Those 70’s writers were just stealing lines from 30’s radio shows that were actually timely and funny. I’d have to say that confederate money would not likely be much of a collectors item until interest in the war peaked at the centennial. I’d say the 50th anniversery would have been too soon (plus the war in Europe was starting).
Antique collectors items used to take a lot more time to come into vogue for interest.
Mind you, even as a collectors item, confederate money would not be worth all that much. After all, minted Roman-era coins don’t get much more than a few bucks each, depending on their rarity and quality.
Collector’s value aside, Confederate notes were essentially worthless by the end of the war, due both to inflation caused by reckless printing by the Confederacy itself and widespread counterfeiting, as the Conderate notes were extremely easy to reproduce (some of the counterfeiting may have even been a deliberate tactic by the North to devalue the already shaky Southern currency). From http://www.minnbankcenter.org/frnotes.htm:
Linking through the gold dollar gives us a value of less than 4 cents for a Confederate dollar by the war’s end, and I suspect that’s generous. After the war, any exchange rate offered was probably a very, very bad joke.
A Confederate note/bond/whatever is worth nothing as money. However, as a collectible piece of paper, it can be worth quite a bit . . . just don’t take it down to Richmond and expect to get paid in gold coin for it.
Right up thru the 1920’s and 30’s, genuine Confederate notes were quite often printed with advertising on the back and give away as souvenirs(and as free advertising). The common 1864 issues(not the scarce 1861 issue on Ebay) were available for literally a cent per note.
I used to sell the common $10 and $20 notes in crisp uncirculated condition in the early 1970’s for $3-4 each to collectors.
Today there is a revival of interest in collecting Civil War items and they fetch $25-40 each at retail. Scary.