For sale is a rare 1874 TEN CENT FRACTIONAL CURRENCY NOTE from the United States Bureau of Engraving & Printing. This fragile obsolete civil war era currency scrip is in excellent condition. This 10-cent note was legal tender in the United States. The front features the denomination and a portrait of William M. Meredith, the Secretary of the Treasury from 1849-1850. The back of the note features an ornate design. Note measures about 3 1/4 inches by 2 1/8 inches. A top notch historic collectible.
During the Civil War, the public became concerned that the warring governments would start issuing paper currency to pay the war debt and that paper notes would become worthless. Since circulating coinage contained an amount of metal almost equal to the face value of the coin, people very quickly began to hoard gold and silver coins. As a result, virtually every coin, including copper pennies, eventually disappeared from circulation. This coin shortage made it very hard for merchants and people in business to conduct transactions because they could not make change for the sale of their goods. Enterprising merchants began to issue private tokens made from brass and copper that were approximately the same size as the United States one-cent coin. They were known as “Civil War Tokens” and usually carried an advertisement for the issuing merchant. Other merchants began to use postage stamps to make change.
To deal with the widespread hoarding of coins and the inability to make change for purchases, Congress authorized small-size paper currency notes in denominations of 3, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents – which were released between 1862-1876. When Congress in 1875 and 1876 authorized redemption of this fractional currency in silver coins, most of these notes were redeemed. This 10¢ fractional currency note is a precious souvenir of the Civil War era!