Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Grand Watermelon coin note

The Grand Watermelon. No relation to The Great Pumpkin.
(via Wikipedia)
In the 1890s, the United States Treasury Department issued treasury notes under the auspices of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act to individuals selling silver to the Treasury. Back in those days, one of the hot button issues was the use of gold and/or silver to back American currency. Some people favored gold, others silver. Some people even favored both, called bimetalism. The coin notes, as they were called featured the portraits of Union generals and an admiral from the American Civil War, such as George Henry Thomas, James McPherson, George Meade, Philip Sheridan, William Sherman, and U.S. Navy admiral David Farragut. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, Secretary of State William Seward, and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall.

The notes were issued from 1890 until 1893 when the Silver Purchase Act was repealed during the Grover Cleveland administration as a result of an economic panic that year that threatened to drain the government's gold reserves.

The thousand dollar note was called the "Grand Watermelon" because the zeroes on the reverse look like watermelons.