During the Civil War, the high demand for precious metals such as gold, silver, and copper resulted in a shortage of coins. Those that were minted were routinely horded by a nervous public. In response, in 1863, the U.S. government issued Fractional Currency in 3, 5, 10, 15, 25, and 50-cent denominations.

Fractional Currency, which was printed in four issues and circulated until 1876, is widely available and popular with beginning numismatists. One of the most sought-after prizes is the 5-cent note bearing a portrait of Spencer M. Clark, who was President Lincoln’s superintendent of the National Currency Bureau. Clark, who by most accounts was not an especially popular figure, managed to put his own bearded face on the 5-cent notes produced from 1863 to 1867. This act of egotism prompted Congress to pass a law banning images of living persons on currency.

But for the most part, Fractional Currency was a success, thanks in no small part to the leadership of Francis E. Spinner, Treasurer of the United States. The denominations were his idea, but he didn’t stop there. Instead, Spinner used the need to print small notes as opportunities to experiment with different types of papers, inks, and anti-counterfeiting measures.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

American Currency Exhibit

American Currency Exhibit

This collection, from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, covers currency from 1690 through half a dozen era… [read review or visit site]

Bank Note Bank

Bank Note Bank

This world banknote and currency image-sharing database is notable for its breadth of contributors and content (abo… [read review or visit site]

Two Cent Revenue Stamped Paper

Two Cent Revenue Stamped Paper

Everything you'd ever want to know about revenue stamped paper (first authorized in 1862). This site features infor… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Fractional Currency Civil War Era Item Pcgs Graded Choice New 63 Ppq5 Fractional Currency Notes First Third Issue 3c 5 10c 25c 50c Postage FiftycentFractional Currency Lot /m10Five Cents Fractional Currency - See ImagesFractional Currency Civil War Era Item To 1870's One Old Note Circulated Fractional Currency Civil War Era Item To 1870's One Old Note Lower GradeFractional Currency Civil War Era Item Pcgs Graded Vf 3515 Cents 4th Issue U.s. Fractional Currency Crisp NoteFractional Currency Civil War Era Item To 1870's One Old Note Lower GradeFractional Currency Lot /m1125 Cent Fractional Currency- 1st - Fr#1281Fractional Currency Civil War Era Item To 1870's Four Notes Low Grade Fractional Currency Civil War Era Item To 1870's One Old Note Lower GradeU.s. 1914 $100 Large Size Red Seal Note Fr#1078b 7-g Chicago 50 Cent Fractional 4th Issue Lincoln Fr-1374 Pmg Very Fine 3010 Cents Fractional Currency - Some Crispness Here 1875 United States Fifty Cents Fractional Currency William Crawford Fifth Issue Fractional Currency Civil War Era Item To 1870's One Old Note Lower Grade 10 Cent Fractional Currency- 1st - Fr#1242Fractional Currency Civil War Era Item To 1870's One Old Note Lower GradeUsa / Fractional Currency - 10 Cent, Fifth Issue. Pmg 63.Set Of 3 U.s. Civil War Era Fractional Notes : One 5 Cents + Two 10 Cents Notes10 Cents 4th Issue U.s. Fractional Currency Crisp Note Lot Of 4Fractional Currency Civil War Era Item To 1870's One Old Note G-vgTt 1860s 50 Cent Fractional Currency Counterfeit Washington Pcgs Authenticated1863 3 Three Cent Fractional Xf Clear Embossing Very Nice!!!. Fractional Currency Fr 1379 50 Cent # 1 Printed In Margin1869 Us Fractional Currency "lady Liberty" Choice Fine! Nice! Currency!25 Cent "redback"(keynote) "redback" (super Rare) (fr-1292) "redback" (keynote)!Fractional Currency Civil War Era Item To 1870's One Old Note Lower GradeFractional Currency Civil War Era Item To 1870's One Old Note Circulated Fractional Currency Civil War Era Item To 1870's One Old Note Lower GradeFractional Currency Civil War Era Item To 1870's One Old Note Lower Grade10 Cent Fractional Currency 5th Issue Long Key Crisp Notes Lot Of 5Fractional Currency Civil War Era Item To 1870's One Old Note Vf X (ten) Cents Fractional Currency As ShownFractional Currency Civil War Era Item To 1870's One Old Note Lower GradeFractional Currency Civil War Era Item To 1870's Group Of Four Notes Lower GradeFractional Currency Civil War Era Item To 1870's Low Grade Fractional Currency Civil War Era Item To 1870's One Old Note Lower Grade1862 5 Cent Postage Currency Note Five Cents Fractional Currency No Reserve1874 Us Fractional Currency "twenty Five Cents" Old Us Paper Money Currency!* 1863 Fractional Currency 10 Cents50 Cent Fractional Currency - 1863 - Red Reverse - Colby And Spinner1862-63 25 Cent Fractional Currency Fr-1281 Rare! Good Condition!15 Cent Civil War Era Postal Currency Nice ConditionFractional Currency Civil War Era Item To 1870's One Old Note Vf United States Fractional Currency 10 Cents Red Seal Long KeySeries1874 Fractional Currency 25 Cent NoteFractional Currency Civil War Era Item To 1870's One Old Note Lower GradeFractional Currency Civil War Era Item To 1870's One Old Note Circulated Fractional Currency Civil War Era Item To 1870's One Old Note Lower GradeLot Of 4 Fractional Currency - 1st Issue - 10 Cent, 25 Cent, 50 Cent X 2Fractional Currency Civil War Era Item To 1870's One Note Low Grade 1863 Civil War Era, Fractional Grouing1875 United States Fifty Cents Fractional Currency William Crawford Fifth Issue 1874 United States Twenty Five Cent Red Seal Long Key Fractional CurrencyFractional Currency Civil War Era Item To 1870's One Old Note Vf HoleFractional Currency Civil War Era Item To 1870's One Old Note Lower GradeFr 1226 Third Issue 3 Cent Fractional Currency Light Background Pcgs