Content of the Numismatic Collection
The University Library's numismatic collection contains more than 10,000 specimens. Confederate and North Carolina treasury notes, bonds, and stock certificates comprise approximately half of this total. The balance includes United States and foreign coinage, tokens, scrip, bank checks, and chits, along with early nineteenth-century lottery tickets, medals, and other types of exonumia.
Common United States issues from the twentieth century constitute the overwhelming majority of coinage in the collection, with a small number of national pieces from the nineteenth century. The collection also contains hundreds of foreign coins, including a small set of classical Greek and Roman specimens dating from 336 BC to AD 200). As far as North Carolina history is concerned, the collection's most valuable coins are its set of twenty-four Bechtler gold dollars, quarter-eagles, and half-eagles. These vestiges from North Carolina's gold rush were donated to the university in 1981 by Herman Bernard of High Point, N.C.
Foremost, however, the collection's strengths are in North Carolina paper money, most notably in state issues from the Civil War (in excess of 3,400 specimens). Confederate currency, rare examples of North Carolina's "illegal" state treasury notes from 1815-1824, and a growing collection of colonial and Revolutionary bills are additional strengths, along with a wide-ranging representation of notes issued by northern and southern banks and by other authorities outside North Carolina between the 1830s and 1860s.