U.S. History


A History of United States Paper Money


National Currency (1863-1929)

Bearing the words "National Currency" at the top of the note in the center, these notes were issued by those banks that received a charter from the United States. The government was hardly selective; over 14,000 banks issued this type of currency.

Gold Certificates (1865-1934)

This currency was backed by and redeemable in gold coin. Gold Certificates ranged in denomination from $10 to $10,000. Owning gold certificates became illegal in 1933. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued an executive order requiring citizens to turn in all gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates. Interestingly, these certificates were printed the year after Congress passed this act, although they were never circulated.

Silver Certificates (1878-1963)

As with Gold Certificates, their silver counterparts were issued in both Large and Small Size currency. They were redeemable for silver coins being reserved in the Treasury for these certificates. Until 1964, they could still be redeemed for silver dollars and for silver bullion until 1968.

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