200 Years of Banknotes Salvaged, Looted or Lost from Shipwrecks

My son Travis and I attended the International Paper Money Show in Kansas City. We decided to “divide and conquer”, going opposite directions and report back our finds. Travis came back with not a banknote, but a banknote paper with the watermark “CSA” for use by the Confederate States of America. The information the dealer passed on was quite compelling. I started researching this bank note paper from the Bermuda and in due course similar instances of salvaged, looted, confiscated, and lost banknote consignments from the sea. This book is the result of much entertaining research and detective work.
Book Cover Table of Currency


Here's the story of the Bermuda as a sample from the book

Bermuda (1861-1882) Captured 1862

The double-plated iron screw steamer Bermuda was built in Stockton-on-Tees, England. The ship was secretly sold shortly after her completion—to A. S. Henckle and George Alfred Trenholme of Charleston, South Carolina. The first trip with war contraband was successful and the Bermuda unloaded it’s cargo in Savannah, Georgia, returning with a cargo of cotton to England. In March 1862, apparently on her 2nd voyage running goods to the CSA, the Bermuda put in Bermuda. The Bermuda actually intended on off-loading it’s cargo in Bermuda, leaving the final leg to a CSA port to smaller and speedier ships. British authorities, however, refused to permit her to unload. Almost a month later the ship was captured in the Bahamas attempting to sneak through the Union blockade on the Confederate States of America by Union ship U.S.S. Mercedita. Since the Union records of the Bermuda noted she had run the blockade before, the ship was brought to Philadelphia, the cargo confiscated and the 12 passengers made prisoners. A partial list of the cargo included:

All the illicit cargo was originally loaded in Hartlepool and Liverpool, England. 170+ year old court records show the banknote paper consisted of 490 reams. The confiscated paper was same type as previously used on $10 CSA notes of the same year and later on $100 CSA notes of 1862. Since the paper was used on CSA notes before and after the confiscation, it is obvious the Union blockade was only partially successful! Some of the confiscated paper was used by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing for fractional currency – more for proofs but also actual issued notes.


Bermuda


Banknote Watermarked Paper

After service with the Union navy, now part of the Union blockade, the ship was sold and renamed General Meade, then Bahamas. She saw merchant service until February 1882, when she foundered in a storm while en route from Puerto Rico to New York.


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