Rare Civil War and Railroad currency on display

Published: May. 20, 2015 at 11:53 AM CDT|Updated: May. 20, 2015 at 1:24 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Sam Harmison has been collecting rare coins and currency since he was 12. He'll be 99 this month and is celebrating by displaying his collection of civil war and railroad currency. A friend found it and gave it to him.

"They were tearing down an old farm house between Front Royal and Winchester, Virginia," said Sam. "They found this tin box full of old money. He said he thought I'd might like to have it."

"The Railroads, which were really really big at that time, issued their own money," said Mike Harmison, Lakeside Bank president and Sam's son. "It became more acceptable throughout the nation. The railroad would take it for fare and for freight and shipping, etc."

"He has one item in there that's extremely interesting," said Mike. "That's a thousand dollar bill that was issued when the capital of the Confederacy was in Montgomery, Alabama. There were only 607 of those bills issued ever."

Sam's not worried about the value of the collection. He just loves collecting.

"I don't think about the value of it. Why is that? What's so special about that? It's just the love of collecting something that's old."

The display of currency will be at the Lakeside Bank Branch on Nelson Road through May. It will then be shown in other branches throughout the summer.

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