Shortly after forming in 1861, the Confederate States of America began issuing paper currency as a medium of exchange. Early on, these notes circulated widely throughout the South, and held real purchasing power. As the War progressed in favor of the Union, confidence in the Confederate currency became undermined. The amount of issued notes vastly increased, and soon the currency underwent depreciation. Before the War’s end, Confederate currency had become practically worthless as a medium of exchange, the result of rampant inflation.
Today, the Confederate series is a very popular collecting field. The notes are often-inexpensive relics from a time of profound division and epic conflict. Generally, Confederate notes are much more available and less expensive than their Northern counterparts of the same era. A number of different engravers and printers produced the CSA notes; quality of both paper and printing varied widely. As a result, Confederate currency is a rich and interesting field, full of complexities. In total, CSA paper currency was issued in seven different series through 1864, consisting of 72 principal types or designs, traditionally numbered T-1 through T-72. Denominations ranged from 50 Cents to $1,000.
The T-1 through T-72 type numbering system, popularized by Grover Criswell, forms the basic structure of our listings. Individual varieties of CSA notes identified by Criswell (“Cr.” numbers) and Pierre Fricke (“PF-” numbers) in their respective publications are noted as well.
The individual states of the CSA also issued their own paper currency, often payable in Confederate States notes. These notes are listed separately under “Southern States Currency."