Life in the Old West

True stories, tall tales, memorabilia of the American West

(Life in the Old West Articles, Categories:For your convenience, all the articles and special features on our site can be found by clicking on the “Categories” listed in the right-hand sidebar on each page, from the Site Map, and on the sidebar “Recent Articles” and “Featured Articles” listings.)

Civil War currency from both sides was distrusted in the Old West


Civil War Currency, all Civil War currency not just Confederate currency, was treated with suspicion in the West from the time of the War right through the post-War era. Why? Probably because so many banks, Eastern and Western, went more than a little crazy with issuance of paper money, regardless of what federal Treasury and monetary policy was. So the Civil War in the West, even when there were no military battles going on, reflected the North-South divisions of the country — and went one better by distrusting all currency and favoring metal coins of gold or silver.

According to Foster-Harris in that wonderful book I’ve referenced here before — “The Look of the Old West” — “you’d better carry metal if you craved to buy anything” in the post-Civil War West. In the same source, Foster-Harris said there was little use in the West for currency or coin valued less than a quarter, known starting in 1871 up to the present as “two bits.”

There’s a world of information regarding U.S. money, currency, and monetary policy regarding federal money, various state currencies, and many varieties of money and barter systems in U.S. history. Do some research on this vastly amazing and entertaining subject of the Old West!