Confederate money found in Hamilton cellar. But is it real?

Posted at 5:38 PM, Oct 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-20 19:02:27-04

HAMILTON, Ohio -- Is it a 152-year-old treasure, or a more recent prank?

Contractors found what appears to be more than $300 in Confederate currency while working in a Hamilton house.

The owners bought the Fourth Street house a month ago and are remodeling so they can rent it out. While the contractors were working to replace an old drainpipe, they made the discovery.

"I saw something that looked like a newspaper clipping sticking out, and it was yellow," Cecil Sebastian said. "I pulled it out and it was a $100 bill from the state of Mississippi."

He went looking again and found more stashed between stones in the old cellar.

They placed the bills inside plastic sleeves. The bills, which have dates of 1862 and 1864, were marked as having come from Mississippi, Georgia, Virginia and South Carolina.

The South Carolina note was purportedly issued by the Cotton Planters Loan Associated and depicts slaves picking cotton. That wasn't lost on homeowner Lauren Watts, who is African-American.

"It's actually really cool seeing something that's part of your history, seeing what your ancestors had to go through to get us to where we are now so we can have some type of freedom," Watts said.

However, at least three of the bills had the same markings and dates as fakes posted online. The fakes have been made since the 1920s, and were also included in cereal boxes in the '50s.

"Well, I would hope [it's not fake] but if it is, it's just a really funny joke," Watts said. "You got us! But at the same time, it's cool to just see the history of what happened back then."