- Last Updated on 07:42 AM 04/07/10
- BY BY Katherine Lee Francis/GAZETTE Intern
Mike and JoJo Yearby have been collecting money for about 12 years. They mainly collect Confederate and United States paper money.
The Yearbys said they frequent flea markets and Ebay in order to enhance their extensive collection of notes.
“There is a lot of history involved in this stuff,” Yearby said.
In the past six years, the market for collecting money has grown, he noted. Yearby said he believes this is in part due to the creation of the state quarter program which has added an additional four million collectors to the mix.
It also has caused the value of paper and paper money to increase by 50 percent, he said.
“The collection of money shows how the economy has grown,” he added.
The Yearby’s extensive collection includes bills backed by silver, gold and the United States’ good name. These bills were referred to as United States Notes, he added.
Some of the pieces they own are called replacement notes, money that was damaged during the printing process, they explained.
A star next to the serial numbers distinguishes these notes.
They are much more valuable because they only make a few replacement notes, the pair added.
The Yearbys even own a piece of JoJo’s family history. Michael Hillegas, an ancestor of JoJo, is on a 10-dollar bill that is backed by gold, they added.
They also own a few bills from their hometown, Dexter, Missouri.
In addition, the Yearbys have purchased pieces of money that were issued to the troops in North Africa during World War II. They were marked with certain numbers so if the bills fell into enemy hands, they could be traced, Yearby added.
One of the most unique pieces in the Yearby’s collection hails from right here in South Boston.
The bill came from the South Boston Planters and Merchants First National Bank of South Boston, they added.
In 1933 the United States stopped backing money by gold because it became illegal to own gold, they said.
“Money was scarce, so banks had bonds on deposit at the United States Treasury,” he said.
The treasury issued out charter numbers to the banks and by doing this the government could look up the number and see what bank was responsible for the debt, Yearby said.
By doing this, the government dumped all of the debt onto the small banks, he added.
When the banks went out of business, the outstanding money was supposed to be collected and turned back in.
However, some bills were not turned back in, he added.
The bill, which was issued during the depression, is thought to be only one of three in existence, but this is the first confirmed one, Yearby said.
“The value varies from who wants it, but you are looking at $2,000,” he said.
Something that makes the South Boston bill even more valuable is the fact it was almost lost, Yearby said.
“The bill was found in a Bible in a house that burned to the ground in North Carolina,” he said. “This is a real rare find.”
The Yearbys said their bills range in value from $500 to $3,000, and they intend to continue adding to their collection.