PRESS RELEASE . . . . . MAY 18, 2021
“Announcing a New Book”
“Minting, Printing & Counterfeiting:
The Trifecta of Making Money during the Civil War Era”
(May 18, 2021) The latest book in the “Money, Mayhem & Might Saga”™ is titled Minting, Printing & Counterfeiting, just released by Talisman & Coiner Productions, LLC, of Hagerstown, Maryland.
Our new book deals with how the profound financial pressures of sustaining a Civil War — in both the North and the South — forced changes in old ways of banking and even making coins and currency. America had never faced such an unprecendented situation — a Civil War costing millions of dollars per day to wage (at its height) and there was no precedent for the burden of paying for such extreme “exigencies of war.”
Available now, “Minting, Printing & Counterfeiting, ™” which is the second book in the Saga, explores the impact of the Confederacy taking three of the five operating US Mints hostage — virtually cutting in half the North’s ability to produce coinage. And, astoundingly, huge gold and silver strikes in the West prompted the North to approve three new branch mints at the height of the War: in Denver, CO, Carson City, NV and a place called The Dalles, OR (the Phantom Mint that is now home to a brewing company.)
Three Southern Mints “Taken in Trust” — Seized and Closed!
Minting, Printing & Counterfeiting plunges into the fact that various war-related upheavals took a great toll on the North’s ability to produce coins. US coins at that time were made of valuable metals — gold, silver and copper — which led to coin shortages as people hoarded. That hoarding, coupled with the huge costs of war, created the need for paper money — so the presses started to really roll in the North and South. Billions of dollars were printed — and none was backed by gold and silver . . . and so fiat currency was born. As a matter of fact, Congressman Spaulding of New York — who championed the Legal Tender Act of 1862 and the printing of “Greenbacks — would claim that that bill created both an interest-free loan and a national currency; industrialist Cornelius Vanderbilt is said to have claimed that Spaulding “conjured money out of nothing” and did more to win the War for the North than any single battle.
Women enter the Federal Workforce – Some become Career Civil Servants!
Producing reams of paper money North and South created the need for people to cut, trim and sign tens of thousands of banknotes and that opened the door for women to join the Treasury Departments of both sides by the hundreds! In the North, they became known as “The Treasury Girls.” Some US Treasury Girls stayed on way beyond the War, becoming career civil servants; one such woman became known as the “Sherlock Holmes” of detecting counterfeit currency for the “Bureau of Redemption” and worked until she was 90 years old!
Three US Branch Mints OK’d by Congress in the West — 1862, 1863, 1864
While three new US branch mints were approved by the US Congress and Abraham Lincoln during the heat of the War (1862 through 1864), we mostly tell the story of the last mint approved by Abe: the Phantom Mint at The Dalles, Oregon — a wild west town at the end of the Oregon Trail. The place was inhabited for thousands of years by native Americans and during the Civil War, a second big gold strike in eastern Oregon brought thousands of prospectors and scalawags to the Town. The mint building was completed by 1870 but no coin was ever produced there.
Counterfeiting and Koniackers — Fake Money becomes a Weapon of War
And speaking of risky and profitable ventures, counterfeiting of coin and new “greenback” currency was a hot business — some “coney-men” and “koniackers” were patriots and others were hustlers. Big operators made big money; a few (who were sanctioned by the US Government) made so much fake Confederate currency that it fueled Southern inflation and helped starve the South.
It is said that as much as THIRTY PERCENT of all money in circulation was counterfeit by the War’s end. Battling fake money gave birth to the US Secret Service and a bulldog of a man named William Wood became its first Director in 1866 — and died a pauper years on.
All these tales and many more are told in this 165-page book, which is lavishly illustrated with color photos and illustrations. The book is spiral-bound, making it easy to lay open and share with family, friends, civil war enthusiasts and coin club members alike. It is designed to be easy-to-read and easy-to-share.
Minting, Printing and Counterfeiting is Book #2 of the “Money, Mayhem & Might Saga”, a series of books that examine the many ways that the US Civil War left its mark on our nation’s money and its banking system — and we also introduce personalities who helped fund and finesse the war effort on both sides, beginning with the “Rogues who rode the Rails” in the first book about the Confederate Treasure Train. A larger chapter about a “Parcel of Rogues in a Nation” will be featured in an upcoming Saga.
The first book in the Saga is “The Furious Flight of the confederate Treasure Train — or — Where Did all of the Southern Dough Go?™” The “Treasure Train” book was published in late 2020 and takes the reader on a ride along the fateful path of Confederate trains that were carrying both the Confederacy’s Treasury AND the Richmond Bank Gold (hundreds of thousands of dollars in gold coin bullion). We follow the journey as the trains and Confederate leadership sought to outrun the federal cavalry and escape the collapse of the Confederacy as the money rolled further and further South — only to reach the end of the line and their capture in rural Georgia in May of 1865. The Richmond Bank “Gold Trove” was fought over for the next 28 years in federal courts — making it the longest fought (financial) battle of the US Civil War.
Both books are available for sale now. Join us in this unique Saga.
Talisman & Coiner Productions, LLC is a privately owned small business focusing on dynamic cultural, financial, and monetary issues in our past that are relevant today with special attention to the US Civil War era. Minting, Printing & Counterfeiting, released in 2021, is the second book in the Money, Mayhem & Might Saga. The first book, published in 2020, is the Furious Flight of the Confederate Treasure Train.
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