By Brad Ciociola – Currency Specialist, Stack’s Bowers ……
A Confederate T-67 $20 bill that was held by General Robert E. Lee during his surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia will be offered in Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ March 2020 Official Currency Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Spring Expo.
On the afternoon of April 9, 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee met with Union General Ulysses S. Grant under a flag of truce to discuss the terms of Confederate surrender. The two military leaders reached an agreement at the home of Wilmer McLean.
The note has an impeccable pedigree from Lee family friend Reverend J. William Jones and is accompanied by a note on an envelope from Jones that reads:
“The enclosed note was given me by Gen. G.(eorge) W.(ashington) C.(ustis) Lee, who told me that his father, Gen. Robert Edward Lee, had it in his pocket at the surrender – April 9th 1865. J. Wm. Jones.”
Jones was a Southern Baptist preacher who served as a Confederate chaplain during the Civil War. Later he became a campus minister at Washington College where he met Robert E. Lee. He eventually served as campus minister at both the University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Jones was picked to edit General Lee’s papers and was given the approval to publish Personal Reminiscences, Anecdotes and Letters of General Robert E. Lee in 1874. He published another Lee biography in 1906. Each has been reprinted dozens of times.
It is reasonable to surmise that Lee’s eldest son gifted Jones the note as a gesture of appreciation for his work on the general’s biography.
The relic itself is a mid-grade 1864 $20, a fairly common note as a type. However, its presence as a witness to one of the most significant events in American history makes it a highly desirable collectible that will appeal to both historical collectors and numismatists alike.
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The Stack’s Bowers Galleries Official Currency Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Spring Expo will be held March 18-20, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland. For more information on the auction or to consign items to upcoming Auctions contact Director of Currency Peter Treglia at [email protected] or Currency Specialist Brad Ciociola at [email protected].