DescriptionOriginal Bechtel Album for Confederate Notes with Many Rarities
There are rare moments in collecting when treasures that you have only heard of or read about miraculously appear, offering the opportunity to own a true piece of numismatic history. This offering is one of those opportunities. Tonight we are pleased to offer an original C.H. Bechtel Confederate Currency album which contains most of the great rarities of the Confederate series in generally excellent condition.
The Album- C.H. Bechtel was a New York City coin dealer with two claims to fame from a paper money perspective. In 1879 he held a sale of the Confederate Paper Money collection of J.E. Barratt which included, among other things, all four Montgomery notes. Bechtel also created an album to house Confederate notes. As J. Wayne Hilton, widely respected Confederate collector and researcher, relates in his book, Collecting Confederate Currency: Hobby and Investment: "C.H. Bechtel is most important, though, for publishing the first commercially successful Confederate currency album....Bechtel produced an elaborate, 90 page album designed to protect and display Confederate currency, with printed descriptions of the different types on each page. Nicely bound and professional-looking, Bechtel's album would not appear out of place in the finest libraries....Bechtel originally sold his album for $3.50 to $5.00, an exorbitant price in line with the price of a mid-grade $100 or $50 Montgomery note at the time. Bechtel promoted his album by giving samples to prominent New York collectors and by issuing "advertising notes" - genuine 1864 $5 Confederate Treasury Notes with a detailed advertising message printed on their backs....By 1877, collectors of Confederate currency had found a professional album to protect and house their Confederate collections."
The album is in excellent condition, with just the slightest rubbing at the corners of the covers and binding. It is solidly bound and tight without any loose pages or other problems. The album begins with an introduction page and a four page index of Confederate type notes, as Bechtel identified them, that could be accommodated in the album. This is followed by ninety pages of Confederate type notes that have been affixed to the pages, mostly with stamp hinges. The album concludes with five pages that the owner used for Republic of Texas notes (one note has been removed) and two pages that were used for Colonial Bank of Canada obsolete notes.
The Notes- The owner of this album took few liberties with what notes were put in the album, following the index with a few exceptions. The owner chose to not add three notes to show the back of what we know today as the T12 Manouvrier $5 (page 14), to show the so-called "Bogus Back" for the T39 and T40 $100s (page 45), or to show what we call today the T47 / XX-2 $20 fantasy or essay note (Page 50). Interestingly, there is no space for the T48 / XX3 fantasy or essay note suggesting that it was either unknown or rejected as a legitimate part of the series. Ironically the Female riding Deer fantasy note does have its page present. The upshot of this is that the album contains a complete type set of Confederate Treasury Notes along with some Texas and Canadian notes. Here are the highlights of the typeset:
T1 $1000 Montgomery- Serial no. 441 Very Good-Fine;
T2 $500 Montgomery- Serial no. 146 Fine-Very Fine;
T3 $100 Montgomery- Serial no. 491 Fine
T4 $50 Montgomery- Serial no. 1561 Fine-Very Fine;
T27 $10 1861 Fine;
T35 $5 Indian Princess Very Good with two large cut out cancels and a stain;
The rest of the notes are generally in at least Fine condition with a few of the more common types a bit less than that. Virtually all of the notes are stamp hinged onto the pages which means that mounting damage is minimal in most cases.
We believe that the notes alone account for a minimum of $80,000 in value. Coupled with the fact that this set has been intact for the better part of 130 or 140 years in this historic album and we are confident that when the hammer drops we will sell this historic item for more than $100,000.
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