Collecting U.S. Postal Notes

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1885 Type II U.S. Postal Note from Springfield, MA Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

Collecting U.S. Postal Notes home page

U.S. Postal Notes were specialized money order successors to U.S. Fractional currency. They were created in 1883 so people could safely and inexpensively (for a three-cent fee) send sums of money under $5 to distant places. Between 1883 and 1894, some 70.8 million Postal Notes in six Types were issued, used as intended, and then (mostly) destroyed.

U.S. Postal Notes Overview and Types

This link combines the four-part 1973-1974 Paper Money Journal series of articles by Nicholas Bruyer on The U.S. Postal Note into one pdf file.
This Wikipedia article provides a short historical summary of U.S. Postal Notes, as well as brief descriptions of the six types of Postal Notes that were issued between1883 and 1894.

Other U.S. Postal Note Topics

This is a link to a post on the Paper Money Forum with a brief overview of Postal Notes and requesting scans of Postal Notes to be added to a long-running census that currently includes almost 2200 Postal Notes. It also includes a detailed Type Identification guide with examples of each Type of Postal Note.
This 2006 Paper Money Journal article by Loren Gatch summarizes the rise and fall of Postal Notes, and then documents later attempts to reintroduce some sort of fractional currency to meet the continued need for a cheap and convenient method for sending money by mail.

Ways to Collect U.S. Postal Notes

  • By Location: Many collectors collect Postal Notes from their Home Town, County or State.

SPMC Paper Money Articles Index (Postal Notes)

This Index page has links to all articles on U.S. Postal Notes that have appeared in the Paper Money Journal since the first issue in 1962.

Research Resources

Standard References on U.S. Postal Notes

  • Paper Money of the United States. A complete illustrated guide with valuations (22nd Edition-2021) by Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg
This standard reference guide on all types of U.S. paper money has a short section on Postal Notes.



An active forum for all paper money collectors and all paper money collecting topics.
This is a link to the Heritage Currency Auction Archives for Postal Notes.


  • The SPMC Paper Money Journal is published bi-monthly and covers all facets of collecting paper money. Online and print options available for membership.