A deliberate change made to a coin or bill, by someone in an unofficial
capacity, in order to circulate the piece at an increased value.
Authentication: Establishing the authenticity of a coin
or piece of paper money. Coin dealers usually provide written assurance
that a coin or bill is genuine.
Bank Note: A paper certificate issued by a bank, promising
payment to the bearer. Payment was in the form of coinage.
Broken Bank Note: Paper currency issued by a private
bank that later went “broke,” making the currency worthless.
Bullion: Gold or silver in the form of bars, ingots, or plates
Bushwhacker: A term for Confederate guerillas who attacked settlements
Case: To inspect or study with the intent to rob. “They
cased the joint before the stickup.”
Cowpuncher: A hired hand who tends cattle and performs
other duties on horseback
A term referring to any and all money actually in circulation in a given
time and place. Officially, the term “currency” applies to
both coins and paper money, though it is commonly thought that the term
refers only to paper money.
A type of provisional money used in the United States in 1861 and 1862.
Dollar: The monetary unit of the United States. The word “dollar”
is derived from the word “thaler,” the name for a type of
large silver coin common in Middle Europe in the 1500s.
Encased postage stamp:
Emergency currency invented during the Civil War. Postage stamps were
“encased” in a protective holder, and traded like coins.
Federal Reserve Note: The only type of paper money now issued
in the United
States (except for legal tender notes still issued in one hundred dollar
denominations). Federal Reserve Notes were issued beginning in 1914.
Fourflusher: A person who tries to bluff other people
Fractional Currency: Paper currency (usually in denominations
less than one dollar) produced from 1862-1876. Fractional currency was
created as a consequence of the national economy during the Civil War.
Freebooter:Someone who is in a city that has been abandoned because
of war. The “freebooter” can now enter the home and steal
Freighter: A person who ships cargo
Gold Reserve Act: An Act of Congress that made it illegal
for any American to own gold coins, except those that were collectors
Gold Rush: A gold rush is a large, rapid movement of people to
an area where gold has been found.
Greenback: A general
term for United States paper money. The term originated with the “demand
note” of 1861. The reverse of these notes was printed in a dark
Gunslinger: A person who is armed with a gun
Highwayman: A man who holds up and robs travelers on a road.
Ingot: A piece of gold, silver, or other metal carrying information
about its weight, purity, and sometimes, its origin.
Large cent: A large,
one-cent copper coin circulated in the United States beginning in the
1780s and continuing until 1857.
Legal Tender Note: A type of paper money introduced in the United
States in 1862. Legal tender notes were considered “legal tender”
for all public and private debt.
Lynch: To execute without due process of law, especially to hang,
as by a mob.
Mint mark: An abbreviation, monogram, or symbol placed on a coin
to indicate the mint which manufactured the coin.
Mint: A place were coins, medals, or tokens are made. A place
where the coins of a country are manufactured by authority of the government.
Money: Anything which serves as a medium of exchange between
people or communities.
Morgan dollar: The best-known United States silver dollar.
Named after George T. Morgan, assistant engraver at the Philadelphia Mint,
who designed the coin.
Of or relating to currency. The study or collection of coins, tokens,
paper money, or medals.
Numismatist: A person who collects and studies all kinds of coins
Obverse: The side of a coin that bears the more important legends
Postage stamp money: Postage stamps that were temporarily used
in place of coins.
Private gold coin: Coins struck by private entities between 1830
Reverse: The opposite of the obverse. The "back" side
of the coin or bill.
Robbery: The act or an instance of unlawfully taking the property
of another by the use of violence.
Roustabout: A laborer employed for temporary or unskilled jobs
Sidewinder: A powerful swinging punch delivered from the side.
Slug: Round or octagonal fifty-dollar gold pieces issued in California
in the early and middle 1850s.
Small cent: The one
cent coin, reduced in size, that began circulation in 1857.
Specie: Money in coin
The dishonest practice of removing minute amounts of metal from a coin
to be melted down and re-sold, while returning the coin to circulation.
Teamster: A person who drives a team of horses
Theft: The act of stealing. Removing personal property with the
intent of depriving the rightful owner of it.
Time lock: Time locks were invented to make it impossible to
open a safe unless to time on the lock had expired