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Series Overview: Fourth Issue

A major coin shortage during the Civil War, which lasted from 1861 through 1865, required the United States to employ an innovative way of keeping the economy moving even when small change was largely absent from the scene. The creation of fractional currency, or paper notes of denominations less than $1 face, helped bridge that economic gap. Issued from 1862 through 1876, fractional currency became a satisfactory solution to the problem and saw five issuances.

The Fourth Issue, printed from July 14, 1869 through February 16, 1875 consisted of 10-, 15-, 25-, and 50-cent denominations, each with a distinct design. The paper money of the Fourth Issue stands out as the first among fractional currency to bear a Treasury seal. Unique to the Fourth Issue are 15-cent notes, which today represent among the scarcest notes in the entire family of United States Fractional Currency.

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