Images of cats from the British Museum collection, £9.99
Length: 191.000 mm
Width: 81.000 mm
Chartered Institute of Bankers Collection
CM CIB 16709
Coins and Medals
United States of America, AD 1862
The birth of the American 'greenback'
In the mid-nineteenth century, individual banks in the American states issued many different banknotes. This continued during the Civil War of 1861-65, but new paper money issued by the treasuries of the United States in New York and the Confederate States in Richmond, Virginia reflected the political conflict.
In the North, the first public paper money issued under the Constitution of the United States was authorized in July 1861, to finance war with the Confederacy. The back of the notes was printed in green, giving rise to the nickname 'greenbacks' for American bills. The note shown here is an example of the second issue of 1862. On the front is a portrait of Salmon P. Chase, Secretary to the Treasury (1861-64).
R. Friedberg (ed.), Paper money of the United Stat, 12th edition (Coin and Currency Institute, Inc., 1989)
J. Williams (ed.), Money: a history (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)