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Currency in
the Civil War

2024 Premier Exhibit at the Cedarburg History Museum

Lacking all of the counterfeiting precautions of today’s banknotes, forgeries were easy to produce and printed by southern, northern and even foreign sources. Some printers even concocted their own made-up money, called spurious notes, which didn’t mimic any authentic currency of the time. By the end of the Civil War, it’s estimated that nearly one-third of all currency in circulation was counterfeit. To counter the banknote forging of the time, the Secret Service was established in 1865.

This $10 Confederate States of America “blue back” banknote on display in the exhibit is counterfeit, and likely printed during the last half of the Civil War, possibly printed in Havana, Cuba.

$10 Confederate Counterfeit Front.jpg

Here’s an example of a $50 Confederate banknote facsimile, likely made and distributed in the 1960’s.

$50 Confederate Counterfeit Front.jpg

These $5 and $100 banknotes are examples of modern-day reproductions by the Historical Document Company, and commonly distributed by museum shops, historic battlefields and other tourism locations across the country. Note the crinkly “artificially antiqued” paper that they are printed on!

$100 Confederate REPRO Front.jpg
$100 Confederate Banknote Reproduction
Confederate $5 banknote
dated 1861
$5 Confederate REPRO Front.jpg
$5 Confederate Banknote Reproduction

Visit Wisconsin in the Civil War!
Wisconsin in the Civil War is open during regular museum hours.


Exhibit Sponsor: Military Collectibles Shop

9707 West Greenfield Avenue, West Allis, WI 53214

While visiting the museum be sure to stop into our gift shop, featuring local Cedarburg items, gifts and
other history-related merchandise.

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