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

Paper money errors can make a collector's day
Coin World, September 18th

Looking at this Series 1935E $1 silver certificate missing a portion of the third printing it's easy to see there is a problem. The face of the note is scribbled with a blue wax marker by a BEP inspector clearly indicating it should be pulled out for...Read more

CVCC will host college night for students in Catawba County
Charlotte Observer, September 12th

In addition, the report showed more than 95 percent of the district's students passed Math III. On the ACT WorkKeys test, 59.1 percent of graduates earned a Silver Certificate or higher. FFA alumni meet: The Future Farmers of America Alumni chapter...Read more

Ground broken for Regional Simulation Center
Fort Leavenworth Lamp, September 11th

The building's design earned a silver certificate from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program that recognizes energy-efficient buildings. The design features solar panels and other energy-saving measures. The building will house...Read more

Fort breaks ground for Regional Simulation Center
Leavenworth Times, September 4th

Martin noted during the groundbreaking ceremony that the building's design had earned a silver certificate in the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design program. "This program recognizes best in class building strategies and practices that promote ...Read more

Five US numismatic nudes
Coin World, September 2nd

This 1896 silver certificate, part of the 1890s Educational Series, shows an allegorical scene titled “Electricity Presenting Light to the World. “ Electricity is holding a gleaming light bulb above her head and baring a breast. Breen claimed that...Read more

Fort Leavenworth to break ground on new $15M facility
Leavenworth Times, August 27th

The building's design achieved a silver certificate from the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design program that recognizes energy-efficient buildings. The design includes solar panels and other measures to conserve resources. The Regional ...Read more

George Washington Portrait Unfinished: Story Behind Dollar Bill Image, August 27th

“The current design of the United State one dollar bill ($1) technically dates to 1963 when the bill became a Federal Reserve Note as opposed to a Silver Certificate,” says “However, many of the design elements that we associate with...Read more

1882 $100 Gold Certificate leading lot, August 22nd

A “unique in private hands” 1882 $100 Gold Certificate was the star of Stack's Bowers Aug. 7 sale at the American Numismatic Association World's Fair of Money in Rosemont, Ill. The rarity, Fr. 1203, which features Bruce-Wyman signatures and a small...Read more