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 lovely note that exhibits excellent color and bright paper. Borders are unusually wide on all margins and eye appeal is great.
F-61a. A gorgeous example with vibrant color and nice centering.
A beautiful 'Rainbow' Ace that exhibits vivid color and fresh original paper with full margins. The plate number '4' is fully visible at the top. Strong eye appeal.
Scarce in any grade, this mid-grade higher denomination 'Rainbow' note borders on rare and resides in a comment-free holder. A large red seal and subtle blue tinting towards the right provide pleasing eye appeal. Borders are well centered. Very desirable.
Small Red Seal. Rays. A scarcer series B early 'Woodchopper'. Rich color blends into bright paper and the eye appeal is pleasing.
Attractive and solid for the grade.
A beautiful early $20 Hamilton with the new back design. Well centered, a partial plate number 2 can be seen at the center top. Red 'XX' protectors are quite prominent and are later removed on the 1880 series notes. Lovely color rests upon crisp original paper. Very desirable.
An attractive 'Brown' seal with plenty of strong color, bright paper, and even margins.
A well margined note with strong color, original paper, and even margins.
A scarcer 'Jackass' note with only 97 known, according to Track and Price, in all grades. This large brown seal example presents deep color, bright paper and displays nicely centered margins. Wonderful eye appeal.
A solid note with ample margins and only honest wear.
Portrait of Robert Morris. A super note for the grade that exhibits bold inks, bright original paper, and wide even margins. Embossing is sharp and stands out. This example faces up with excellent eye appeal and would not look out of place in a collection of higher grade notes.
F-135. A marvelous example of this large red seal note. Big jumbo margins all the way around. With just a touch more back side centering this jewel could have hit the 67 level and been really expensive! A prize for any collection. They simply do not usually look this good.
Well centered and solid for the grade.
Portrait of Stephen Decatur. A scarce note that exhibits nice margins and even wear.
A 'Choice' Woodchopper that exhibits strong ink and ample margins for the grade.
Portrait of Edward Everett, Secretary of State under President Fillmore. Just plain rare, this is the last black back 'Fifty' with the word "Silver" in large capital letters before the green reverse found on 1891 series notes. It is also the last note issued before the front was modified and the only small red seal variety in the 1880 series. In total, Track & Price lists only 31 notes in all grades and many show listings with comments regarding problems. This lovely example is problem free. Even boardwalk borders surround inks that are still vibrant. The paper still exhibits plenty of brightness, folds are light and wear is gentle for the grade. A super note that is seldom seen and would be an excellent addition to an advanced collection.
Star Note. Mule. John Burke Back Plate #48. More than ample margins frame strong color blending with lightly worn solid paper. Track & Price lists only 32 stars known. Very scarce and desirable.
Portrait of Thomas Hart Benton. A well centered note that exhibits plenty of strong orange and black inks along with a colorful red seal. The paper retains plenty of brightness. Quite eye appealing.