Scott 785 Grand Army of the Potomac Unofficial Second Day Cancel - Civil War Patriotic Cover by Samuel C. Upham - General George McClellan and Staff
At the start of the Civil War Upham began marketing patriotic items to support the Union, and novelty items mocking the Confederacy, such as cards depicting the head of Jefferson Davis on the body of a jackass. In February 1862, he acquired a sample of Confederate money and quickly started producing his own counterfeits. His first printing consisted of 3,000 five-dollar notes, each stamped at the bottom with the words, "Fac-simile Confederate Note - Sold wholesale and retail by S.C. Upham 403 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia." He sold his first batch for a penny per copy. Cotton smugglers in the south quickly began buying Upham's novelty notes, trimming off the notice at the bottom and flooding the Confederate economy with the bogus bills.
Before long Upham was advertising what he called "mementos of the Rebellion" in the New York Tribune, Harper's Weekly, and other papers. He also advertised himself willing to buy genuine Confederate notes and stamps, as samples he could later duplicate. By late 1862 Upham was selling twenty-eight variations of Confederate bill denominations and postage stamps, with currency notes selling for five cents apiece. At some point Upham also switched from letter stock to high-quality banknote paper for his forgeries.