Thanks to the 'silver agitation' and a bill passed as a result of that, I am writing this article on silver certificate. The legacy of this certificate goes long back, in 1878, when they were first printed. The root cause of all this was the coinage act of 1873, placing the USA on the gold standard. Western miners perceived this as unjust and as a crime, as it did not facilitate free and unlimited coinage of silver. That is what finally led to what we know as silver certificates today after an Act was passed in 1878. This discussion will be taken ahead in terms of values of these certificates, so hang on if you are interested!
What Exactly is Silver Certificate?
Simply put, silver certificate is categorized as representative money and it was printed from 1878 to 1964. It was a part of USA's circulation paper currency. These were made in a way that these would be redeemable in the face value of silver dollar coins and then later, raw silver bullion. Starting off as large notes, the size was eventually reduced in the year 1928. That was the year when rest of the US paper money size was reduced to what it is now.
Value of Silver Certificates
As mentioned earlier, the size of the certificates was much larger before 1928. Their value can be worth hundreds of times of the face value in a few cases. Even the common ones like $1 silver certificate printed in 1923 can be worth anything between $20 and $150. Amongst the smaller notes post 1928, only a small premium over face value was available, even as little as $1.25 for circulated notes. On the contrary, the notes which were not circulated can be worth 2 to 6 times the face value. There is another rare 1899, $1 silver certificate too which had a distinguished design of the black eagle, a prized possession for the collectors. Interestingly it was never repeated on US currency and out those amongst these which were not circulated can fetch $250 or perhaps even more.
Further, silver certificate dollar bills are available in denominations of $5 and $10. These are nothing but dollar bills as they are today, though not exactly the same. $5 and $10 silver certificates were issued in the year 1934 and 1953. The value of these silver dollar bills now, if you want to exchange them, is almost 10 to 30% over the face value, in conditions it is circulated. Another category of these silver dollar bills is a star note. This silver certificate type is one of the rarest and most special, as there was a star printed just next to the serial number. The star was an indicator that the bill or the note encountered a damage in the course of printing. The value of these can be almost double as compared to that of the standard bills.
Silver Certificates of 1935 and 1957
When this modest $1 silver certificate was printed in 1957, it was the first time that on any category of US paper money, "In God We Trust" appeared. In the series of 1957, the last of these certificates were printed. So these are a considerable rarity. A 1957 silver certificate was once redeemed from the US treasury for real silver and had the blue treasury seal. The certificate of 1935 too, was a $1 bill and these are now worth a small premium over the face value. Those samples which are circulated fetch $1.25 to $1.50. Those which are not circulated, have a worth between $2 and $4.
Many more such certificate bills were issued then, which have a great rarity and historical value now. For instance, Hawaii and North Africa notes were the rarest varieties amongst 1935 $1 certificates! All in all a silver certificate is a collector's item and if at all you come across it, do not part with it! It may have an amazing rarity value! I hope you found this useful and interesting!