The Duke University Currency collection, 1746-1982
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The Currency Collection contains 4896 pieces, 1746-1982, of which all except a small number of coins and tokens are paper currency. Most of this money is domestic, but there are a limited number of foreign items, some of them quite old and interesting. Approximately two-thirds of the collection dates from the Civil War and one-fourth from the antebellum period.
- Acquisition information:
- Collected by Duke University through gifts and purchases.
- Processing information:
Guide by: William Erwin
Completed August, 1983
Encoded by Stephen Douglas Miller
A variety of elements are involved in the arrangement of the currency within the above categories. The first criterion of arrangement is geographical for the colonial, Revolutionary, Southern states, and foreign currency, and for the currency issued by banks and other corporate bodies, businesses, etc.: by states, provinces, countries, etc. The Confederate currency is arranged first by denominations: 50¢, $1, $10, etc. Part of the collection is deacidified and part is not, so some categories are divided into two sets on this basis.
Itemized lists have been compiled of all pieces of the currency, and the contents of these lists, which are not the same for all categories, are noted in the descriptions of the major categories. There are two sets of lists, one of which is kept with the collection and the other with the department's security copies of collection inventories. The lists in the security set are all filed together. Within the Currency Collection, the lists are divided, each folder of currency containing the list itemizing its contents.
The Information Folder filed in the first box includes a variety of material: information about the provenance of parts of the collection; reference sources; a copy of D. C. Wismer's "Descriptive List of Obsolete Paper Money: Part I - Embracing the Circulating Notes Issued by State Banks, Private Banks, Bankers and Corporations" for North Carolina published in The Numismatist during June-August, 1931; articles about early North Carolina currency; a poem about Confederate currency; an earlier description of the collection removed from the card catalog, etc.
The list in the Information Folder entitled "American Confederate State Bills Comprising over Eight Hundred Confederate State Bills, Confederate State Bank Notes, Confederate State Currency Notes, Private Scrip, Etc." (25 pp.) is dated August, 1949. It lists the joint collections of the late Judge Van Wart of New Orleans and of W. George Head of Wimbledon, Eng., formerly of Shelby, N.C. This list was apparently compiled by a dealer whose name is not on it. This list provides the provenance for a sizeable part of the Currency Collection.
The part of the collection entitled "Currency Issued by Banks and Other Corporate Bodies," including both antebellum and Civil War issues and currency from the South and also from other states, came primarily from the Van Wart and Head collections. They also provided the sources of a sizeable part of the North Carolina State Currency issued during the Civil War.
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- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Click on terms below to find related finding aids on this site. For other related materials in the Duke University Libraries, search for these terms in the Catalog.
- World War, 1914-1918 -- Economic aspects
Money -- Germany
Money -- France
Paper money -- Confederate States of America
Paper money -- United States
Money -- United States -- History
Bonds -- United States
Bonds -- Confederate States of America
Money -- Confederate States of America
Coinage -- United States
- Confederate States of America -- Economic conditions
- United States -- Economic conditions
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[Identification of item], The Currency Collection, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.