Collectible Stocks and Bonds from North American Railroads     by Terry Cox

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State aid bonds cataloged by Grover Criswell

State aid bonds issued by southern states.
Prior to the Civil War, southern states were heavily agricultural. While agricultural goods were valuable, they were much cheaper per ton than ordinary manufactured goods prevalent in the North. Consequently, the South attracted much less railroad development. (See Timeline for related events.)

A few southern states floated special bond issues before the Civil War to help railroad development. But after the Civil War, the need was greatly enhanced. To help rebuild rail infrastructure destroyed by the wars, several more southern states issued bonds on behalf of railroad companies within their borders. Generally, the states "guaranteed" the loans. Had the railroads failed to repay their debts, state treasuries promised to repay principal and interest.

In actual fact, most railroads failed and few, if any, states ever repaid their promised debts. Thus arose series of speculations, lawsuits, and threats of lawsuits, all trying to force state repayments.

Grover Criswell cataloged several state aid bonds in his historic reference, Confederate and Southern States Bonds, (1st edition 1961, 2nd edition 1979.) When state aid bonds appear for sale in prominent auctions, they are usually listed under their "Criswell number."

Because many state aid bonds are extremely rare, Mr. Criswell was never able to include all the varieties that he knew of. Many new varieties have appeared after Criswell's last edition. This was especially true after Sotheby's auctioned a huge hoard of 80,000 Confederate and southern states bonds in November, 1987. Throughout the 1990s, auction descriptions generally improved, and this allowed many "new" varieties to be cataloged that had escaped detection for years.

In an effort to help you acquire some of these rarities, this chart compares my numbering system with Criswell's.

(Please note that there are many other railroad aid bonds issued by northern states, as well as individual counties, townships, and towns. Those bonds were beyond Criswell's original purpose, and hence did not appear in his work.)

Company Criswell number Cox number
Alabama & Chattanooga unlisted ALA-425-B-50
Mobile & Great Northern unlisted ALA-426-B-40
Montgomery & Eufala Cr-70a ALA-427-B-40
Arkansas Central unlisted ARK-875-B-45
Arkansas Central Cr-70c* ARK-875-B-50
Arkansas Central unlisted ARK-875-B-55
Little Rock & Fort Smith unlisted ARK-876-B-50
Little Rock Pine Bluff & New Orleans unlisted ARK-877-B-50
Little Rock Pine Bluff & New Orleans unlisted ARK-877-B-55
Memphis & Little Rock unlisted ARK-878-B-45
Memphis & Little Rock unlisted ARK-878-B-50
Mississippi Ouachita & Red River unlisted ARK-879-B-50
three or four railroads (reported, but no description available) unlisted unlisted
New Orleans Mobile & Chattanooga unlisted LOU-348-B-50
Vicksburg Shreveport & Texas unlisted LOU-362-B-50
North Missouri unlisted MIS-933-B-20
Pacific Rail Road unlisted MIS-935-B-50
St Louis & Iron Mountain unlisted MIS-937-B-50
St Louis & Iron Mountain unlisted MIS-937-B-70
Atlantic & North Carolina Cr-56a NOR-173-B-50
Atlantic Tennessee & Ohio Cr-69d NOR-175-B-50
Chatham Rail Road Cr-68c NOR-177-B-50
Raleigh & Gaston Cr-62b NOR-179-B-50
Raleigh & Gaston unlisted NOR-179-B-51
Western Rail Road Cr-69c NOR-180-B-60
Western North Carolina Cr-58a NOR-181-B-50
Western North Carolina unlisted NOR-181-B-55
Western North Carolina unlisted NOR-181-B-56
Western North Carolina unlisted NOR-181-B-57
Western North Carolina unlisted NOR-181-B-58
Western North Carolina unlisted NOR-181-B-70
Western North Carolina unlisted NOR-181-B-71
Western North Carolina unlisted NOR-181-B-75
Williamston & Tarboro unlisted NOR-182-B-50
Wilmington Charlotte & Rutherford Cr-60d NOR-183-B-40
Wilmington Charlotte & Rutherford Cr-62w NOR-183-B-50
Wilmington Charlotte & Rutherford unlisted NOR-183-B-60
Wilmington Charlotte & Rutherford unlisted NOR-183-B-70
Blue Ridge (aid bonds reported, no description available) unlisted unlisted
South Carolina RR (proofs only) unlisted SOU-138-Bp-07
South Carolina RR (proofs only) unlisted SOU-138-Bp-08
South Carolina RR (proofs only) unlisted SOU-138-Bp-09
Louisville & Nashville Cr-66a TEN-789-B-50
Louisville & Nashville Cr-66b TEN-789-B-55
Louisville & Nashville Cr-67a TEN-789-B-60
Louisville & Nashville Cr-68b TEN-789-B-65
Louisville & Nashville Cr-68a TEN-789-B-66

*  did not appear in his published books, but in some of Criswell's later price lists

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(Last updated Feb 14, 2010)


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