1862 Confederate Currency

Value (2005) | $250 Retail

GUEST:
I brought in a confederate two-dollar bill. I actually don't think it's worth a lot of money, but it's invaluable to me for a couple of reasons. For one, it came from my late husband's family, and... I'm a teacher. I teach eighth-grade history, and I use it as a teaching tool.

APPRAISER:
And I bet the kids love that.

GUEST:
They do. I have it hanging in my family room, and once a year I go in, take it off the wall and bring it into class. And if you turn it over, there's an inscription on the back. I try to tell my students that during this war, it wasn't unusual for men of both sides to get together and to talk, and this is one of those instances. There's a Confederate soldier who presented this two-dollar bill to my late husband's great-great-great-grandfather, A.W. Benedict, in 1863, and it's got his name here-- John Graver, I believe it is-- and it was done in a battlefield in Pennsylvania, and it's just been passed down through the years. My mother-in-law gave it to me, I believe, because I'm the one that likes the history the best. I had it framed between two pieces of glass so my students could see it and so they would understand that it wasn't unusual for these soldiers to talk, and then they would, you know, fill their canteens, go back to their respective sides and start shooting each other.

APPRAISER:
And I've got a couple of interesting things that you can add when you're talking to the kids. If you notice, the 76 New York is the regiment. That's a very famous regiment, and the date, April 1863-- that's two months before this regiment would go into the Battle of Gettysburg.

GUEST:
Oh, wow.

APPRAISER:
They suffered huge casualties at the Battle of Gettysburg, which, to a collector or to a student trying to stay awake, is going to make a good little...

GUEST:
Antidote-- yeah.

APPRAISER:
Right. Exactly. The note itself... was issued in 1862 from Richmond, Virginia, which was the capital of the Confederacy. In the center of the note, we have the image. Do you know what that image is?

GUEST:
No, I don't.

APPRAISER:
This image is of the personification of the South striking down Union.

GUEST:
Oh, wow.

APPRAISER:
And they did a lot of those symbolic images on currency of the time. And do you know who this man is in the upper left-hand corner?

GUEST:
Uh, no, and I probably should.

APPRAISER:
He's Judah P. Benjamin.

GUEST:
Benjamin-- right.

APPRAISER:
He was in the Confederate cabinet, and he's the only man that was of the Jewish faith that was in the cabinet of the Confederacy.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
He came to Florida after the war was over.

GUEST:
Exactly, and then he moved to Paris.

APPRAISER:
Right. Because he didn't want to live under government rule. And it has a few tears...

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
A few folds, and that just happens from regular use. The note itself is about a $50 note.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
But with the inscription on the back, the history, the association with the Battle of Gettysburg, it's probably about a $250 piece.

GUEST:
Oh, wow. Thank you.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Shiloh Civil War Relics
Savannah, Tennessee
Appraised value (2005)
$250 Retail
Event
Tampa, FL (June 25, 2005)
Material
Paper

Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.

Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."

Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.

Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.

Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.

Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.

Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.