During the Civil War, the U.S. government first issued currency for general circulation. The Union had stopped paying out coins, and needed a way to facilitate trade and finance the war. The people were demanding a currency that was guaranteed good by the government. Accordingly, in 1861 the first Federal currency notes were issued.
Between 1861 and 1928, the U.S. issued currency (we refer to it as "large size" because it was bigger than the currency we now use) in many different types. There were Silver and Gold Certificates, backed by precious metal, Legal Tender Notes authorized by Congress, and Federal Reserve Notes issued under the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, among others.
Many of these notes are colorful and beautiful, featuring gorgeous vignettes of events and people of American history. As few people could afford to save quantities of paper money, these notes are generally quite scarce today. This has remained one of the most active areas of the currency market.
A beautiful 'Chase' that exhibits full well centered borders and sharp corners. Black, green, and red inks are all vivid and the paper is bright. Great eye appeal!
A lovely note that exhibits excellent color and bright premium paper. Corners are sharp and eye appeal is great!
A pleasing blend of strong color, solid paper, and honest wear.
Portrait of Samuel P. Chase. The original greenback design. A pleasing note for the grade that exhibits strong color and plenty of remaining brightness. Quite eye appealing.
Portrait of Salmon P. Chase. Solid paper exhibits even wear. Except for the treasury seal, inks are strong.
A less common variety that exhibits good color, even wear, and nice eye appeal for the grade.
A beautiful 'Rainbow' ace that exhibits strong color, pleasing paper, and full margins. Plenty of eye appeal.
A beautiful well centered 'Rainbow' note. Strong inks rest upon paper with plenty of remaining brightness. Eye appeal is excellent for the grade.
Portrait of Daniel Webster, former US Congressman, Senator, and Secretary of State. A simply stunning 'Rainbow' Jackass that earned its name from its beautiful blend of vibrant green, black, and red inks. In addition, notes were printed on specially prepared paper that contained a strip of blue that was to aide in counterfeit detection. This 'Rainbow' was found on notes only issued under the series 1869. Later series were more traditional and not nearly as colorful. This example is framed by bright nearly even margins. The early intricate design reverse is on display. Fantastic eye appeal and an extremely desirable high end 'Gem'!
A popular 'Rainbow' note with good margins and nice color.
A beautiful 'Rainbow Woodchopper' that exhibits pleasing centering for the grade, attractive paper, and range of color. Very popular.
A beautiful 'Rainbow Woodchopper' that offers rich multi-color hues that flow across bright premium paper. Margins are full and well balanced. Great eye appeal!
An early Washington ace that exhibits strong color and bright paper. Centering is much nicer than would be expected for the grade.
A well centered early ace that exhibits pleasing color and a bright appearance. Plenty of eye appeal!
An attractive early Washington ace that exhibits pleasing color and bright premium paper.
A lovely early ace that exhibits nice margins, pleasing color, and a bright appearance.
Well framed inks rest upon bright paper. Very attractive.
Attractive and solid for the grade.
A beautiful and fresh early 'Woodchopper'. Well centered, bright color and paper, and plenty of eye appeal!
An attractive example of this unusual interest bearing obligation currency which found popularity with the general public until the interest stopped in 1907. They were issued in an attempt to give the average citizen opportunities to own government securities in low denominations. There are less than 200 known and high-grade examples are always in demand.