October 29, 2016, 9:00 AM PST
Rancho Santa Fe, CA, USALive Auction
Lot 300: Excessively Rare 1863 Civil War $300 Commutation Money Note on Pennsylvania(46 views)
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Estimate: $800 - $1,600
Civil War Union Documents
Rare Civil War Substitute $300 Draft Commutation Note
1863 Commutation Money, $300, Sixth Congressional District in Pennsylvania, Framed, Choice Extremely Fine.
An extremely rare example of a "Commutation Money" note issued in Union states following the Conscription law of 1863. These ornately printed notes served as receipts for people who were given the opportunity to avoid the Civil War draft by either supplying a Substitute or paying a fee of $300. Complete and fully issued, printed in a colorful green in the Sixth Congressional District in Pennsylvania. Measures 8.5" x 4", nicely matted and housed for display in a decorative modern wood frame. Not examined outside of frame. In March 1997, we sold three other Commutation notes in what is believed to be the largest offering of these rare notes ever made (Lot 725 at $8,050.00). Part of the description of that lot follows:
"The unfairness of these exemptions, and their favoritism towards the wealthy, led to the bloody New York City Draft Riot in July 1863. So many people took advantage of this opportunity to avoid the draft that an unexpected windfall of $12 million in gold coin poured into the national coffers."