[C.1880 Uncle Sam Satirical “Greenback” Political Bank Note].

Vignettes depict Uncle Sam cranking out money and a fox guarding a flock of geese


Political memorabilia satirizing the “Greenback” Party likely issued during the U.S. Presidential election of 1880.

The small, printed leaf imitates the shape and design of an actual $1000 bank or mortgage note. The parody “note,” however, satirizes the Greenback Party’s opposition to a return to gold-backed U.S. government currency.

Though ostensibly (and derisively) datelined “Swindleville Avenue, Washington City, July 24, 1880,” the banknote also refers to Civil War Major General Benjamin F. Butler (1818–1893) who was the Greenback Party’s U.S. presidential nominee in 1884.

Also parodied here are Francis W. Hughes and Philadelphia labor leader Uriah S. Stephens (1821–1882), founder of the labor union, the Knights of Labor. Hughes is possibly Francis Wade Hughes (1817–1885), former Democrat attorney general of Pennsylvania and chief prosecutor of the “Molly Maguires.” Some excerpts from the “note:”

“Civilization demands Paper Currency representing artificial value”—Francis W. Hughes. This is just the thing—represents no value whatever.
This is “Honest Money,” and will make everybody honest, as no one will counterfeit it, rob or kill for it. [in Greek:] adelphon kryptos [secret brotherhood]—Uriah. S. Stephens
“The people want cheap money and planty of it[.]” This is cheap as dirt, and plenty as the lice and locusts of Egypt.
Redeemable nowhere, in nothing, and by nobody.
“Eternal damnation to any man who refuses to take this bill at par for all debts.”

Parody banknote vignettes include Uncle Sam jamming rags into a standing mill while cranking a handle that causes the machine to grind out a long roll of $1000 notes. Opposite, under a banner reading “Absolute Money” and surmounted by a skull and cross-bones, a fox greedily eyes a flock of wary geese. The caption reads: “No Danger.”


Description: [C.1880 Uncle Sam Satirical “Greenback” Political Bank Note].

Np, c.1880. [2]pp. Satirical Bank Note. 3¼ x 8¼ inches. Printed in green ink. Vignette illustrations. Two small losses at top, not affecting text; toning along top edge of verso; good.

[3725620]

Price: $75.00