Distinctive Fr. 190b $10 Compound Interest Treasury Note
Fr. 190b $10 Act of June 30, 1864 Three-Year 6% Compound
Interest Treasury Note. Hessler X140A. PMG Choice Fine 15.
"Middle-of-the-Book" Friedberg-listed notes are some of the most fascinating, rarest, and well engraved Federal issues. Like the War of 1812 Treasury Notes, they were interest bearing instruments and are also listed in Gene Hessler's reference, An Illustrated History of U. S. Loans 1775-1898 (BNR Press, 1988). The Coltrane Collection contains several rarities from this distinguished Federal note series.
Compound Interest Treasury Notes and other Civil War-period interest bearing notes were "Legal Tender," as engraved on the notes, and circulated as needed. Slightly larger in size, they were similarly styled to contemporary Demand and Legal Tender Notes also in circulation. Compound Interest Treasury Notes are listed before the Interest Bearing Notes in Friedberg although they were issued after most of those. That sequence explains the TREASURY DEPARTMENT imprint on the face of the notes and the utilization of previously contracted vignette dies and elements created by the New York security engraving and printing firms. This series was sometimes used to redeem shorter-term prior issues. Compound Interest Treasury Notes were authorized by the Act of June 30, 1864 (with their funding included in the Act of March 3, 1863); they paid 6% interest "Compounded semi-annually" as engraved on the face from its stamped red date (date of issue); and interest accrued for a maximum of three years. Because of the interest rate term, the majority were redeemed by 1868 (when the last notes issued were due). The survival of all Compound Interest Treasury Notes, especially high denominations, is understandably limited.
The artistic design was printed at the Treasury Department, but with some vignettes and dies originally engraved at the American Bank Note Company (both vignettes were also used on the Fr. 196 Interest Bearing Note faces). Intricate bordering displays miniature denomination dies and the "Legal Tender" clause along the top right. At the center is Eagle of the Capital engraved by James Bannister; at the left is Samuel P. Chase engraved by Charles Burt; and at the right end is the allegory of Peace. The Gothic UNITED STATES undulates at upper left, the act date is above the eagle, and the obligation is across the center. In red at the upper right are the treasury department seal, serial number, and stamped (issue) date. The bronzed COMPOUND INTEREST / TREASURY NOTE / 10 overprinting is across the center. Engraved Colby and Spinner signatures are at the bottom. On the ornate "Persian Rug" styled green back are outlined "10" dies flanking a cartouche with the interest payable table for the denomination. The maximum payable at three years is listed as "$11.94."
Slightly over 100 notes are known, but very few are high-grade examples. The majority were hard used in commerce and are now often seen repaired. This plate position C example with the red stamped Dec. 15, 1864, date retains excellent color and paper body for the assigned grade. PMG notes this as "Repaired," with the work done long ago. There are several small stamp hinges along the top back edge reinforcing nicked and fragile paper, and the upper right corner is chipped off. Mike acquired this privately in 1985, but we are uncertain of its prior pedigree; however, it has made no auction appearances during the past few decades. An affordable representative of this interesting Civil War note series.
From The Mike Coltrane Collection.
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