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Confederate Paper Currency

In April 1861, the Confederate States of America issued and circulated its first currency. Most Confederate notes were hand signed and numbered. These note sheets were typically hand cut with shears, so individual notes often have uneven or rough borders. Most Confederate currency carried the phrase, “TWO YEARS AFTER THE RATIFICATION OF A TREATY OF PEACE BETWEEN THE CONFEDERATE STATES AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA… CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA WILL PAY {amount of the bill} TO BEARER.” Confederate currency was not actual money, but bills of credit, like the currency issued during the Revolutionary War, meaning it was not secured or backed by any assets like gold or silver.

Almost immediately, counterfeiting became a major problem for the South. The issue was exacerbated when the North printed counterfeit Confederate notes, causing massive inflation. Near the end of the Civil War, Confederate currency became worthless, though now a handful of rare notes in good condition are quite valuable and collectible.

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