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.
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