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

Face-lift to $20 bill could feature women with Maine ties
Bangor Daily News, March 28th

Martha Washington, who appeared on silver certificate versions of $1 bills printed in the late 19th century, is the only real-life, historical woman to be featured on U.S. paper currency. In the wake of Obama's comment, a group called WomenOn20s formed...Read more

Editorial: We believe a woman's place is on the $20 bill
Morehead News, March 27th

As of today, we are adding our editorial voice to those advocating the novel idea of putting the portrait of a famous American woman on the $20 bill. If that happens, it would be the first time a woman has appeared on U.S. currency since Martha...Read more

Group wants to remove Andrew Jackson from $20 bill, replace him with a woman
Chattanooga Times Free Press, March 25th

The only woman to appear on American paper currency — not counting Lady Liberty — is Martha Washington, who was placed on an 1886 silver certificate. Helen Keller, Sacajawea and Susan B. Anthony have all been represented on coins, but none were ...Read more

Green is the new black
Scuttlebutt Sailing News, March 25th

Through their work with Sailors for the Sea's Clean Regattas program, the certification system for water based events, the BVI Spring Regatta was first awarded a Silver certificate in 2009. In 2010, the BVI Spring Regatta was the first Caribbean...Read more

A few ideas for putting a woman on the $20
The Olympian, March 20th

The only woman who has ever shown up on American paper currency — not counting Lady Liberty — is Martha Washington, who starred on an 1886 silver certificate. The fact that it was Martha adds insult to injury. She was an excellent first lady, but her ...Read more

Muscatine coin show tells history through money
Muscatine Journal, March 15th

What makes this silver certificate even more interesting is that it has 'Hawaii' printed on it. That means that money went to soldiers in Hawaii during World War II. If they got into combat or if the Japanese captured Hawaii, that money would not be...Read more

#TBT: The One Native Person to Ever Grace Paper Money in the US
ColorLines magazine, March 5th

If you are looking at a Chief Silver Certificate you are looking at a picture of the only American Indian to be featured on US Currency. The engraved picture is not without controversy, however. The story is that Chief Running Antelope is shown wearing...Read more

Campus Adds Two More LEED Certifications
UC Merced University News, March 4th

The dining expansion, the Social Science and Management Building, the Student Activities and Athletic Center and the Student Services Building all earned platinum status, too. The campus also has eight gold certificates and a silver certificate, and...Read more