What were the first unlimited legal tender notes?
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As far as I can tell, the 1890 Treasury or "Coin" notes were the first notes issued with no limits on use. The obligation on the reverse reads, "This note is a legal tender at its face value in payment of all debts public and private except when otherwise expressly stipulated in the contract."

 

I noticed that Legal Tender issues from 1862 on have the following stipulation: "This note is Legal Tender at its face value for all debts public and private except duties on imports and interest on the public debt" (emphasis added).

 

So are the 1890 Treasury notes the first that could be used to pay import duties and taxes?

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I've found that silver certificates issued since 1886 say, "This certificate is receivable for customs, taxes, and all public dues and when so received may be reissued."

 

Does anyone know of any earlier notes that could have been used to pay customs and taxes?

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14th century Ming dynasty notes made from mulberry paper. They had no backing and were "legal tender". By royal decree they had to be accepted for all payments.

 

Um-- that's a bit further back than I was thinking about. What were the first US notes that didn't have restrictions against use to pay duties, taxes, etc.?

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