Elaboration on my post Day 47: Fractional Currency
While going through and organizing old boxes, my grandmother found this old paper money. Not knowing what it was, she sent it to my father who did a bit of research on it. It seems that due to the Civil War, the metal used to make coins was in short supply and in order to continue producing currency, the U.S. government resorted to printing paper notes in coin denominations in 1862. Called Postage Currency at the time, it’s typically referred to as Fractional Currency by modern collectors. Notes were available in 5, 10, 25 and 50 cent denominations. The one that my grandmother stumbled across was for ten cents.
The printing of paper currency didn’t begin much sooner, the first official paper currency entered circulation just a year before in 1861 with denominations of $5, $10, and $20. This original currency was called Demand Notes. United States Notes, which more closely resemble our paper money today, began to enter circulation in 1862, the same time as the Fractional Currency.
The Confederate States of America, the South during the Civil War, opted to use different currency, rejecting the currency with the words ‘United States of America’. Shortages of metal were even more drastic in the South, making bartering common. Paper money was produced by the Confederate States, featuring southern symbols such as slave labor, and was hand signed by numerous clerks. The site Civil War Money Facts provides more information about this Confederacy money, and numerous examples of this Southern Currency can be found at Southern State Issued Currency of Louisiana During the Civil War.