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Fifth Issue: 02/26/187402/15/1876
This issue was short, being comprised of three denominations of 10, 25, and 50 cents, each with a different design. The economy was by then, though not robust, busy pushing West, finding new veins of gold and silver, thus pocket change was once again finding its way back where it belonged, into people's pockets. Though narrow in scope, the portraits of issue five are distinguished in two ways: one, the 10-cent bill featuring the bust of William Meredith, who served under President Zachary Taylor, is probably the most disgruntled of poses ever struck for a currency engraving. The described attitude and countenance presented by the unfortunate treasurer run the gamut of unpleasantness from sour to . . . more sour, and two: the likeness of William H. Crawford, who served ably from 1815 through 1825 under first President James Madison, then James Monroe bears such an uncanny resemblance to the late American comic icon Bob Hope that he has lost most of his own identity altogether and the 50-cent fractional is known most generally as the Bob Hope bill. This final issue marked the end of a marvelously successful workaround in the history of American currency, one that showcased both the ingenuity and the artistry of a young nation determined not only to survive, but to excel at drawing on its very diversity to fashion a unique American identity. Fractional currency epitomizes that effort, and that success.