United States Fractional Currency
Because of the lack of gold, silver, and copper during the time of the U.S. Civil War, the U.S. government released Fractional Bank notes in 3, 5, 10, 15, 25, and 50 cent amounts. The Postage Currency Act was passed by both President Abraham Lincoln and Congress on July 17, 1862. This granted the printing of 5, 10, 25, and 50 cent bank notes.
Because they appeared much the same to the 5 cent and 10 cent postage stamps, the first issue of these notes were referred to as Postage Stamp Currency. The Postage Stamp Currency was never allowed as legal tender and the only two uses of it was: 1.) To be traded for United States Notes in $5 increments and 2.) To be receivable as payment for dues to the United States government in $5 amounts or less.
In the beginning months of being produced, the bank notes were printed in perforated sheets sold to both banks and the public so that people could easily rip off what they needed. After a while, the notes were just printed to be cut with scissors because the perforating machine could not handle the amounts of notes.
A new order of Fractional Currency bank Notes were printed in 1863. These bank notes were more colorful and more difficult to counterfeit than the Postage Currency of 1862. This was requested by U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P. Chase.
There was a controversy with the third order of the 5 cent bank note because Spencer M. Clark’s ( the National Currency Bureua’s first superintendent) portrait was on the note which was illegal due to the law that requires notable U.S. citizens on currency to be deceased for at least two years.
In September of 1883, United States Fractional Currency was replaced by postal notes. Postal notes were made for the purpose of sending amounts of money $5 or under to distant places both securely and at a low cost.
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