T-59 PF-32 J Green and Son watermark variety (5 known - finest in collector's hands)
Excerpt from Collecting Confederate Paper Money by Pierre Fricke and based on Dr. Douglas Ball's research.
The rarity ratings used here have been derived from several sources.I used Dr. Ball’s research, my own research and many other sources to establish rarity. Criswell's rarity ratings have many updates based on new information and are obsolete. I use the "industry standard" Sheldon rarity scale which works for small to large collecting communities and is nearly 60 years old.
Sheldon rarity scale populations for rarity levels:
R11250+Common (e.g., T-68)
R2500 – 1250Not so common (e.g., T-22)
R3201 – 499Scarce (e.g., T-15)
R476 – 200Very scarce (e.g., Montgomeries, T-35)
R531 – 75Rare (Rarer than T-35...)
R613 – 30Very rare
R74 – 12Extremely rare
R81 – 3Unique or nearly so
COLLECTING CONFEDERATE PAPER MONEY TODAY – A CLOSER LOOK
Now I will turn to a more detailed discussion of collecting CSA paper money today, highlighting some of the different ways people are collecting CSA paper money.Keep in mind, this is a hobby and/or an investment medium. Clarifying your objectives is important when deciding what to focus on. For hobbyists, the beauty, historical interest, andemotional satisfaction may be paramount. On the other hand, investors need to focus on high quality and/or rarity. Provenance may play a role for both types of collectors.
There are several ways to approach collecting Confederate paper money. Collecting the basic 70 types is a common approach. Various type and variety note subsets are good goals for those who lack the $200,000 or so needed to complete an average grade 70-note type set. These subsets are described below.
There is more information available today regarding which varieties are truly rare. This fact, in addition to the Internet and cheap airfare, makes it more possible to assemble rare variety collections that most of the early collectors, by and large, couldn’t assemble even after thirty or forty years of collecting.
Note: NC = "Non Collectible" meaning that les than three examples are known in collector's hands. Collectible sets described below are more realistic goals, though it's always a thrill to add an "NC" to one's collection!
The type set is the most common collecting goal. A complete type set includes a single example of each of the 70 types issued. An average grade complete type set may run $200,000 or more. I estimate that at least 100 people have completed this set in the last 30 years and more than 200 people and institutions over the past 140 years. The rarest type is the T-35, with 99 examples known and more likely to be found. Given the fact that some of these are in institutions, there are perhaps 75 to 80 or so complete regular issue type sets possible at any given time.
For those who seek to conserve financial resources, a subset of a complete type set may be a reasonable goal. One typical subset includes all but the most expensive six types – the four Montgomery issues, the Eagle and Shield, and the Indian Princess (T-1, T-2, T-3, T-4, T-27 and T-35). The 64 remaining types may cost $60,000 to $100,000 depending on the grade collected. Several hundred people have likely completed this set over the decades since the War.
One of the most affordable and popular type collections is a nice set of 1864 notes, which are the easiest to obtain in high grade for modest amounts of money. There are 9 types spanning the T-64 $500 Stonewall Jackson note to the T-72 50 cent Jefferson Davis type. This set can be acquired for $700 to $1,400.
In the catalog section of this book, the “top ten” condition census range is described for each type, giving guidance on what a top-end collection would look like. A condition census is a list of the top known grades for each type or variety. The grading is assumed to be the conservative scale described on this site. It is about 1/2 to 1 grade more conservative than "commercial", many dealers and auction houses, and slab grading and has been used by many serious collectors with little change for decades. It is equivalent to how many grade notes to "buy".
Collectors with means, and investors should aim to reach as close to acquiring condition census type and variety notes as possible. Beginning collectors should gain some experience with more modestly valued notes until they learn how to grade, and how to determine if a note has problems. Knowledge of grading, and what makes a CSA note choice vs. a problem note, is critical for the collector and investor alike. This knowledge is best acquired by making mistakes on cheaper notes before venturing into deep water.
Collectors of more modest means may focus on a subset of types to their liking, or may attempt to get as many of the different types as possible that have been cancelled with slit cuts or cut-out cancels as these are much more affordable. A collector of modest means may still want to focus on quality, and can do so by picking a logical subset, such as the 1864 collection mentioned or some other grouping. I will explore a few of these subsets in subsequent sections.
THE “BIG 6” COLLECTION
The most famous, rare and expensive types are known as the “Big 6”. These include the four Montgomery notes as well as the Eagle and Shield and the Indian Princess note as follows.
T-1 PF-1 R-4$1000 Montgomery
T-2 PF-1 R-4$500 Montgomery
T-3 PF-1 R-4$100 Montgomery
T-4 PF-1 R-4$50 Montgomery
T-27 PF-1 or PF-2 R-4+/R-5+$10 Eagle and Shield
T-35 PF-1 R-4+$5 Indian Princess
All of these notes are very scarce, yet may be found in any given six-month period. On occasion, one may have the opportunity to choose among several of these types within that same time frame. These six notes, particularly in high grade, are impressive, and acquiring this set is a noteworthy achievement. I estimate that perhaps 200 people and institutions have completed this set over the past 130 years.
THE RARE VARIETY COLLECTION
All of the collectible rare varieties identified in this catalog have been given the designation “RV” (short for “rare variety”). These represent Confederate paper money varieties that range from “Rare” (R5: 31 to 75 estimated survivors) through to “Excessively Rare” (R8: with 3 known in collector’s hands). There are 235 of these RVs, and such a collection has never been completed, though Dr. Ball, myself, Gene Mintz, Arnold Cowan, Raphael Thian and John Browne have come the closest to my knowledge. Today, there are others working on acquiring this collection as well, now that these rare notes have been more clearly identified than in past catalogs. While not for the faint of heart, this collection represents an interesting foray into errors, production, papers, and the history of Confederate paper money. I would compare this collection to the Dr. Sheldon set of 295 early date large cents, except that all of these are R5 or better! Of course, one may add as many “Non Collectible” varieties to this or any collection they can find!
THE “GREAT RARITY” COLLECTION
This set is a greater challenge than the “Big 6”, not so much financially, as it is just finding the notes. This is due to the fact that these great rarities were created in miniscule quantities and with few survivors. Many advanced collectors, both past and present, have sought these notes out, enjoying a great feeling of accomplishment when they found one to add to their collection. This collection of notes may be acquired for less money than the “Big 6” (at least as of 2005), but due to their rarity, it will take more time to find all the necessary notes. While several collectors have come close to completing this set, none have done it yet. Here is a great opportunity to make history for the patient and alert collector!
T-7 PF-5 R-7+C plate; “for” written; thick bond paper.
T-8 PF-8 R-7+C plate; “for” written; thick bond paper.
T-9 PF-8 R-7+Ccc plate; thin paper.
T-11 PF-5 R-7Bb plate; “ies” remnant by upper left clause.
T-16 PF-6 R-71A, 2A, 3A or 4A plate.
T-16 PF-13 R-7+CSA block letter paper; engraver’s names below fundable.
T-50 PF-17 R-5“Keatinge & Ball, ColumbiaSC” above “Fundable”; Three flourishes below “de”; CSA block letter paper.
T-50 PF-18 R-6Double “Ratification” clause.
T-57 PF-7 R-7Two flourishes below “de”; Flourish over “Con”; 1st Series in small letters; No period after “Series”; Plain paper.
T-58 PF-1 R-6+1st Series; “Printed by J. T. Paterson & Co” on bottom margin.
T-58 PF-7 R-7No Series; Plain paper.
T-58 PF-9 R-7No Series; CSA block letter paper with wavy line.
T-59 PF-30 R-7+Watermarked “J Green & Son 1862”.
T-60 PF-9 R-7+Engraver, printer and lithographer noted; 1st Series over remnants of 2ndSeries.
T-60 PF-25 R-5“Evans & Cogswell, Litho” in tiny letters.
T-67 PF-2 R-6+Double “Ratification” clause.
PLATE LETTER / NUMBER ERROR COLLECTION
During the high volume production of Confederate paper money from 1862 through 1864, plate errors occurred more visibly and frequently than on the 1861 low volume issues. One of the most visible errors is the plate letter or number (plen) error where one plate letter is mismatched with the other. This list represents a complete collection of “collectible” plen errors known to date. This is another challenging collection to acquire due to the rarity of some of the notes. With patience and vigilance, this set may be put together for the price of a VG T-35, and perhaps for less.Only a few collectors have completed this set. It is truly an experience to see all of these notes in one place.
T-20 PF-2 R-66 over 5-5
T-20 PF-5 State III missing 2-2
T-42 PF-4 R-5-1-10
T-43 PF-2 R-7+1-10
T-52 PF-19 R-5C-G
T-53 PF-4 R-4+H-A
T-53 PF-5 R-6+C-G
T-53 PF-6 R-6G-C
T-53 PF-15 R-6+D-A
T-58 PF-13 R-7A-E
T-59 PF-13 R-5+A-C
T-59 PF-14 R-6+Large H/Small H
T-59 PF-19 R-5Inverted left H
T-60 PF-6 R-5A-D
T-60 PF-7 R-6+E-A
T-60 PF-8 R-5+E-missing E
T-68 PF-1 State III R-6G-missing G
T-68 PF-4 R-7B-A
T-68 PF-16 R-5A-C
T-68 PF-17 R-6+C-A
T-68 PF-40 State IIR-6F-“E”
T-69 PF-2 R-7G-C
There are other, less obvious plen errors. For example, some T-66s have doubled plens. There are missing serifs and other anomalies in T-59 and T-60 to consider adding as well. But, the above makes a complete set of significant, collectible plen mismatch errors.
PRINTER NAME ERRORS COLLECTION
Another interesting error collection is a set of these printer name errors. Printer name “errors” include things like two printers’ names where plates were transferred from one printer to another and not completely changed. Another is where part of the clause such as “Printed by” was left out erroneously. These are remarkable errors in that the printer’s name, or imprint, was advertising for the printer, yet on these notes the imprints were incorrect. In some cases, just “Printed by” was omitted, which is not that bad. However, in other cases, there were two printers’ names, which most businessmen would consider to be a public relations disaster! These make for fascinating conversation pieces.
T-51 PF-2 R-6+Missing “Printed by”
T-51 PF-3 R-2Remnants of “J. T. Paterson”
T-51 PF-8 R-8+ NCMissing “Printed by”
T-51 PF-9 R-6+Remnants of “B. Duncan”
T-52 PF-8 R-6+Partial 2nd printer’s name
T-52 PF-12 R-5+Partial 2nd printer’s name
T-52 PF-24 R-7Printed by B. Duncan and Ptd. by Evans & Cogswell
T-52 PF-25 R-7Printed by B. Duncan and Ptd. by Evans & Cogswell
T-52 PF-26 R-6Remnants of 2nd printer’s name
T-53 PF-7 R-5+Missing “Lithog’d by”
T-53 PF-17 R-6Missing “Lithog’d by”
T-58 PF-2 R-7Missing “Printed by”
T-58 PF-3 R-8+ NCOnly “Printed by” present to the left
T-59 PF-9 R-7+Remnants of B. Duncan
T-60 PF-32 R-6“Litho’d by J. T. Paterson” not erased; 2 names
WOOKEY HOLE MILL SET
One of the most intriguing watermarks and early mysteries of Confederate currency was the paper marked “Hodgkinson & Co Wookey Hole Mill”. Some type note collectors add one of these notes to their collection as an interesting adjunct and conversation piece. Collectors enjoy having unique and interesting items in their sets. All of the Wookey Hole Mill varieties are extremely rare to non-collectible (with the exception of the T-60 PF-17), so they are hard to find. They have been appreciating in value lately as more collectors begin to understand their rarity, which was underestimated in Criswell’s book. No one has completed a collection of these, though Dr. Ball had the most extensive set.
T-25 PF-4 R-7-
T-25 PF-8 R-8-No flourish over bearer
T-26 PF-3 R-7+Fine lace XX overprint
T-34 PF-8 R-7Engraver’s names at top
T-41 PF-4 R-7-Hand written date
T-41 PF-14 R-7Scroll 1; Inner frame line stops at “except”
T-49 PF-4 R-6+No Series
T-60 PF-17 R-52nd Series
T-26 PF-10 R-8+ NCSolid XX overprint
T-34 PF-14 None seen in at least 50 years.NCNo engraver’s names
T-41 PF-9 R-8NCScroll 1; Inner frame line goes under “except”
T-41 PF-19 None seen.NCScroll 2; Inner frame line goes under “except”
T-41 PF-29 R-8-NCScroll 2; Inner frame line stops at “except”
T-59 PF-29 R-7+NC2nd Series; “Litho’d by Evans & Cogswell”
J WHATMAN SET
Another of the intriguing English watermarked papers is J Whatman 1862. The Confederacy imported limited amounts of this paper in an effort to expand its supply base of high quality paper beyond what it was capable of producing. While not as popular as the Wookey Hole Mill varieties, these make an interesting set and are a noteworthy collection in themselves.
T-24 PF-6 R-5Leggett, Keatinge & Ball
T-24 PF-13 R-5-Keatinge & Balk
T-25 PF-3 R-6
T-25 PF-7 R-7+No flourish over bearer
T-26 PF-32 R-62nd Series
T-33 PF-3 R-7Leggett, Keatinge & Ball, blue green
T-33 PF-9 R-7Keatinge & Ball facing out
T-33 PF-16 R-7Keatinge & Ball facing in
T-34 PF-7 R-7+Engraver names at top of note
T-41 PF-8 R-5Scroll 1; Inner frame line goes under “except”
T-41 PF-13 R-3+Scroll 1; Inner frame line stops at “except”
T-41 PF-18 R-5-Scroll 2; Inner frame line stops at “except”
T-41 PF-27 R-4Scroll 2; Inner frame line goes under “except”
T-49 PF-3 R-6No series
T-50 PF-5 R-7+Keatinge & Ball Richmond Va above “fundable”
T-50 PF-10 R-7Keatinge & Ball Richmond Va below “fundable”
T-50 PF-14 R-6+Keatinge & Ball ColumbiaSC
T-59 PF-28 R-6+2nd Series
T-60 PF-16 R-4-2nd Series
T-26 PF-34 R-8NC2nd Series;No flourish under bearer
T-33 PF-4 R-8NCLeggett, Keatinge & Ball facing out, yellow green
T-34 PF-13 None seen.NCNo engraver’s names
T-58 PF-10 R-8+NCLithographer and engraver’s names
INVERTED BACK SET
One of the more fascinating errors is 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. Most of these are extremely rare and the most common is still rare. It’s always a thrill to find one.
T-52 PF-1IB R-7No series
T-52 PF-9IB R-63 Series near top; Printed by B. Duncan
T-52 PF-21IB R-7-4 Series near top; Printed by B. Duncan
T-60 PF-11IB R-72nd Series; Engraved by Keatinge & Ball ColumbiaSC
T-60 PF-19IB R-7+3rd Series; CSA block letter with wavy line watermark
T-60 PF-27IB R-6+No series; Litho’d by Evans & Cogswell on left end
T-60 PF-31IB R-7No series; Litho’d by Evans & Cogswell on bottom margin
T-49 PF-1IB R-8+NCPlain paper
T-51 PF-1IB R-8+NCPrinted by J. T. Paterson
T-52 PF-11IB R-8+NC3 Series in large letters
T-52 PF-13IB R-8NC3rd Series in small letters
T-52 PF-25IB R-8+NC4 Series
T-57 PF-16IB R-8+NC1st Series in large letters. Period after “Series”.
T-58 PF-4IB R-8NC1st Series; Engraved by Keatinge & Ball ColumbiaSC
T-58 PF-12IB R-8NC1st Series
T-58 PF-17IB R-8NC2nd Series
T-58 PF-27IB R-8NC3rd Series
T-58 PF-28IB R-8NC3rd Series; CSA block letter with wavy line watermark
T-59 PF-3IB R-8+NC1st Series; Ptd. by Evans & Cogswell
T-59 PF-10IB R-8NCNo series
T-59 PF-11IB R-8NC1st Series; Litho’d by Evans & Cogswell
T-59 PF-12IB R-7NC1st Series; Litho’d by Evans & Cogswell
T-59 PF-15IB R-7+NC1st Series; large letters
T-59 PF-16IB R-8NC1st Series; large letters; CSA block letters with wavy line watermark
T-59 PF-22IB R-8+NC2nd Series; large letters; fallen left “D”; plain paper
T-59 PF-23IB R-8NC2nd Series; large letters; CSA block letter watermark
T-60 PF-1IB R-8NC2nd Series; Engraver’s name only
T-60 PF-4IB R-8NC1st Series; Engraver and Lithographer names
T-65 PF-2IB R-8NCSeries I
T-68 PF-1IB R-8+ NCNo series
T-68 PF-10IB R-8+ NC2 Series
T-68 PF-42IB R-8NC10 Series
T-14 RARE PLATE SET
The T-14 PF-6 (CR-66-74) plate letter set is a long sought-after rare set of a complete T-14 plate that was used to produce only 734 sheets. The plate letters are: AD, AE, AF, AG, AH, AI, AK and AL. For some mysterious reason, AJ was skipped. I believe there are 5 possible sets with one of them in the Museum of the Confederacy. No one has assembled a complete set that did not have at least one note cut-out-cancelled. I estimate that 15 people have completed this set, including McCoy, Browne, Criswell, Ball, Cowan, Mintz, and myself amongst others that I know of.
All but the AG plate letter notes are very to extremely rare. There was a small group of higher grade AG plate letter notes found some years ago, and these represent the best examples of this variety in AU-Unc. A set may be collected for around $2,000-$3,000 with patience, though, that price may be higher by the time all of the notes become available. This is a fun set to own and would be one of the major centerpieces of any collection. This set also has a pretty short “Hall of Fame” list as well!
T-16 RARE PLATE SET
The T-16 PF-6 (CR-95-98) rare A-number plate letter set is another of the long sought after sets. This set includes four plate letter-number (plen) combinations – 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A. The 2A has not been seen, nor is known to have been in any collection. Whether any survive remains a mystery. However, a few collectors including John Browne and John Ford have owned three of the plens that are known to exist. John Browne assembled what may have been the first set of these minus the unknown A2 plen. This variety (or plen set) was once thought to be the rarest variety. This was due to Thian’s registry showing the smallest number for this plen set of any plen set. However, Thian’s registry does not show watermarked varieties, errors or anything beyond series and plens, so it is missing a significant number of rarities, as it did not record Confederate currency to that level of granularity. At R-7, the T-16 PF-6 is not the rarest variety, nor is it even the rarest T-16. However, it has long been a part of Confederate paper money collecting folklore, and the switch to plate numbers and back to plate letters again for T-16 remains one of the mysteries of Confederate collecting. A single example may run at least $5,000, with some going privately for $7,500 to $10,000.
T-18 RARE PLATE SET
The T-18 PF-17 (CR-115 and CR-118-126) rare plate letter set comes from a plate of 10 notes with AC, AM, AN, AO, AP, AQ, AR, AS, AT and AU as the plate letter combinations. Only 544 sheets were printed, making this is an excessively rare set with perhaps two sets possible. One of these sets resides at the Museum of the Confederacy, making this set a difficult one to assemble. A set may be put together with a great deal of patience for a few thousand dollars making this, perhaps, one of the great bargains in CSA paper money. The “Hall of Fame” list is even shorter here, with Dr. Ball being the only person on public record to have completed this set. Even a partial set is a noteworthy achievement.
T-27 RARE PLATE SET
The T-27 PF-2 (CR-222-229) A-numeral plate set is another great classic set that is highly sought after and a challenge to assemble, both in rarity terms as well as in financial terms. There was a short run of T-27s separate from T-35s that had eight T-27s on a sheet with plens A9, A10, A11, A12, A13, A14, A15, and A16. Together, these are a Rarity 5 variety with some 31-75 estimated surviving population. Individually, the plens are extremely rare with all being at least R-7-. There were 177 sheets printed, and this variety seems to have a fairly high survival rate. Currently, three sets are possible with the A13 and A16 plens being the keys. Two or three of each are reported or thought to exist. This collection is a bit easier than the T-18 rare plate set and a bit more difficult than the T-14 rare plate set to find. Interestingly, due to these being T-27s and much desired by type note collectors, the cost of this set is far more than that of the other rare sets, e.g., T-14 and T-18. One of these sets can easily cost in excess of $100,000. The “Hall of Fame” on this set includes John Browne, John Ford, Dr. Ball and others.No complete sets are known to be in a museum, so all two or three sets are available to collectors.
RED SOUTHERN BANK NOTE SET
Red (the color of the overprints) Southern Bank notes are among the most beautiful and popular Confederate notes. This relatively easy to acquire set includes just four types: T-15, T-19, T-22 and T-31. This four note set can be put together quite quickly, however, some patience may be required if one is searching for choice notes. Several hundred people have completed this set over the years. In F to VF it may range from $9,000, including some cut-cancelled examples, up to $25,000 or more in VF or so.
The more challenging set includes all of the T-22 and T-31 plate letters: A, B and C, as well as a red ink serial number example of each. There is only one T-15 and T-19 in this set, just as there is in the more basic set. The rarest note is the T-22 with red serial numbers. The most expensive remains the T-15. When all 10 notes are together, it is a truly impressive set. Completing the more challenging set will add $3,000 to more than $10,000 to the above range depending on grade. I believe it is well worth it, as now, instead of having one among hundreds of completed collections over the years, it represents a higher level of accomplishment. Far fewer people have this complete collection of “red notes”.