A review of the Comprehensive Catalog and History of Confederate Bonds (Second Edition) by Douglas B. Ball and Henry F. Simmons, Jr.
By Jay H. Recher – Paper Money Guaranty Corporation….
The first edition of the Comprehensive Catalog and History of Confederate Bonds was published in 1998. The book was a huge success and brought new information and knowledge into the market. It also laid the foundation for the second edition as well as other books that will surely come in the future.
The second edition, written by Henry F. Simmons, Jr. with Richard Self and James R. Desabaye, will catapult and take CSA bond collecting to new heights. The book picks up where Dr. Douglas B. Ball left off creating a wonderful masterpiece. To those who are unfamiliar, Dr. Ball passed away in 2003 before he was able to revise his Confederate Bond book. To use the words of Stephen L. Goldsmith, who wrote the forward, “the torch has been passed, and it is in good hands.”
There are some minor, but important, differences from the first edition to the second. One of which is the addition of new bond discoveries and corrected errors in the Criswell-Ball cross reference (which are found in two places: the appendix and each catalog number). The second edition also has updated pricing in two grades (Fine and Very Fine), includes over 200 large color scans, and has updated Ball reference numbers.
The aspect of this book that I thoroughly enjoyed was an in-depth (20-page) introduction of sorts which contained the following sections: historical outline, approaches to cataloging, attribution, considerations for collectors (which includes a section on overt counterfeits, grading, and rarity), and descriptive details (including printing and paper types).
The last section before the “meat and potatoes” (a.k.a. the descriptive details) is by far my favorite of the Introduction to Confederate Bond section. This has some great information regarding how the bonds were printed. Special attention was paid in this edition to identify the printing technology used (letterpress, lithograph or intaglio) on each issue. Simmons, et al. clarified some confusing imprints. Several issues notate an engraver and lithographer on the same bond (B-143), while some bonds (B-296 to 340) display an engraver and a printer. Others are misleading like the B-211 bear the imprint, “Evans & Cogswell Lith. Columbia” when in fact this bond is actually printed using a letterpress technique. In this exact instance Lith. is short for lithographer and not lithograph.
Inside this fascinating book you will find 194 types of bonds broken down into varieties for a total of 386 catalog numbers, along with 15 counterfeit bond listings. There are six appendixes which cover the gambit of bond coupon signers, to Confederate legislation, to a master Criswell-Ball cross reference.
If you are a long time collector of CSA bonds or just getting into the hobby then this book will most certainly need to be on your shelf. It’s a treasure trove of information. The best location to buy your book is through Richie Self’s website.
PMG is an independent member of the Certified Collectibles Group (CCG).