May 17, 2016 to October 29, 2016

American banknotes in the twenty-first century are recognizable for their uniform size, green ink, built-in anti-counterfeiting features, and universal acceptance as the United States’ only paper money. But prior to the American Civil War, the United States had no single currency, with the exception of small-denomination coinage minted in one of five US mints. Between 1810 and 1865 thousands of American banks, states, cities, parishes, counties, and towns printed their own banknotes for circulation in local, regional, and national markets. Because antebellum and Civil War–era banknotes varied in paper, size, color, imagery, and quality, counterfeiters easily capitalized on merchants’ lack of familiarity with notes from lesser-known banks.

Money, Money, Money! Currency Holdings from The Historic New Orleans Collection features more than two hundred original objects—including coins, paper currency, printing plates, political cartoons, counterfeit detectors, and paintings—that illustrate the history of money in America, with a special focus on Louisiana.