Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Postal Currency

Arlyn G. Sieber, Warman’s Coins and Paper Money, writes on the website about the history of U.S. paper money.

He notes, "During the Civil War, the public hoarded gold, silver, and even copper coins. In response to the resulting coin shortage, postage stamps were used for small change in everyday transactions. The stamps were placed in small envelopes printed with a value, but the envelopes deteriorated quickly and the stamps soon became a sticky mess."

According to Sieber, "The solution was to issue small, rectangular-shaped 'Postage Currency' in 1862. "

He goes on to say, "Depictions of postage stamps on the currency indicated their value; a 50-cent note depicted 50 cents in postage stamps, for example.They could not be used as postage on letters or packages (they had no adhesive), but they could be redeemed at any post office for the indicated amount of postage.

"In 1863, fractional currency replaced the postage currency. It was similar in size to the postage currency but did not contain any reference to postage stamps. Fractional notes were issued through 1876, by which time coinage production had caught up with demand and the hoarding of the Civil War era had ended."

Shown above, a 5-cent postage currency note.

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 7:35 AM