Legal Tender Notes

First issued during the Civil War in 1862, Legal Tender Notes, backed by the credit of the U.S. government, were initially used to fund the Union effort in the Civil War. Until 1878, these notes circulated at a discount relative to their face value, in comparison with gold and silver coin. After 1878, they circulated at parity with coinage. Large-size issues were produced in great quantity up through the late 1920’s; small-size notes were introduced with the Series of 1928. Popular notes include the Series of 1869 “rainbow” series, the “woodchopper” $5 notes issued from Series 1869 – 1907, and the Series 1901 $10 “bison” note.