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    

U.s. 50c Fractional Currency (?)Hgr 1874 .10cent Fractional ""5th Issue"" Ch - Gem UncirculatedFr.1267 15 Cent Fourth Issue Fractional Currency- Choice Uncirculated-Hgr 1863 .10cent Fractional ((3rd Issue)) UncirculatedFr.1295 25 Cent 3rd Issue Fractional Choice About Uncirculated50 Cent Stanton Fractional Note 1869 -1875 Currency Old Paper Money Fr 1376Fr.1243 Spnmb 10 Cent First Issue Fractional -narrow Margin Specimen Gem Cu Back25 Cents Fractional Currency 18741863 Fractional 50 Cent Confederate Currency Note Civil War Paper Money T-63Fr.1243 Spnmf 10 Cent First Issue Fractional -narrow Margin Specimen Gem Cu FaceFr.1302 25 Cent Fourth Issue Fractional Currency- Choice Extremely Fine-Fr.1316 50 Cent Second Issue Fractional - Choice About Uncirculated-1869-1875 U.s. 4th Issue 50 Cent Fractional Currency Note - High Grade ConditionThird Issue 3 Cent Fractional Currency Fr-1226 Superb Gem,cga 67 OpqFourth Issue 25 Cent Fractional Currency Fr-1302 Choice Unc,cga 64 OpqFractional Currency Civil War Era Note To The 1870's One Old Note1874/75 5th Issue 25 Cents Fractional Currency1863 Us Gorgeous Au Alabama "twenty Five Cents" Fractional! Civil War Days!Fr.1283 25 Cent Second Issue Fractional - Choice Uncirculated-Fr.1242 10 Cent First Issue Fractional -straight Edges With Monogram Choice CuOld Us Currency First Issue 1862 25 Cent Fractional Currency Paper MoneyFractional Currency Civil War Era Note To The 1870's One Old NoteUs Currency 1874 10 Cent Fractional Note Very Good Old Third Issue 10 Cent Fractional Currency Fr-1255 Gem Unc,cga 66 Opq1875-1876 Crawford 5th Issue 50 Cent Fractional Currency Fr#1381 @ EUsa - 25 Cents - Fractional Currency - Forth Issue1862 Us Fractional South Carolina "fifty Cents"! Old Us Paper Money Currency!#056 ***vintage U.s Currency***fr#1226 Fractional Note 3 Cents Green Back1874 Us Fractional Currency "ten Cents"! Fine! Old Us Paper Money Currency!1863 3 Cents United States Fractional Currency No Reserve!! U.s.10 Cents Fractional Currency Note Fourth Issue Bust Of Liberty Type NoteFr.1255 10 Cent Third Issue Fractional Currency- Gem Uncirculated-Fr.1230 5 Cent First Issue Fractional -straight Edges With Monogram -choice Unc.Fractional Currency Civil War Era Note To The 1870's One Old Note1874 Us Fractional Currency! "twenty Five Cents"! Good! Old Us Paper Currency!Fr.1379"dexter"green Seal 50 Cent Fractional Postal Currency Super Hard Note!!!!50 Cent Green Seal Dexter Fractional Currency Note 1869-1875 Paper Money Fr 13791869-1875 U.s. 4th Issue 10 Cent Fractional Currency Note - High Grade ConditionFr.1245 10 Cent Second Issue Fractional -choice About Uncirculated-1775 $6 Note Philadelphia Usa - 50 Cents - Fractional Currency - Fifth Issue1863 10 Cents Fractional Currency- 10Series Of 1874 Twenty Five Cents 25Usa - 50 Cents - Fractional Currency - Third Issue - Low Grade1864-69 10Fractional Currency Civil War Era Note To The 1870's One Old NoteUs Currency 1874 10 Cent Us Fractional & 1876 Havana 10 Centavos Old Paper Money 25 Cent Fractional Currency Banknote2nd Issue 5Fractional Currency; 15 Cents Fourth Issue, Us Dollar; Us Note BackFractional Currency; 25 Cent Second Issue, Us Dollar; Us Note Red BackFr.1233 5 Cent Second Issue Fractional -choice About Uncirculated-1863 Confederate Fractional 50 Cents5 Genuine 5th Series 1874-76 10c Fractional Notes.3 Us Fractional Currency Notes1863 - 1875 Fractional Currency 3 Cent - 50 Cent 9 Note Nice Lot1874 Twenty Five Cents Dollar Fractional Currency Robt J Walker U.s.10 Cents Fractional Currency Note Fifth Issue Note Nice Type Note !Fr 1379 Fourth Issue 502nd Issue Fr.1246 10c United States Fractional Currency Note - Pcgs New 61