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

Veterans History Project: Richard 'Dick' Ament, US Navy
The Western Nebraska observer, August 26th

Dick still has the original pay he received; that being a $2.00 bill (Silver Certificate) and a silver quarter. After graduating “Boot Camp”, he was ordered to the rank of Seaman. There were also orders sending him to his next duty station for further...Read more

Schumer: Seneca Falls will host U.S. Treasury forum on which woman to put on ...
Auburn Citizen (blog), August 26th

It will be the first time that a woman has appeared on U.S. paper currency since Martha Washington's likeness was on the $1 silver certificate in the late 1800s. The Treasury Department is in the process of gathering feedback on which woman should...Read more

What woman should be featured on the $10 bill?
Louisburg Herald, August 26th

There are even the women who have previously appeared on our currency: Martha Washington, pictured on the one dollar silver certificate 1891-96, and Pocahontas, who appeared in a group photo on the $20 national bank note in 1865. I'd like you to ...Read more

New $10 bill provides a teaching moment: Viewpoint, August 26th

I can see a stimulating, relevant discussion on why it's taken so long to put a woman on a bill (though Martha Washington was on the silver certificate in the 19th Century, but you knew that), and why the Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea coins never took...Read more

The 2nd Annual Oregon Tea Party Celebration: A Movement in Which Ideas Seem to ...
IREHR Update News Site, August 25th

A young guy behind a laptop, wearing a Ron Paul t-shirt, told me, ”All I have is this Silver Certificate.” He showed me an old dollar note from 1957 that said Silver Certificate on the top. I told him that I remembered my mom taking me to the bank to...Read more

US Treasurer Rosie Rios turns to Smith College for ideas on which woman to ..., August 21st

Martha Washington was the last woman to be featured on currency, splashed on one side of the $1 Silver Certificate banknote in 1886 and 1891. The Smith conversation was also opened up to what kind of woman should be displayed on money. For instance ...Read more

New stickers for sheriff's departments throughout the state
Daily Journal Online, August 19th

It also first appeared on U.S. coins in 1864 and this motto was first used on paper money in 1957, when it appeared on the one-dollar silver certificate. The first paper currency bearing the motto entered circulation on October 1, 1957. St. Francois...Read more

What Is a Silver Certificate Dollar Worth?
Motley Fool, May 18th

As trading evolved, so did the use of silver and gold as currencies of trade, as these commodities were eventually used to back paper currency systems, with the silver certificate growing in prominence in the U.S. in the late 1800s and early 1900s...Read more