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Series Overview: Demand Notes

Demand notes were originally issued in 1861 as the Civil War escalated and became the earliest form of US paper currency that Americans are used to using today. The term "greenback," which many in the numismatic community and the mainstream public use to describe United States paper money, originated with the demand notes of 1861. Congress authorized a total of $60 million to be issued in denominations of $5, $10, and $20, and these were first released in August 1861.

Demand notes are the only large-size United States notes to not display the Treasury Seal or names of the Treasurer and Register of the Treasury, and they bear just one serial number. They were issued with the following obligation:"The United States promise to pay to the bearer [X] dollars on demand… Payable to the Assistant Treasurer of the United States at [New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Cincinnati, or St. Louis]. Receivable in payment of all public dues."

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