The Exchange : The History Behind Postage Currency

The History Behind Postage Currency

With the holiday season in full swing, many of us will take a trip to the post office or use some other form of mail delivery service.  When I hear the word mail, the first thought that comes to my mind is a stamp.  That is why for this week's blog I chose to take a closer look at the Money Museum's postage currency display. 


As the Civil War began, many people started to stockpile their money, causing a serious shortage of coin currency. To replace the shortage of coins, people began to use postage stamps as currency. John Gault came up with the idea to "encase" the stamps in order to provide extra protection for them. 


Even with this case around the stamps, the stamps could be taken out and used as normal postage. US Treasurer Francis E. Spinner recognized that people were using postage stamps for currency; he recommended to Congress that a new paper money series should be produced.  


In August of 1862, fractional currency, otherwise known as postage currency, was developed. The design for the postage currency was based off the design of 5-cent and 10-cent stamps. This form of money was printed in 5-cent, 10-cent, 25-cent and 50-cent denominations. Postage currency was short-lived: It existed from August 1862 until May 1863 and was replaced by fractional currency. Fractional currency, which was used until 1876, was not only a different design and size, making them easier to distinguish, but it was also difficult to counterfeit. 

  Postage -currency -fractional -note

                                                                (Postage Currency)

This holiday season, if you use mail, take a moment to think about the stamp and its history during the Civil War era.  If you want to take a real life glimpse at postal currency, schedule a trip to the Money Museum and escape the busy holiday season for a few hours. Encased -postage -stamp

                                                                (Encased Postage) 

Written by Brandon Ortega at 00:00


5290 said...
December 12, 2012 12:16


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