• One American Dollar (1864)


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    One American Dollar
    (1864) 

    Very Rare / Richmond

    George W. Randolph
    Serial No: 82129
    Confederate States of America
    Series: 1864 B
    Condition: F


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    Confederate States of American Dollar


    The Confederate dollar, often called a "Greyback", was first issued into circulation in April 1861, when the Confederacy was only two months old, and on the eve of the outbreak of the Civil War.
    At first, Confederate currency was accepted throughout the South as a medium of exchange with high purchasing power. As the war progressed, however, confidence in the ultimate success waned, the amount of paper money increased, and their dates of redemption were extended further into the future. Most Confederate currency carried the phrase across the top of the bill: "SIX MONTHS AFTER THE RATIFICATION OF A TREATY OF PEACE BETWEEN THE CONFEDERATE STATES AND THE UNITED STATES" then across the middle, the "CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA WILL PAY [amount of bill] TO BEARER" (or "...WILL PAY TO BEARER [amount of bill]" or "...WILL PAY TO BEARER ON DEMAND [amount of bill]").
    As the war progressed, the currency underwent the depreciation and soaring prices characteristic of inflation. For example, by the end of the war, a cake of soap could sell for as much as $50 and an ordinary suit of clothes was $2,700.
    Near the end of the war, the currency became practically worthless as a medium of exchange. This was because Confederate currency were bills of credit, as in the Revolutionary War, not secured or backed by any assets. Just as the currency issued by the Continental Congress was deemed worthless (witness the phrase "not worth a Continental;" and see The Federalist Papers, which also addressed this issue in the run-up to the ratification of the U.S. Constitution) because they were not backed by any hard assets, so, too, this became the case with Confederate currency. Even though both gold and silver may have been scarce, some economic historians have suggested that the currency would have retained a relatively material degree of value, and for a longer period of time, had it been backed by hard goods the Confederacy did have, perhaps such as cotton, or tobacco. When the Confederacy ceased to exist as a political entity at the end of the war, the money lost all value as fiat currency.


     

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