Banknotes / Silver Certrificates

Silver Certificates



Years 1878-1965

The monetary system based on the standard of silver was introduced after approval by the Congress in 1878. Bland Allison Act introduced a provision that the Treasurer of the United States was obliged to purchase a certain quantity of silver bullion from the mines to be minted into coins that would be legal tender for all debts, like gold. These coins, however, proved to be relatively heavy for everyday use so the goverment replaced them for paper money - Silver Certificate. For example, Silver Certificate worth $10 replaced the 10 silver dollars (coins). Most large-size Silver Certificates include the obligation: THIS CERTIFIES THAT THERE HAS (HAVE) BEEN DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (NUMBER) SILVER DOLLAR(S) PAYABLE TO THE BEARER ON DEMAND. Silver standard was introduced under strong lobby of silver mine owners who were dissatisfied with the earlier Monetary Act from 1873 concerning gold stanadard and promoting gold mine owners.

Silver Certificates were put into circulation for the first time in 1878 in denominations from $ 10 to $ 1,000. From 1878 to 1923 banknotes were produced in large size (approximately 7.4218 × 3.125 inches- approximately 189 × 79 mm). Since 1928, the Treasury Department reduced the size of notes and such banknotes remained until 1953 (approximately 6.14 × 2.61 inches or about 156 × 66.3mm). The change was introduced in order to speed up commercial transactions and to cut cost of production of banknotes. Banknotes in small size were produced only in denominations of $ 1, $ 5 and $ 10.

In 1964 resources of silver dramatically decreased. Secretary of the Treasury announced that Silver Certificates would no longer be exchanged for silver dollars. Then, 24 June 1967, the Department of the Treasury announced that Silver Certificates will be able to be exchanged for silver bars only for a period of one year until 24 June 1968. After this period, all banknotes in circulation remain valid and have only nominal value.

Below some series of banknotes.



Silver Certificates - Large Size

Series 1878

10 $ - on the obverse of the note on the left side depicts Robert Morris - U.S. Senator.

20 $ - on the obverse of the note on the left side is Stephen Decatur - American naval officer.



Series 1886


1 $ - the first woman who appeared on the US banknotes of was Martha Washington the wife of the first president of the United States. Located on the left side of the bank note.

2 $ - on the obverse of the note, on the left side is Winfield Scott Hancock - a general from period of the Civil War.

5 $ - the obverse of the note on the right side shows Ulysses Grant - eighteenth President of the United States. On the reverse, in the middle - five silver one-dollar coins (Morgan).

10 $ - in the middle of the obverse is Thomas Andrews Hendricks - the twenty-first vice-president of the United States.

20 $ - in the middle of the obverse of the note is Daniel Manning - the thirty-seventh United States Secretary of the Treasury.







Series 1896 (Educational)

In 1896, the head of the Bureau of Printing and Engraving Claude Johnson decided for production a new series of banknotes known informal as 'Educational Series'. The term "Educational" is derived from the title of the vignette on the $1 note, "History Instructing Youth" and names of 23 famous Americans characters placed at the edge of banknote.

The obverse of banknotes presented allegorical figures relating to the important achievements of mankind. There were two famous Americans shown in ovals on the reverse of each banknote. The banknotes were issued only in denominations of $ 1, $ 2 and $ 5, although originally planned also higher denominations. The naked woman breast on a $ 5 bill caused controversy and some bankers in Boston reportedly refused to accept the notes in transactions. The series was halted and eventually replaced by a new series from 1899.

1 $ - on the obverse on the left side presents sitting on the bank of the river Potomac, "the goddess of history" learning a little boy. Goddess shows a view of the Washington DC and in the background you can see the Capitol and the Washington Monument. On the right side of the banknote, opened book of the Constitution of the United States. Around the edges of the banknote in 23 rims names of famous Americans. On the reverse side of the banknote, in the middle, there are two figures - George Washington - the first president of the United States and his wife Martha Washington.

2 $ - the obverse of the note presents "goddess of Science" (in the middle) showing the 'older' children: "Goddess of Commerce" (left extreme) and "goddess of Production" (extreme right) 'young' children - Steam and Electricity. On the reverse of the banknote in the middle there are the characters of Robert Fulton who built the first steam ship and Samuel Finley Breese Morse - co-inventor of the telegraph and Morse code.

5 $ - the obverse of the banknote presents "Goddess of Electricity" as the dominant and driving force in the world. On the right side of the obverse the Capitol building in the background. On the reverse, on the left side, character of Ulysses Grant - the eighteenth President of the United States. On the right side of reverse the figure of Philip Henry Sheridan - general during the American Civil War.



Series 1899

1 $ - the obverse of the note presents in the middle, in the foreground an eagle perched on the flag and the U.S. Capitol building in the background. Under the eagle, on the left, in a small oval there is figure of Abraham Lincoln (sixteenth President of the United States).On the right side of the oval figure of Ulysses Grant (eighteenth President of the United States of America).

2 $ - on the obverse of the banknote, in the middle there is a picture of the first U.S. President George Washington. To his left and right side the allegorical figures of a man and woman representing agriculture and mechanics.

5 $ - the obverse of the note presents in the middle image of an Indian chief - Running Antelope of the tribe Hunkpapa.







Series 1923

1 $ - the obverse of the note presents the first U.S. President - George Washington.

5 $ - Abraham Lincoln the sixteenth president of the United States is on the obverse of the note in the middle. On the other side of the banknote - obverse of the Great Seal of the United States.



Silver Certificates - Small size

In 1928 the Department of Treasury reduced the size of banknotes (6.14 × 2.61 inches which is 156 × 66 mm).



Series 1928

In year 1928, only one type of denomination was issued - $ 1. There was a lot of competing Federal Reserve Notes with a value of $ 5 and $ 10 in the circulation. These banknotes fully met the needs of the market.

1 $ - the first U.S. President George Washington is on the obverse of the note, in the middle.



Series 1933

10 $ - on obverse in the middle is Alexander Hamilton - the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. On the reverse side the building of the United States Treasury.



Series 1934

1 $ - the first U.S. President George Washington is on the obverse of the note, in the middle.

5 $ - Abraham Lincoln the sixteenth president of the United States is on the obverse of the note in the middle. On the back of the note, in the middle, building of the Lincoln Memorial.

10 $ - Alexander Hamilton - the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States is onthe obverse of the note in the middle. On the reverse side of the United States Treasury building.



Series 1935

1 $ - on the obverse of the note, in the middle, is the first U.S. President George Washington. On the other side of the banknote (for the first time) placed on the left reverse and on the right side obverse of the Great Seal of the United States.







Series 1953

5 $ - Abraham Lincoln the sixteenth president of the United States is on the obverse of the note in the middle. On the back of the note, in the middle, building of the Lincoln Memorial.

10 $ - Alexander Hamilton - the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States is on the obverse of the note in the middle. On the reverse side of the banknote is the United States Treasury building.



Series 1957

1 $ - on the obverse of the note, in the middle, is the first U.S. President George Washington. On the other side of the banknote placed on the left reverse and on the right side obverse of the Great Seal of the United States.



Silver Certificate - War Editions



Series 1935 (War Editions - Hawaii)

For Americans, World War II began on 7 December 1941 by Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. After the attack, the United States military authorities have realized that in the case of the invasion of the Japanese on Hawaii a significant amount of U.S. dollars that could be taken over by the Japanese from public institutions and private individuals. Therefore, to prevent such an eventuality, governor of Hawaii Delos Carleton Emmons ordered the withdrawal from circulation all existing dollars in the islands. In exchange for this, in June 1942, a special edition of dollars was introduced - only to Hawaii circulation. Although all banknotes were produced in 1942 the series were 1934 and 1935 derived from two issuers:

  • 1$ - Silver Certificate, series 1935
  • 5$ - Federal Reserve Note, series 1934
  • 10$ - Federal Reserve Note, series 1934
  • 20$ - Federal Reserve Note, series 1934

Acording to above only one denomination - 1 $ - was issued as a Silver Certificate. Other denominations are Federal Reserve Notes.

Hawaiian banknotes distinguished significantly from ordinary dollars and were easy to identify. Banknotes were issued with brown treasury seals (instead of blue) and serial numbers. Overprints of the word HAWAII were made; two small overprints to the sides of the obverse of the bill between the border and both the treasury seal and huge outlined HAWAII lettering dominating the reverse. The hope was that in case a Japanese invasion, the US Government could immediately declare any Hawaii-stamped notes worthless, due to their easy identification.

One dollar notes were issued in quantity more than 35 million dollars and it was the most popular denomination of Hawaiian War Edition. Banknotes remained in Hawaiian circulation until 1944 and eventually were withdrawn from circulation in 1946.

1 $ - on the obverse of the note, in the middle, is the first U.S. President George Washington. Left and right edges of the banknote printed with word HAWAII. Brown color of the seal and serial number. On the back side of the banknote, on the left reverse and on the right obverse of the Great Seal of the United States, along the whole banknote big inscription HAWAII.



Series 1934-1935 (War Edition - North Africa)

The banknotes War Edition North Africa were issued during World War II, specifically for the payment of the U.S. army stationed in North Africa and Sicily. These notes differed from ordinary dollars only with yellow color of Seal of the Treasury of the United States. In the event that the notes were captured by the enemy, the U.S. government could easily get rid of the problem by announcing that bill with a yellow seal are invalid.

The whole issuance of banknotes North Africa series is a Silver Certificates occurring in three denominations: $ 1 - Series 1935 $ 5 - Series 1934 and $ 10 - series 1934.

1 $ - the first U.S. President George Washington is on the obverse of the note, in the middle. On the right side of the President is the Seal of the United States Treasury in yellowish color. On the back side of thebanknote on the left reverse and on the right obverse of the Great Seal of the United States.

5 $ - Abraham Lincoln the sixteenth president of the United States is on the obverse of the note in the middle. On the right side of the President is the Seal of the United States Treasury in yellowish color. On the back of the note, in the middle, building of the Lincoln Memorial.

10 $ - Alexander Hamilton - the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States is on the obverse of the note in the middle. On the right side of the President is the Seal of the United States Treasury in yellowish color. On the reverse side of the banknote is United States Treasury building.