10 Cents, Encased Postage Stamp, United States, 1862


The encased postage stamp was used as a form of currency during the war. The idea stemmed from the fact that stamps had an inherent value, but if they were passed around without any sort of protection they became soiled and worthless, not to mention the adhesive backing caused problems after multiple transactions. John Gault solved this problem by using a brass disk and cardboard piece that served as a backing while a disk of clear mica lay on top of the stamp. A brass frame secured the components together, thus, allowing the stamp to be viewed and protected. This encased postage stamp depicts George Washington and is worth ten-cents. The back bore the encasement patent date, “AUG 12, 1862,” and “J. GAULT.”

Date Made: 1862

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States

See more items in: Work and Industry: National Numismatic Collection, Civil War, Coins, Currency and Medals


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2001.0009.0696Accession Number: 2001.0009Catalog Number: 2001.0009.0696

Object Name: token

Physical Description: metal, mica (case material)paper (overall material)Measurements: overall: .15 cm x 2.45 cm; 1/16 in x 31/32 in

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746ad-58d8-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1403319

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.