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Diverse Fractional Currency Offering to be Presented in November Baltimore Event

The upcoming Stack’s Bowers official currency auction of the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Baltimore Expo in November will feature an important Fractional Currency offering. These miniature currency notes have been highly regarded by numismatists since their first public release just over 150 years ago. Collecting a general type set of all denominations from the five issues is quite simple in Extremely Fine grades, but becomes quite difficult in Uncirculated. This offering will present a wide array of varieties from the First Issue to the Fifth Issue, with many pieces also being the finest graded examples according to third party population reports. The notes mostly come from two private collections, which have not been available for decades. The originality and high quality of the notes is absolutely striking. The Third Issue notes in particular are spectacular with vivid bronzing and deeply embossed inks of the primary design.

Fractional Currency was ultimately the best suited replacement for their metallic counterparts from 1862 to 1876. A few other ideas were tried; Postage Stamp Envelopes and Encased Postage Stamps, while slightly successful, both had little public acceptance when compared to Fractional Currency. All three circulating media were created as the introduction to paper money in 1861 caused severe hoarding of gold and silver coins with copper following shortly after. The First Issue notes where placed into circulation between 1862 and 1863, with a Second Issue then circulating from 1863 to 1867.

Counterfeiting became a problem noticed by Treasury officials shortly after the introduction of the Second Series. A Third Issue was then called for and would become the most complex and largest issue in terms of collecting. The first of the Third Issue notes to enter circulation occurred during 1864 and consisted of Three Cent to 50 Cent notes, all with green backs. Later releases of red backed notes were then placed into commerce creating further variety for the series. The Fourth Issue implemented a 15 Cent note showing the bust of Columbia, which was not widely used by the public and ultimately production of the denomination was stopped. The popular “Lincoln Face,” Fifty Cent note was produced within this issue and is quite scarce in Gem preservation. These Fourth Issue notes were produced from 1869 to the beginning of 1875 with the last Fifth Issue pieces being produced for only two years during 1874 to 1876. Overall the variety and possible ways to collect these notes is vast and we hope the varied selection to be offered in November will help collectors further their holdings.

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