James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
change in the course of small transactions proved a laborious business because of the intrusion of a common denomination of 3 cents (the stamp most frequently employed and the one of which there was the greatest supply) into the convenient decimal system. The counting out of 2, 3, 5 and 10 cent stamps became intolerable when large quantities of change were required, so that in places where various sorts of tickets were sold, the stamps were put up in small envelopes marked in large figures, 10, 25 and 50 cents, as the case might be. This mitigated the nuisance only in part as cautious persons would insist on opening the envelopes and counting the stamps in order to see whether the contents tallied with the figure outside. The stamps became dirty and mutilated; losing their adhesive power they were unfit for postage. They had proved a poor substitute for shinplasters. But relief from both evils was afforded almost simultaneously by the Treasury Department and by various municipalities.
From the language of Chases recommendation for the use of postage and other stamps as currency and from the provisions of the statute, it would be impossible to divine the relief which was eventually forthcoming. The Secretary, in accordance with the Act of July 17, 1862, had made an arrangement with the Postmaster-General for a supply of postage stamps, but it being soon discovered that stamps prepared for postage uses were not adapted to the purposes of currency, he proceeded to construe the law liberally and issue a postage currency. This was in the form of small notes of which the 25 and 50 cent denominations were about a quarter the size of a dollar bill, the 5 and 10 cent somewhat smaller. On the 5 cent note was a facsimile of the 5 cent postage stamp, the vignette being Jeffersons head; for the 25 cent note this vignette appeared five times.