Content of the Collection
Browse the Collection

The study of money and money-related material is called numismatics. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which opened to students in 1795, the campus library has accumulated over many decades an array of currencies issued by various governmental authorities and by private banks, insurance companies, and other businesses. Today, the North Carolina Collection (NCC) cares for the library’s numismatic holdings, which total over 10,000 pieces. Among some of the other moneys preserved in the NCC are a small number of Greek and Roman coins, scores of American colonial and Revolutionary-era bills, Bechtler coins from North Carolina’s gold rush, thousands of treasury notes from the Civil War, United States coinage, railroad stocks and Confederate bonds, commercial and military scrip, modern city parking tokens, novelty notes, and currencies from South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. While the collection is highly diverse in its geographical representation, its largest subcategories relate to bills of credit and notes produced for circulation in North Carolina during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

For more information about North Carolina’s numismatic past, refer to the A Brief History of North Carolina Money. Also see The History of the University Library's Numismatic Collection to learn more about the establishment and subsequent development of this public reference collection.

The numismatic collection currently contains thirty-eight examples of North Carolina paper money from the colony’s issues of 1748, 1754, 1757,1758, 1760, 1761, 1768, and 1771.

There are currently fifty-five specimens of currency from this period in the collection, including examples of North Carolina’s wartime “smallpox issue” printed in Wilmington in 1779.

The collection preserves a variety of moneys issued by governmental authorities and businesses during this period. Of special interest are extremely rare treasury notes issued by the State of North Carolina between 1815 and 1824.

The University Library’s Herman Bernard Collection contains twenty-four different varieties of gold coins struck by the Bechtler family during North Carolina’s gold-rush era.

NC Currency
The collection contains specimens of North Carolina bank notes and other currencies issued in the state during the decades prior to the Civil War. It also holds hundreds of examples of currencies from other southern and northern states in this period.

NC Currency
More than 3,300 North Carolina treasury notes from the Civil War are preserved in the North Carolina Collection, as well as hundreds of Confederate notes and other types of money issued during the conflict.