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Fractional Currency Price Guide

Picture of Abraham Lincoln Fractional Currency 50 cent piece

United States Fractional Currency

Fractional currency, also known as postage currency or shinplasters, was issued at the beginning of the Civil War by the United States federal government. The idea was due to the extreme lack of precious metals at the time, these low denomination paper money bills would replace them. However, they didn’t do as well as the government intended them to do so.

You have to remember this was during a panic, and people weren’t as trusting of a piece of paper as they were their precious metals. There was a shortage of U.S. coinage, people were hoarding away their gold and silver coins for an emergency. The first fractional currency bill was issued on August 21, 1862 and the last bill issued was February 15, 1876.

Fractional currency is unique in the sense they’re the lowest denomination bills ever issued by the U.S. government, and also they don’t have any serial numbers. On top of that, they’re very small in comparison to today’s money… a fraction of the size! Some of these notes in great condition can be worth a lot of money. Continue reading our fractional currency guide to learn more. And remember, we are always buying these fractional currency bills, so contact us today.

What is Fractional Currency?

Fractional Currency is U.S. Paper Money that has a face value smaller than $1. After the Civil War, people did not believe in the U.S. Dollar, making Fractional Currency worthless and precious metals popular. Fractional Currency has the nickname of Shinplasters because of its sharp decline in value in the late 1800s.

Is Fractional Currency Rare?

When determining the value of Fractional currency, there are a few things we take into consideration. One must understand that since the denominations were so low, literally cents on the dollar, some issues of fractional currency were heavily printed, making them pretty common today.

The first factor which impacts the value of fractional currency is supply and demand. Simply put, there are some fractional bills that are difficult to come by because there weren’t many printed, and a lot of people want these bills. On the other side of the coin, there were also fractional currency bills that were printed in the hundreds of thousands and are extremely common today, making them less valuable.

The next thing that determines the rarity of a fractional bill is the condition. Like most collectibles, condition plays a big role when figuring out how much an old paper money bill is worth. We’ve paid $10 for a fractional bill in poor condition, and over $200 for the same bill in pristine condition. That just shows that condition is king like it is with most collectibles when it comes to the value of fractional bills.

The final factor to consider when trying to find the value of a fractional bill in the market. The market is always changing in the world of paper money, just like the stock market. In 2007/2008 the paper money market took a huge hit, and a lot of specific areas of paper money never fully recovered. Unfortunately, the fractional market is one of those. However, we still pay to the day hundreds of dollars for some really rare fractional bills. It all depends on the factors listed above.

If you have a single bill or a whole collection of fractional currency, we’re very interested buyers. Contact us today as I’m sure you’ll be surprised by how much we offer.

First Fractional Currency Issuing Period

(August 21st, 1862 – May 27th, 1863)

First Issue Five Cents Fractional Currency Front

Thomas Jefferson 5 Cents Fractional

First Issue Fifty Cents Fractional Currency Front

 George Washington 50 Cents Fractional

First Issue Ten Cents Fractional Currency Front

George Washington 10 Cents Fractional

First Issue Twenty Five Cents Fractional Currency Front

Thomas Jefferson 25 Cents Fractional

Second Fractional Currency Issuing Period

(October 10th, 1863 – February 23rd, 1867)

Second Issue Five Cent Fractional Currency Front

George Washington 5 Cents Fractional

Second Issue Fifty Cent Fractional Currency Front

 George Washington 50 Cents Fractional

Second Issue Ten Cent Fractional Currency Front

George Washington 10 Cents Fractional

Second Issue Twenty Five Cent Fractional Currency Front

George Washington 25 Cents Fractional

Third Fractional Currency Issuing Period

(December 5th, 1864 – August 16th, 1869)

Third Issue Three Cents Fractional Currency Front

George Washington 3 Cents Fractional

Third Issue Twenty Five Cents Fractional Currency Front

William Fessenden 25 Cents Fractional

Third Issue Five Cents Fractional Currency Front

Spencer Clark 5 Cents Fractional

Third Issue Fifty Cents Fractional Currency Front

Francis Spinner 50 Cents Spinner

Third Issue Ten Cents Fractional Currency Front

George Washington 10 Cents Fractional

Third Issue Fifty Cents Fractional Currency Front1

Justice holding scales 50 Cents Fractional

Fourth Fractional Currency Issuing Period

(December 5th, 1864 – August 16th, 1869)

Fourth Issue Ten Cents Fractional Currency Front

Bust of Liberty 10 Cents Fractional

Fourth Issue Fifty Cents Fractional Currency Front fr. 1374

Abraham Lincoln 50 Cents Fractional

Fourth Issue Fifteen Cents Fractional Currency Front

Bust of Columbia 15 Cents Fractional

Fourth Issue Fifty Cents Fractional Currency Front fr. 1376

Edwin Stanton 50 Cents Fractional

Fourth Issue Twenty Five Cents Fractional Currency Front

George Washington 25 Cents Fractional

Fourth Issue Fifty Cents Fractional Currency Front fr. 1379

Samuel Dexter 50 Cents Fractional

Fifth Fractional Currency Issuing Period

(February 26th, 1874 – February 15th, 1876)

Fifth Issue Green Ten Cents Fractional Currency Front

William Meredith Green Seal 10 Cents Fractional

Fifth Issue Fifty Cents Fractional Currency Front

William Crawford 50 Cents Fractional

Fifth Issue Red Ten Cents Fractional Currency Front

William Meredith Red Seal 10 Cents Fractional

Fifth Issue Twenty Five Cents Fractional Currency Front

Robert Walker 25 Cents Fractional

I don’t see my fractional listed here, what do I have?

There’s a chance you have something pretty rare if it looks similar, but not identical to what I have listed above. You could have a specimen, shield, encased postage currency, or something else! If you have any hesitation or questions, definitely contact us today as we’d be happy to help with your fractional currency questions.

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