Silver certificate (United States)

Silver certificates are a type of representative money issued between 1878 and 1964 in the United States as part of its circulation of paper currency.[1] They were produced in response to silver agitation by citizens who were angered by the Fourth Coinage Act, which had effectively placed the United States on a gold standard.[2] The certificates were initially redeemable for their face value of silver dollar coins and later (for one year – June 24, 1967 to June 24, 1968) in raw silver bullion.[1] Since 1968 they have been redeemable only in Federal Reserve Notes and are thus obsolete, but still valid legal tender at their face value and thus are still an accepted form of currency.[1]

The $1 silver certificate from the Hawaii overprint series.
$5 Series 1899 silver certificate depicting Running Antelope of the Húŋkpapȟa.

Large-size silver certificates (1878 to 1923)[nb 1] were issued initially in denominations from $10 to $1,000 (in 1878 and 1880)[4][5] and in 1886 the $1, $2, and $5 were authorized.[5][6] In 1928, all United States bank notes were re-designed and the size reduced.[7] The small-size silver certificate (1928–1964) was only regularly issued in denominations of $1, $5, and $10.[8] The complete type set below is part of the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.


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