Authentic Civil War Bond Interest Coupon 1861

Historical pieces like these are of particular interest to me. While I appreciate stacking metals much more than notes, this is a beautiful snapshot of a pivotal time in U.S. history.

Loan $500 of your money to the Confederate States of America and receive money back every month as interest.

This tiny coupon was redeemable $20.00 in interest.

The lender would receive a large sheet of these redemption notes for their loan, each worth $20.00 each

Originally, the loan certificate looked like this:

Image found on ebay

The tiny redemption coupon would be cut off and redeemed for $20 every SIX MONTHS as interest repayment for the loan.

$40 interest per year on a $500 loan, would be 8% APR (This is about what we earn from curation rewards on HIVE, if we're doing well. And we're not even funding a war!)

Even if I don't possess the entire loan certificate, it's nice to own a piece of history, one tiny redemption coupon, would have been worth $20 in interest, if only I had redeemed it by July 1st, 1877. And if the C.S.A. had won the war.


Just for context, a $500 loan in 1861 is the equivalent of $17K today. And those $20 interest payments every six months would be worth about $730 in today's money... however by 1877 they were only worth about $590.

What could $20 get you in 1877?

Costs at this time are very different then what we are used to. That $20 could go a long way.

  • $0.98 A pair of shoes
  • $1.13 a pair of Levi Strauss blue jeans
  • $0.10 a high-quality and fashionable necktie
  • $0.25 a pound of imported coffee
  • $1.00 an opera ticket for "The Marriage of Figaro"

Typical wages were between $0.20/hour for basic jobs and $0.50/hour for a skilled job such as glassblowing.

Imagine Redeeming this Tiny Paper

This tiny paper is redeemable for $20 dollars. In 1877, dollars meant a WEIGHT OF SILVER.

You would be handed 20 silver dollars every six month as interest payment on your loan. You were given 60 payment coupons, so that 1200 shiny silver dollars over 2.5 years.

If all went well and your side wins the war, it's a very good investment, indeed!

It was a Bad Investment

Of course we know how history went. The CSA did not win the war and this loan was a very bad investment. Many people never got their loan repayed, let alone interest payments.

The war ended in 1866, so whoever owned this tiny coupon, likely never got anything for it in 1877. Most likely, they tucked their worthless loan agreement in a box somewhere until relatives cut out the repayment coupons and sold them individually. This coupon was never redeemed for anything!

Value Today

The individual coupons today are typically valued at $8-$10 each for their historical significance. An entire War bond (with coupons) sells for about $200. Again for it's historical value.

Whoever had the job of SIGNING 60 tiny little coupons had a very tiring job. But when we're talking about a document worth (at the time) $17K, I'll sign 60x without complaint!

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Benjamin Turner: God fearer. Rooted in Messiah. Husband of @lturner. Father of SIX wonderful children. The guy behind the camera. Blockchain enthusiast.

Bless the Most High!


Teach Your Children Liberty from Sin

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No one can lay a foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, his workmanship will be evident, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will prove the quality of each man’s work. 1 Corinthians 3:11-13

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