U.S. Legal Tender Notes are the longest-lived of the country’s currency. They are also among the country’s first national currency. Authorized by the Legal Tender Act of 1862, U.S. Legal Tender notes began circulating during the American Civil War. Early in the war, these notes were not highly regarded as the Union suffered major defeats and many people wanted hard currency. As the war progressed and Union victories ensued, these notes became more widely accepted. These notes were released in denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000.