchased $30,000 T-1 Montgomery (115 known) only to discover it is a repaired punch-out cancelled note and worth $15,000 (this happens too often)?
Pierre Fricke Rye, NY
May 3, 2005
All of the duplicates not needed by me from the Museum of the Confederacy and Dr. Ball's collection have been sold! Thanks and enjoy!
April 25, 2005
The Museum of the Confederacy has a complete type set for display honoring Dr. Douglas Ball. The received a T-15 (F-VF, commercial VF+); T-19 (F-VF; commercial VF); T-23 (VF-XF; commercial XF+); T-32 (F-VF; commercial VF+); and T-46 Choice Unc; along with a few rare varieties they did not have. They plan to create a public display of all 70 types in honor of Dr. Douglas Ball.
I pulled 85 duplicate rare varieties to augment my set and help some other variety collectors advance. These notes included CR-29A, several Wookey Hole Mill and Whatman watermarked extremely rare varieties; T-59 Green and Son; a bunch of inverted backs; etc... The provenance of these notes is wonderful. I am honored to have been able to help the Museum of the Confederacy, become the custodian of some great and historic notes, and help some fellow collectors.
December 8, 2004
The Nashville Civil War show was a lot of fun. I shared a table with Randy Shipley. We had 2 draft copies of the new book at the show - one at our table and another at a friend's table. People stopped and looked through it and we had some interesting discussions. The show was a lot of fun!
Additionally, the two notes pictured at right (click on the note for a larger picture) are extremely rare notes that have not been seen publicly since the Dr. Ball auction of 1987 (those are now in the Museum of the Confederacy). I am extremely pleased to have acquired them, figuring it would take 20 years to do so! The T-8 PF-8 CR-21 is a new discovery at F-VF-POC. The T-9 PF-8 CR-29A was Criswell's example that crossed the auction block in 1982 and again at Memphis in 1986. It hasn't been seen since till now. It's a Fine, with a tear, net Good.
Noted dealer Hugh Shull has never handled a single example of either in 28 years, attesting to their great rarity.