Collecting Paper column from the Aug. 22, 2016, issue of Coin World:
I sometimes run across Southern notes issued during the Civil War
that were older uncurrent designs that had been in storage and were
then dusted off and reissued due to paper, ink, and skilled labor
shortages occasioned by the ever-tightening Union blockade.
This $1 note, issued by the Bank of the State of South Carolina in
June 1862, seems to fit that scenario rather nicely.
Connect with Coin World:
While a large red ONE protector was added, a close
inspection of the face reveals the imprint of Underwood, Bald &
Spencer along the left end of the face of the note. The company
operated under this name from approximately 1835 to 1837 and the
design of the note is pretty consistent with that time period. So the
thinking goes “They had a stock of these 25-year-old notes in
inventory, slapped a red ONE protector on from a local printing
source, and reissued the notes in 1862.”
Not so fast — looking at the back of the note, it is clear that it
was printed on paper watermarked “T.C.C.&Co.” So, what does that
tell us? Well, Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear & Co. was in business
under that name from 1850 to 1855 and was never involved with the
other family of companies that included Underwood, Bald & Spencer.
The paper could not have existed when this design was originally
printed in the late 1830s.
Faced with this evidence it becomes clear that the Bank of the State
of South Carolina had custody of the printing plate used to produce
the original design and had acquired bank note paper with Toppan,
Carpenter, Casilear & Co.’s watermark. Several other examples of
Southern notes on this particular paper from early in the war, such as
Virginia and Missouri state issues, were produced at about the same
time these notes were printed.
The bank must have had a Southern printer, whose identity is
presently unknown, print the notes using the original plates and a
locally sourced secondary plate to apply the red ONE protector.
So, the design is clearly pre-war as is the printing plate, but the
notes themselves are not, being printed in 1862 on pre-war paper that
either the bank or the printer acquired in the open market.
There is even an intriguing possibility that Keatinge & Ball,
the South’s preeminent printer, may have printed these notes, as the
firm supplied the same watermarked paper to both the states of
Missouri (secessionist government) and Virginia for their notes.