Six examples of Confederate paper currency issued in 1861 sold for a
combined total of $198,575 including buyer’s fee in the first session
of the CSNS Currency Signature Auction by Heritage Auctions in
Schaumburg, Ill., on April 22.
Four of them were the rare Montgomery, Ala., $1,000, $500, $100, and
$50 notes issued there in the earliest days of the Confederacy before
the move of the capital to Richmond. The other two were the $10
Liberty seated with eagle and shield and $5 Indian princess issues
Confederate collectors refer to this group collectively as the “Big
Six.” Pierre Fricke in his 2005 work Collecting Confederate Paper
Money remarks that acquiring these notes, particularly in high grade,
Leading the way, as would be expected, was the $1,000 note, called
“iconic” by the cataloger. It was graded Apparent Very Fine 35 by PCGS
Currency and went for $58,750 against an estimate of $25,000 to
$35,000. When Heritage sold eight of these at the Florida United
Numismatists convention auction in 2012, they went for from $18,400 to $37,375.
The $500 note was next at $39,950 in VF-35 Premium Paper Quality by
PCGS Currency. The $100 note (PCGS Extremely Fine 40 PPQ) and $50 note
(PCGS EF-45) brought $21,150 and $17,625 respectively.
The two Richmond, Va., notes that were among the six notes were
printed only for a very short period late in 1861. The $10 note sold
for $21,150 and the $5 note for $39,950. Both, Fricke points out, are
extremely rare in grades above Fine. The $5 issue was graded VF-20 by
PCGS, while the $10 note was graded Fine 15. Each of these was said to
be among the finest known.
An 1861 Richmond $5 note in VF-20 with restoration and rust went for $17,625.
Although the monochromatic Richmond notes are not as attractive as
the brightly hued Montgomery ones, and are of low quality in terms of
both printing and paper, they are of equivalent rarity to the high
denomination Montgomery issues.