$10 Chemicograph Back Plate$10 Chemicograph Back Plate Intended for Confederate Paper Money.
This $10 Chemicograph back printing plate is a piece of Confederate history of the rarest magnitude and an item this cataloger never even dreamed of having the pleasure to write about. First, the back story is in order. A set of Chemicograph "notes" consists of six different backs with designs that were intended for the 1864 issues of the $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, and $500 denominations. Back plates with these designs were ordered by the Confederate Treasury from S. Straker & Sons of London. The plates were made and shipped from London to the CSA in early January 1864. On the trip the plates disappeared. Several more additional shipments were also made, but none of these got through the Union blockade. Examples of the plates were finally found 75 years later and prints were made. Next, the plates were donated to the Smithsonian Institution according to printed information supplied with the purchase of these sets from Philip H. Chase in the 1950's and 60's. This lot contains the $10 Chemicograph printing plate that closely depicts the desirable Great Seal of the Confederate States of America with George Washington on horseback at center. Included with this lot is a reprint of a Philip H. Chase article on the Chemicograph subject that appeared in the March and April 1950 The Numismatist. We have not graded the plate, but it is very nice with all details sharp and it does not have any gouges or cuts. The only other auction appearance we can find for a Chemicograph plate comes courtesy of Paper Money Society of Paper Money Collectors Vol. XVI, No. 2 - Whole No. 68 - March-April 1977. In an auction roundup article there is a report how a $5 Chemicograph plate brought a $1,000 floor bid at a January 1977 NASCA auction. That was certainly a healthy sum for the times. Perhaps the earlier $5 and the current $10 plate in this auction are plates that did not make it through the blockade and they remained hidden for many years. This $10 finally steps into the limelight and in today's market we see the hammer falling in the range of...
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