Display gives a ‘cents’ of history
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent June 19, 2012 12:58PM
A 150-year-old 25-cent scrip, issued by Molbay Carr, who operated a stagecoach line between Valparaiso and what became Chesterton is shown on display at the Porter County Museum of History in Valparaiso, Ind. | Jim Karczewski~For Sun-Times Media
For more on what’s going on at the Porter County Museum of History, 153 S. Franklin St., Valparaiso, call 465-3595, or go to www.portercountymuseum.org.
Updated: July 21, 2012 6:10AM
Adam Holterhoff has a rare bit of Valparaiso’s past and, for a few hours on a recent Sunday, he had it on display at the Porter County Museum of History.
With a combination of happenstance and sheer luck, Holterhoff, a coin collector for more than 50 years, snagged a 25-cent scrip that was issued in Valparaiso.
Holterhoff displayed the note June 10 during a museum reception; the date marked the 150th anniversary of when the note was issued.
The whole thing started several months ago. Holterhoff, a retired engineer from Valparaiso, started working part-time at a local pawnshop to identify old coins. He struggled with paper currency, though, so decided to do some research to brush up his skills.
Holterhoff connected online with a well-known U.S. currency dealer from Ohio and found he wanted to expand his own collection to include more than just coins, but currency as well.
“It was beautiful stuff,” he said, adding that was how he found the 25-cent scrip. It was issued by Molbay Carr, who operated a stagecoach line between Valparaiso and what is now Chesterton.
Currency was in short supply during the Civil War, Holterhoff said, and tokens, promissory notes and scrip took its place.
“When you opened your pay envelope in 1862, you didn’t know what you were going to find,” he said, adding the 25-cent scrip may be the only one of its kind, though such notes are hard to track. “This stuff flies under the radar.”
Kevin Pazour, the museum’s executive director, said the afternoon display of the scrip, held at the same time as an open house for the museum’s prehistoric exhibit, worked out quite well.
The display also came as the museum is renovating its upstairs Civil War exhibit, which is about 75 percent complete and should be done by July 4.
“On (the scrip’s) 150th birthday — you can’t get much better than that,” Pazour said.