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Saturday, February 7, 2009

There's no money, like old money, like no money I know

Everything about it is appealing. I have found some cool old paper over the years, but Currency or "official" documents are by far the most interesting. I wonder, "Who used this money?" "How many hands did this pass through?" and "How did it end up here?"
These bills were found at an estate sale in December 2008. How did I find them, when most estate sales have been descended upon by more hardy diggers than I? Well, to find that out you will have to sign on as a "follower" of this blog.

Are they authentic? I am not sure, but I have found the reproduction currency sets that sell at museums. Those could fool anybody, but the difference is the quality of the paper and the ink. The suspicious aspect with these are the randomness of the samples. It was as though they were one of these repro "sets". The only thing that I can find in my research to confirm their authenticity is the color of the ink used to sign the notes:brown. Had they been signed in black they would have been fake. They are all very thin and worn especially the Mechanics S&L note. More questions need to be answered. Look at the reverse side of this same note:What do the "TWO" and "Three" indicate? They seem to be partial light prints of other notes running perpendicular to the original. There is definitely more to learn.

The final note in this group is something I have found before Fractional Currency paper coins. My best explanation is that these were issue by the Post Office in the post Civil War era in a time when precious metals for coins were scarce. These could be found in small denominations.


  1. I collected old paper money a long time ago. All of those are unquestionably real in my admittedly amateur opinion. Fakes will tend to be printed on a really gaudy, fake parchment that looks coffee-stained. The brown ink in the signatures is another good sign. The ink used in the steel dip pens that people signed these with by hand was originally blue-black iron gall ink but the iron compounds basically turn into rust over the years and thus the color changes.

    Also note the blue ink stamped serial number on the Bank of New England note.

    Many privately-issued U.S. currencies of this period didn't even have a design on the back. Perhaps they used scraps from other printings on that 25-cent note with the conflicting numerals on the back, in an attempt to avoid wasting expensive currency paper. That is a very crude and cheaply designed note. It is typical of the Civil War period where even copper cents were being hoarded by people and there just weren't any coins going around.

    Also, fakes will tend not to have any honest circulation wear. Unless they are fakes made at the same time as the real thing that people were actually using as real money. In such a case they are probably worth more than the real thing.

  2. The U.S. "Fractional Currency" was actually printed by our Federal government itself (not the Post Office) for use as money during the Civil War. Coins were being hoarded by everyone. Someone had to fill the gap. Technically, you could still buy a candy bar today in 2012 with several of those. They remain Legal Tender.

    Your particular 25-cent note is among the most common issues. They are usually found heavily worn. Probably because people treated them like change except they were made out of paper.

    I have the same 25-cent note as you, in about the same shape.

    That's Robert J. Walker on the front. I think.



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