Confederate Five Dollar Chemicograph - 1864

This "chemicograph" print is an example of what was to be printed on the rear of the 1864 Confederate Five Dollar note however, it never happened.  

In an effort to reduce the counterfeiting of Confederate notes, the British firm of S. Straker & Sons was hired by the Secretary of the Treasury of the Confederate States to design a printing plate with a more complex electrotype back for the 1864-issue Confederate notes. The plates used in the manufacturing process were referred to as "Chemicographs". These plates were ultimately never used, as either all or most of the plates or "Chemicographs" never made it to the Confederacy as the Union Navy captured most, if not all, as the smugglers attempted to penetrate the Union blockade. After March of 1864 passed, the Confederate officials abandoned the plan. Prior to the plates being melted for scrap by the Union Navy (a typical process for confiscated cargo from blockade runners), a man by the name of Charles Chaplin purchased some. Examples of the plates were finally found approximately 75 years later and prints were made. A complete set, donated by Philip H. Chase, resides in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Included in additional images is an image of a five dollar "chemicograph" plate included in the National Museum of American History collection.  This plate may have very well have been used to produce this print. The "chemicograph" print offered here is in excellent condition and has a brilliant reddish-orange color. There are no repairs or other issues. It will come in a clear sleeve for preservation and display and will be an excellent addition to any Civil War note, currency, or general relic collection. 

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