The first Silver Certificates were printed in 1878 in response to Western silver-mining interests, who were unhappy about the U.S. gold standard. They wanted silver coins, but they got the next best thing—bills redeemable in silver stored in government vaults.

The late 19th-century Silver Certificates are some of the most beautiful bank notes ever produced by the U.S. government. The so-called educational notes are particularly handsome. They include a $1 bill from 1896 with "History Instructing Youth" on the front and portraits of Martha and George Washington on the back, as well as a $2 bill from the same year with "Science Presenting Steam and Electricity to Science and Industry" on the front and portraits of inventors Robert Fulton and Samuel Morse on the back.

In 1899 the popular "Chief Onepapa" $5 was produced followed by a hiatus until 1923, when a $5 Lincoln was issued. In 1928, Silver Certificates shrunk in size a bit like all U.S. currency, and Silver Certificates were printed until 1935. In the 1940s and 1950s, most bills were taken out of circulation and shredded. The bill was briefly revived in 1957, but by 1964 the redemption of Silver Certificates for actual silver had ended.


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Recent News: US Silver Certificates

Source: Google News

Structural systems National finalist: Gold award Hart Crowser
Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce (subscription), January 25th

The requirement of a LEED silver certificate was surpassed by the design, and the building achieved LEED platinum certification. Hart Crowser recommended the use of geothermal heating and cooling. This was one of the first projects in downtown Seattle...Read more

Police Log
Warwick Beacon, January 22nd

The owner told the officer the wallet contained personal information, cards, personal checks, a driver's license and a Social Security card. He also said there was a $50 bill, a $10 silver certificate and a $1 silver certificate. The owner told...Read more

McPherson High School changes graduation requirements
KWCH, January 19th

McPherson requires all students to pass at least with the silver certificate. "We thought, why go for bronze, we would prefer gold, but obviously silver qualifies our kids for at least 2/3 of the jobs out there." The school says 98% of the students...Read more

Borough Featured in Cross County Magazine
Cape May County Herald (press release), January 18th

The borough received a Silver certificate award for its Safe Routes Program. Pikolycky added, “Cross County Connection provides Woodbine with the knowledge and expertise to position itself to obtain the necessary funding to make these health and safety ...Read more

Woodbine Featured in Cross County Connection Magazine
Cape May County Herald (press release), January 16th

In the Spring 2014 issue, “EASYrider” reported that Woodbine received a Silver certificate award for its Safe Routes Program. “Cross County Connection provides Woodbine with the knowledge and expertise to position itself to obtain the necessary funding...Read more

Blotter: Man refuses to obey order to stay out of tavern
Chicago Tribune, January 6th

Jewelry valued at $2,700, collectible currency including 99 silver dollars from the 1800s, a collection of silver dimes and quarters with a face value of $200, 30 $2 bills and a silver certificate valued at $50, as well as $35 in loose change, were...Read more

Red Kettle campaign draws in at least $17100
La Crosse Tribune, December 30th

An origami dollar also was discovered in the kettle at Walmart, and other items, like a 1957 dollar that was a silver certificate also were donated, Willette said. “There are some special things,” she said. “There are (many) examples of just how kind...Read more

Paper Money Profile: $10 Silver Certificate Tombstone Notes of 1886-1908
CoinWeek, November 18th

Many types of United States currency are known by popular nicknames such as Chiefs, Bisons, Black Eagles and Battleships. This article features the most morbidly nicknamed note in American currency — the $10 Silver Certificate “Tombstone” notes of ...Read more