Scooby Doo and the Tale of the Confederate Cash (Part 2)
Q: Scooby Doo has an episode where Scooby wins 1 million dollars except it turns out it’s old “worthless” confederate cash. Kids and I are curious now about its worth and history. Would 1 million in confederate cash be worth anything today whether as a collectors item or anything?
A Historian’s Take (Part 2): “The Confederates kept issuing these notes as the conflict progressed to cover their debts, backed only by a promise. $867 million worth of bills were printed in large denominations. Now, money is only worth what people believe it is worth. High supply means low demand. The confederates had to make more and more currency and were fighting for nothing. Plus, public opinion mattered – if people believed that currency could not be redeemed, it went down in value. Since the Confederate notes were only backed by a promise after all was over, and the confederacy began to lose, their currency value dropped… Early on, the Confederate notes were more valuable – the CSA dollar was worth .90c of gold in Dec 1861and by 1863, only 6 cents, and lower still as things progressed.
“You might ask, why didn’t they just strike gold and silver coins? Simply, they could not afford to as any valuable metal was shipped to Europe to pay for goods. They just could not support any significant economy and fight at the same time. Collector value for Confederate notes depend on supply and demand. There is a high supply of these notes as things went on, but the earlier notes are more collectible and rare. These early are worth thousands in good condition. In circulated, maybe a few hundred. The later notes are generally worth less than $50 each depending on denomination and condition.”