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Beyond Face Value: Depictions of Slavery in Confederate Currency

The Images: Individuals with Assorted Tasks

T-30 Confederate States of America, $10 (1861)

State of South Carolina, Revenue Bond Script, $5 (1872)


North Carolina, Bank of Wadesborough, $4 (1860)

The Peoples Bank of Kentucky, $50 (not pictured)

Missouri, Farmers Bank, $10, proof (not pictured)


Roger Durand reports this title was assigned by the American Bank Note Company when it produced its Archive Series of proof vignettes. It can be found on the following notes:

Central Bank of Tennessee, $10 (1855)

State of Mississippi, Treasury Note, $10 (1861) (not pictured)

Georgia, Augusta Insurance and Banking Co., $10 (not pictured)


Since this image appears before and after emancipation, it is referred to by experts as “slave” when featured on a note in 1861 and “free negro” when illustrating currency in 1872.

 

About to Milk the Cow

This image was derived from the painting “All Talk and No Work” by Francis W. Edmonds (c. 1856). See Francis W. Edmonds, American Master in the Dutch Tradition by H. Nichols B. Clark and Facing History: The Black Image in American Art by Guy C. McElroy. The original painting is in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum.

The image appears on the following notes:

  • Alabama, Deposit Savings Association of Mobile, $2(1872)
  • Virginia, Bank of the City of Petersburg, $5 (1861) (not pictured)

The Scythe Grinder

This image was derived from the painting “The Scythe Grinder” by Francis W. Edmonds (c. 1856). See Francis W. Edmonds, American Master in the Dutch Tradition by H. Nichols B. Clark. The original painting is in the collection of the New-York Historical Society.

South Carolina, Bank of Hamburg, $5 (1872)


According to Roger Durand, this name was assigned to the image by the American Bank Note Company. It can be found on these notes:

Virginia, Corporation of Winchester, $5 (1862)

Georgia, Bank of Commerce, $50 (1856)

, with Northern redemption on reverse

Tennessee, The Exchange Bank of Tennessee, $10 (not pictured)


State of North Carolina, 10 cents(1862)

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