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Series Overview: First Issue

The Civil War was a time of severe economic conditions in the United States, and coin shortages were rampant. This necessitated the creation of so-called fractional currency, or paper currency in denominations of less than $1. Fractional currency was issued from 1862 through 1876, covering a span of time that saw the carnage of the Civil War and the Reconstruction period that followed.

Five separate issues of fractional currency were printed, with the First Issue spanning from August 21, 1862 through May 27, 1863. These notes are called "postage currency" and included pieces printed in 5-cent, 10-cent, 25-cent, and 50-cent denominations.

They were initially printed by the National Bank Note Company of New York. However, for security purposes the US government eventually had the backs printed by the American Bank Note Company of New York, which added an "ABNCo" monogram on the lower right corner of the reverses of these notes. Today, these notes are prized by numismatists and also enjoy crossover appeal among stamp collectors, who also collect these postage currency fractional notes.

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