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
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.
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.
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.