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Rare Historic Currency Collection On Display at Lakeside Bank - Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sam Harmison of Lake Charles has been collecting rare coins and currency since he was 12 years old, and he will be 99 years old this month. His rare collection of Confederate-era currency will be on display at the main location of Lakeside Bank on Nelson Road in Lake Charles throughout the month of May.

Harmison is the father of Lakeside Bank President and CEO, Mike Harmison. His currency collection includes paper notes and coin replicas of Confederate Currency, and Railroad Paper Money, which is paper notes.

The Confederate coin collection features coin designs that would have been struck in 1861 had the Confederacy mints (New Orleans, Charlotte and Dahlonega) remained opened. They closed due to issues with bullion and equipment. These coin replicas include a half-dollar, five-dollar, 20-dollar, and one-cent piece, along with a commemorative medal. The first Confederate currency demonstrated engraving and printing of a high quality, with beautiful designs including portraits of Southern heroes and mythological idols. Some drawing showed industrial scenes such as cotton picking and steamboats. The collection also includes a $1000 bill which is one of only 607 printed in Montgomery, Alabama.

Before the Federal Government started to print currency during the Civil War, private issuers such as railroads issued their own bank notes. Railroads issued notes as well as stocks and bonds for their construction needs. Usually these notes were backed by the railroads real-estate or other assets. In 1866 Congress passed laws putting restriction and heavy taxation on private issued currency. Railroads got around this limitation and issued what was known as fare tickets. These notes were good for passenger or freight usage.

The community is invited to visit the display inside Lakeside Bank at 4735 Nelson Road in Lake Charles. Bank lobby hours are Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm.


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