5 Dollars, The Central Bank of China, China, 1930
- Description (Brief)
- One (1) 5 dollar note
- The Central Bank of China, China,1930
- Obverse Image: Name of bank at top, denomination at sides, portrait of Dr. Sun Yat-sen at center.
- Obverse Text: [NEEDS TRANSLATION]
- Reverse Image: Name of bank at top, denomination at sides, Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum in Nanking at center.
- Reverse Text: 5 / FIVE / THE CENTRAL BANK OF CHINA PROMISES TO PAY THE BEARER ON DEMAND AT ITS OFFICE HERE / FIVE / 5 / U903916 / 5 / 5 / U903916 / 5 / FIVE / FIVE DOLLARS NATIONAL CURRENCY. / SHANGHAI / 1930 / FIVE / 5 / AMERICAN BANK NOTE COMPANY.
- Currently not on view
- Object Name
- date made
- place made
- Physical Description
- paper (overall material)
- overall: 7.6 cm x 16.5 cm x.01 cm; 3 in x 6 1/2 in x in
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- serial number
- Credit Line
- Mr. and Mrs. James C. Leigh
- See more items in
- Work and Industry: National Numismatic Collection
- Chinese Banknotes
- NNC Chinese Bank Notes
- Chinese Paper Money
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History
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How the dollar has changed over the years
While some people are in favor of eliminating the $1 bill, this common denomination has a fascinating history.
The dollar's design has undergone some interesting alterations over the years — from the "funnybacks" that emerged in the 1920s to the web-printed bills of the 1990s.
Keep reading to learn how the buck has changed from the 19th century through the present.
Noted polymath Benjamin Franklin began printing paper money as early as 1728 and proposed a universal paper currency in 1765.
Franklin is known for his quotes about money, such as "A penny saved is a penny earned," and "The use of money is all the advantage there is in having it."
He began printing paper money in 1728, first for New Jersey and then for Pennsylvania and Delaware.
It wasn't until 1765 that Franklin proposed a universal paper currency. He was tasked, as a diplomat, with determining a way for the British to increase colonists' taxes to fund the Seven Years' War. His preliminary plan, modeled upon banking in Pennsylvania, dictated that the British would operate the colonial land bank — a system grounded in accruing interest from loans rather than generating revenue through additional taxes.
However, between retaliation against the Stamp Act — which introduced the first direct, internal tax on American colonists — and the Pennsylvania Assembly's orders that Franklin stop the British from infringing upon colonial money-issuing privileges, he needed to enact a different strategy. His solution: legal tender that did not rely on commodities (i.e. gold and silver) that were controlled by Britain.
His face has adorned the 100 dollar bill since 1914 — a year after Congress passed the Federal Reserve act.
When the Continental Congress needed a way to finance the Revolutionary War in 1775, it began issuing notes called Continentals.
Just like today's US currency, Continentals were singularly valued on purchasing power. With no backing in gold or silver, the notes could be easily counterfeited — so it didn't take long for them to become devalued.
Another name for government-issued legal tender that is not backed by a physical commodity is fiat money.
Congress called for the regulation of coin currency in 1792, but didn't make a specific reference to paper money. Thus, individual banks started issuing their own notes.
Although Congress called for the creation of the first national mint in 1792, the Constitution only granted authority with respect to coins.
As outlined in Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution, Congress could create and regulate coin currency — both foreign and domestic. But there's no specific reference to paper money.
Therefore, private banks could issue paper currency that competed with government notes.
To finance the Civil War, Congress sanctioned the issuance of a national paper currency.
In 1861, to finance the Civil War, Congress sanctioned the issuance of paper currency known as demand notes. The name referred to the fact that the currency, which was available in denominations of $5, $10, and $20, could be redeemed in coin "on demand."
Colloquially, demand notes were called greenbacks — a nickname for US currency that we still use today.
George Washington didn't appear on the note until 1869.
Washington adorns the bill to this day.
George Washington's wife, Martha, appeared on the 1886 silver certificate.
Martha wasn't the first woman to be depicted on federal paper currency. Between 1865 and 1869, Pocahontas appeared on the back of the $20 bill. The image, which illustrates her baptism, is based on a painting that hangs in the Capitol Rotunda.
It has taken more than a century, but the Treasury Department announced in 2015 that women will again grace paper money. In 2020, abolitionist Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill, while opera singer Marian Anderson will appear on the back of the $5 bill. Anderson, who performed at the Lincoln Memorial, is one of several people whose historic appearance at the landmark will be honored by the new $5 note.
Federal Reserve Note
Current paper currency of the United States
Not to be confused with Federal Reserve Bank Note.
Federal Reserve Notes, also United States banknotes, are the currently issued banknotes of the United States dollar. The United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing produces the notes under the authority of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 and issues them to the Federal Reserve Banks at the discretion of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The Reserve Banks then circulate the notes to their member banks, at which point they become liabilities of the Reserve Banks and obligations of the United States.
Federal Reserve Notes are legal tender, with the words "this note is legal tender for all debts, public and private" printed on each note. They replaced National Bank Notes, which national banks issued from 1863 to 1935 under the authority of the United States Treasury. The notes are backed by financial assets that the Federal Reserve Banks pledge as collateral, which are mainly Treasury securities and mortgage agency securities that they purchase on the open market by fiat payment.
Prior to centralized banking, each commercial bank issued its own notes. The first institution with responsibilities of a central bank in the U.S. was the First Bank of the United States, chartered in 1791 by Alexander Hamilton. Its charter was not renewed in 1811. In 1816, the Second Bank of the United States was chartered; its charter was not renewed in 1836, after President Andrew Jackson campaigned heavily for its disestablishment. From 1837 to 1862, in the Free Banking Era there was no formal central bank, and banks issued their own notes again. From 1862 to 1913, a system of national banks was instituted by the 1863 National Banking Act.
Federal Reserve Notes have been printed from Series 1914 in large-note format, and from Series 1928 in modern-day (small-note) format. The latter dimensions originated from the size of the Philippine peso Silver Certificates issued in 1903 while William Howard Taft served as Philippine governor-general under the United States colonial administration. In view of its highly successful run, President Taft subsequently appointed a committee that reported favorably on the advantages and savings from adopting the dimensions of Philippine notes for use in the United States.  Final implementation of today's small-size format, however, only occurred in 1928.
The authority of the Federal Reserve Banks to issue notes comes from the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. Legally, they are liabilities of the Federal Reserve Banks and obligations of the United States government. Although not issued by the Treasury Department, Federal Reserve Notes carry the (engraved) signature of the Treasurer of the United States and the United States Secretary of the Treasury.
At the time of the Federal Reserve's creation, the law provided for notes to be redeemed to the Treasury in gold or "lawful money." The latter category was not explicitly defined, but included United States Notes, National Bank Notes, and certain other notes held by banks to meet reserve requirements, such as clearing certificates. The Emergency Banking Act of 1933 removed the gold obligation and authorized the Treasury to satisfy these redemption demands with current notes of equal face value (effectively making change). Under the Bretton Woods system, although citizens could not legally possess gold (except as rare coins, jewelry, for industrial purposes and the like), the federal government continued to maintain a stable international gold price. This system ended with the Nixon Shock of 1971. Present-day Federal Reserve Notes are not backed by convertibility to any specific commodity, but only by the collateral assets that Federal Reserve Banks post in order to obtain them.
Series 1914 FRN were the first of two large-size issues. Denominations were $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 printed first with a red seal and then continued with a blue seal. Series 1918 notes were issued in $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 denominations. The latter two denominations exist only in institutional collections. Series 1914 and 1918 notes in the following two tables are from the National Numismatic Collection at the National Museum of American History (Smithsonian Institution).
Per the Treasury Department Appropriation Bill of 1929, notes issued 1928 and earlier were 7+7⁄16 × 3+9⁄64 inches and later issues were to be 6+5⁄16 × 2+11⁄16 inches, which allowed the Treasury Department to produce 12 notes per 16+1⁄4 × 13+1⁄4 inch sheet of paper that previously would yield 8 notes at the old size.
Modern measurements of these large size notes reveal an average dimension of 7+3⁄8 × 3+1⁄8 inches (187 × 79 mm). Small size notes (described as such due to their size relative to the earlier large-size notes) are an average 6+1⁄8 × 2+5⁄8 inches (156 × 67 mm), the size of modern U.S. currency. Each measurement is ± 0.08 inches (2 mm) to account for margins and cutting. (Note: differences in size may also involve in historical changes in the definition of the inch.)
Production and distribution
A commercial bank that maintains a reserve account with the Federal Reserve can obtain notes from the Federal Reserve Bank in its district whenever it wishes. The bank must pay the face value of the notes by debiting (drawing down) its reserve account. Smaller banks without a reserve account at the Federal Reserve can maintain their reserve accounts at larger "correspondent banks" which themselves maintain reserve accounts with the Federal Reserve.
Federal Reserve Notes are printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP), a bureau of the Department of the Treasury. When Federal Reserve Banks require additional notes for circulation, they must post collateral in the form of direct federal obligations, private bank obligations, or assets purchased through open market operations. If the notes are newly printed, they also pay the BEP for the cost of printing (about 4¢ per note). This differs from the issue of coins, which are purchased for their face value.
A Federal Reserve Bank can retire notes that return from circulation, which entitles it to recover collateral that it posted for an earlier issue. Retired notes in good condition are held in the bank's vault for future issues. Notes in poor condition are destroyed and replacements are ordered from the BEP. The Federal Reserve shreds 7,000 tons of worn out currency each year.
As of 2013, Federal Reserve notes remain, on average, in circulation for the following periods of time:
|Years in circulation||5.8||no data||5.5||4.5||7.9||8.5||15.0|
The Federal Reserve does not publish an average life span for the $2 bill. This is likely due to its treatment as a collector's item by the general public; it is, therefore, not subjected to normal circulation.
Starting with the Series 1996 $100 note, bills $5 and above have a special letter in addition to the prefix letters which range from A-P. The first letter is A for series 1996; the first letter is B for series 1999; the first letter is C for series 2001; the first letter is D for series 2003; the first letter is F for series 2003A; the first letter is H for series 2006; and the first letter is K for series 2006A, L is for Series 2009 $100 bills, M is Series 2013, N is Series 2017 and P is Series 2017A. Series 2021 will likely use R. 
The Series 2004 $20, the first note in the second redesign, has kept the element of the special double prefix. The first letter is E for series 2004; the first letter is G for series 2004A; the first letter is I for series 2006; the first letter is J for series 2009; the first letter is L for series 2009A; and the first letter is M for series 2013.
Federal Reserve Notes are made of 75% cotton and 25% linen fibers, supplied by Crane & Co. of Dalton, Massachusetts.
U.S. paper currency has had many nicknames and slang terms. The notes themselves are generally referred to as bills (as in "five-dollar bill"). Notes can be referred to by the first or last name of the person on the portrait (George for one dollar, or even more popularly, "Benjamins" for $100 notes).
- Greenbacks, any amount in any denomination of Federal Reserve Note (from the green ink used on the back). The Demand Notes issued in 1861 had green-inked backs, and the Federal Reserve Note of 1914 copied this pattern.
- Buck for a one-dollar bill
- fin is a slang term for a five-dollar bill, from Yiddish "finf" meaning five.
- sawbuck is a slang term for a ten-dollar bill, from the image of the Roman numeral X and its resemblance to the carpentry implement.
- double sawbuck is slang term for a twenty-dollar bill, from the image of the Roman numeral XX.
- One hundred dollar bills are sometimes called "Benjamins" (in reference to their portrait of Benjamin Franklin) or C-Notes (the letter "C" is the Roman numeral 100).
Despite the relatively late addition of color and other anti-counterfeiting features to U.S. currency, critics hold that it is still a straightforward matter to counterfeit these bills. They point out that the ability to reproduce color images is well within the capabilities of modern color printers, most of which are affordable to many consumers. These critics suggest that the Federal Reserve should incorporate holographic features, as are used in most other major currencies, such as the pound sterling, Canadian dollar and euro banknotes, which are more difficult and expensive to forge. Another robust technology, the polymer banknote, has been developed for the Australian dollar and adopted for the New Zealand dollar, Romanian leu, Papua New Guinea kina, Canadian dollar, and other circulating, as well as commemorative, banknotes of a number of other countries. They are said to be more secure, cleaner and more durable than paper notes but that is not the case with U.S. banknotes which are already designed to be more durable than traditional cotton-based banknotes, circulation life shows this to be the case. One major issue with implementing these or any new counterfeiting countermeasures, however, is that (other than under Executive Order 6102) the United States has never demonetized or required a mandatory exchange of any existing currency. Consequently, would-be counterfeiters can easily circumvent any new security features simply by counterfeiting older designs, although once a new design is launched, the older designs are usually withdrawn from circulation as they cycle through the Federal Reserve Banks.
U.S. currency does, however, bear several anti-counterfeiting features. Two of the most critical anti-counterfeiting features of U.S. currency are the paper and the ink. The ink and paper combine to create a distinct texture, particularly as the currency is circulated. The paper and the ink alone have no effect on the value of the dollar until post print. These characteristics can be hard to duplicate without the proper equipment and materials. Furthermore, recent redesigns of the $5, $10, $20, and $50 notes have added EURion constellation patterns which can be used by scanning software to recognize banknotes and refuse to scan them.
The differing sizes of other nations' banknotes is a security feature that eliminates one form of counterfeiting to which U.S. currency is prone: Counterfeiters can simply bleach the ink off a low-denomination note, such as a $1 or $5 bill, and reprint it as a higher-value note, such as a $100 bill. To counter this, the U.S. government has included in all $5 and higher denominated notes since the 1990 series a security thread, which is a vertical laminate strip imprinted with denomination information. Under ultraviolet light, the security thread fluoresces a different color for each denomination ($5 note: blue; $10 note: orange; $20 note: green; $50 note: yellow; $100 note: red). Additionally the newly designed $100 launched in 2013 has a 3D security ribbon which has proven to be highly resistant to counterfeiting, yet easily understood by the public without special tools or lights.
According to the central banks, the number of counterfeited bank notes seized annually is about 10 in one million of real bank notes for the Swiss franc, of 50 in one million for the Euro, of 100 in one million for United States dollar and of 300 in one million for pound sterling (old style).
Critics, such as the American Council of the Blind, note that U.S. bills are relatively hard to tell apart: they use very similar designs, they are printed in the same colors (until the 2003 banknotes, in which a faint secondary color was added), and they are all the same size. The American Council of the Blind has argued that American paper currency design should use increasing sizes according to value or raised or indented features to make the currency more usable by the vision-impaired, since the denominations cannot currently be distinguished from one another non-visually. Use of Braille codes on currency is not considered a desirable solution because these markings would only be useful to people who know how to read Braille, and one Braille symbol can become confused with another if even one bump is rubbed off. Though some blind individuals say that they have no problems keeping track of their currency because they fold their bills in different ways or keep them in different places in their wallets, they nevertheless must rely on sighted people or currency-reading machines to determine the value of each bill before filing it away using the system of their choice. This means that no matter how organized they are, blind people still have to trust sighted people or machines each time they receive U.S. banknotes.
By contrast, other major currencies, such as the pound sterling and euro, feature notes of differing sizes: the size of the note increases with the denomination and different denominations are printed in different, contrasting colors. This is useful not only for the vision-impaired; they nearly eliminate the risk that, for example, someone might fail to notice a high-value note among low-value ones.
Multiple currency sizes were considered for U.S. currency, but makers of vending and change machines successfully argued that implementing such a wide range of sizes would greatly increase the cost and complexity of such machines. Similar arguments were unsuccessfully made in Europe prior to the introduction of multiple note sizes.
Alongside the contrasting colors and increasing sizes, many other countries' currencies contain tactile features missing from U.S. banknotes to assist the blind. For example, Canadian banknotes have a series of raised dots (not Braille) in the upper right corner to indicate denomination. Mexican peso banknotes also have raised patterns of dashed lines. The Indian rupee has raised patterns of different shapes printed for various denominations on the left of the watermark window (20: vertical rectangle; 50: square; 100: triangle; 500: circle; 1,000: diamond).
Suit by the blind over U.S. banknote design
This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(June 2021)
Ruling on a lawsuit filed in 2002 (American Council of the Blind v. Paulson), on November 28, 2006, U.S. District Judge James Robertson ruled that the American bills gave an undue burden to the blind and denied them "meaningful access" to the U.S. currency system. In his ruling, Robertson noted that the United States was the only nation out of 180 issuing paper currency that printed bills that were identical in size and color in all their denominations and that the successful use of such features as varying sizes, raised lettering and tiny perforations used by other nations is evidence that the ordered changes are feasible. The plaintiff's attorney was quoted as saying "It's just frankly unfair that blind people should have to rely on the good faith of people they have never met in knowing whether they've been given the correct change." Government attorneys estimated that the cost of such a change ranges from $75 million in equipment upgrades and $9 million annual expenses for punching holes in bills to $178 million in one-time charges and $50 million annual expenses for printing bills of varying sizes.
Robertson accepted the plaintiff's argument that current practice violates Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The judge ordered the United States Department of the Treasury to begin working on a redesign within 30 days, but the Treasury appealed the decision.
On May 20, 2008, in a 2-to-1 decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the earlier ruling, pointing out that the cost estimates were inflated and that the burdens on blind and visually impaired currency users had not been adequately addressed.
On October 3, 2008, on remand from the D.C. Circuit, D.C. District Court Judge Robertson granted the injunction.
As a result of the court's injunction, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is planning to implement a raised tactile feature in the next redesign of each note, except the $1 bill (which is not allowed to be redesigned, Pub.L. 114–113 (text)(pdf), 129 Stat. 2431, enacted December 18, 2015), though the version of the $100 bill already is in progress. It also plans larger, higher-contrast numerals, more color differences, and distribution of currency readers to assist the visually impaired during the transition period. The Bureau received a comprehensive study on accessibility options in July 2009, and solicited public comments from May to August 2010.
Legal authorizations for currency, and limitations on design
The Secretary of the Treasury is charged with the obligation to produce currency and bonds. 31 U.S.C. § 5114. Treasury Department regulations further specify the quality of paper and ink to be used. 31 C.F.R. Part 601. The denominations and design of currency are not further specified by law; for example, the choice of $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100, and the portraits on each, are largely left to the discretion of the Secretary of the Treasury.
There are few requirements set by Congress. The national motto "In God We Trust" must appear on all U.S. currency and coins. Though the motto had periodically appeared on coins since 1865, it did not appear on currency (other than interest-bearing notes in 1861) until a law passed in 1956 required it. It began to appear on Federal Reserve Notes delivered from 1964 to 1966, depending on denomination.
The portraits appearing on the U.S. currency can feature only people who have died, whose names should be included below each of the portraits. Since the standardization of the bills in 1928, the Department of the Treasury has chosen to feature the same portraits on the bills. These portraits were decided upon in 1929 by a committee appointed by the Treasury. Originally, the committee had decided to feature U.S. presidents because they were more familiar to the public than other potential candidates. The Treasury altered this decision, however, to include three statesmen who were also well known to the public: Alexander Hamilton (the first Secretary of the Treasury who appears on the $10 bill), Salmon P. Chase (the Secretary of the Treasury during the American Civil War who appeared on the now obsolete $10,000 bill), and Benjamin Franklin (a signer of the Declaration of Independence and of the Constitution, who appears on the $100 bill). In 2016, the Treasury announced a number of design changes to the $5, $10 and $20 bills; to be introduced over the next ten years. The redesigns include:
- The back of the $5 bill will be changed to showcase historical events at the pictured Lincoln Memorial by adding portraits of Marian Anderson (due to her famous performance there after being barred from Constitution Hall because of her race), Martin Luther King Jr. (due to his famous I Have A Dream speech), and Eleanor Roosevelt (who arranged Anderson's performance).
- The back of the $10 bill will be changed to show a 1913 march for women's suffrage in the United States, plus portraits of Sojourner Truth, Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
- On the $20 bill, Andrew Jackson will move to the back (reduced in size, alongside the White House) and Harriet Tubman will appear on the front.
After an unsuccessful attempt in the proposed Legal Tender Modernization Act of 2001, the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 required that none of the funds set aside for either the Treasury or the Bureau of Engraving and Printing may be used to redesign the $1 bill. This is because any change would affect vending machines and the risk of counterfeiting is low for this small denomination. This superseded the Federal Reserve Act (Section 16, Paragraph 8) which gives the Treasury permission to redesign any banknote to prevent counterfeiting.
|1914||$5, $10, $20, $50, $100||"This note is receivable by all national and member banks and Federal Reserve Banks and for all taxes, customs and other public dues. It is redeemable in gold on demand at the Treasury Department of the United States in the city of Washington, District of Columbia or in gold or lawful money at any Federal Reserve Bank."|
|1918||$500, $1,000, $5,000, $10,000|
|1928||$5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $500, $1,000, $5,000, $10,000||"Redeemable in gold on demand at the United States Treasury, or in gold or lawful money at any Federal Reserve Bank"||Branch ID in numerals|
|1934||"This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private, and is redeemable in lawful money at the United States Treasury, or at any Federal Reserve Bank"||Branch ID in letters; during the Great Depression|
|1950||$5, $10, $20, $50, $100||Slight design changes: branch logo; placements of signatures, "Series xxxx", and "Washington, D.C.",|
|1963, 1963A, 1963B, 1969, 1969A, 1969B, 1969C, 1974||$1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100||"This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private"||First $1 FRN; "Will pay to the bearer on demand" removed; Seal in Latin replaced by seal in English in 1969|
|1976||$2||First $2 FRN, Bicentennial|
|1977||$1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100||"This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private"|
|1977A||$1, $5, $10, $20|
|1981, 1981A, 1985||$1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100|
|1988||$1, $5, $50, $100|
|1988A||$1, $5, $10, $20|
|1990||$10, $20, $50, $100|
|1993||$1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100|
|1995||$1, $2, $5, $10, $20|
|Large-portrait ($1 and $2 remain small-portrait)|
|1996||$20, $50, $100|
|1999||$1, $5, $10, $20, $100|
|2001||$1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100|
|2003||$1, $2, $5, $10, $100|
|2003A||$1, $2, $5, $100|
|Color notes ($1 and $2 remain unchanged)|
|2004A||$10, $20, $50|
|2006||$1, $5, $10, $20, $50|
|2009||$1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100|
|2013||$1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100|
|2017||$1, $10, $20|
|2017A||$1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100|
Series 1914 (district seals)
Series 1996–2003 (new currency design)
Note: The series 2006A was produced from 2011 to 2013 due to issues with the printing process for the colorized (NextGen) $100 notes.
Post-2004 redesigned series
Beginning in 2003, the Federal Reserve introduced a new series of bills, featuring images of national symbols of freedom. The new $20 bill was first issued on October 9, 2003; the new $50 on September 28, 2004; the new $10 bill on March 2, 2006; the new $5 bill on March 13, 2008; the new $100 bill on October 8, 2013. The one and two dollar bills still remain small portrait, unchanged, and not watermarked.
All small-sized bills measure 6.14 in × 2.61 in (156 mm × 66 mm), with thickness of 0.0043 in (0.11 mm).
While the series 2009A was the first series of these $100 bills released for circulation, the first printing was series 2009 printed in 2010 and 2011. These were withheld from circulation due to issues with the printing process and none were released until 2016.
- ^O'Sullivan, Arthur; Sheffrin, Steven M. (2003). Economics: Principles in Action. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall. p. 255. ISBN .
- ^ abc12 U.S.C. § 411
- ^Bryan A. Garner, editor, Black's Law Dictionary 8th ed. (West Group, 2004) ISBN 0-314-15199-0.
- ^12 U.S.C. § 415 Section 415 describes circulating Federal Reserve Notes as liabilities of the issuing Federal Reserve Bank.
- ^31 U.S.C. § 5103
- ^See weekly H.4.1 reports, "Collateral Held against Federal Reserve Notes"
- ^Schwarz, John; Lindquist, Scott (September 21, 2009). Standard Guide to Small-Size U.S. Paper Money - 1928-Date. ISBN .
- ^Cross, Ira B. (June 1938). "A Note on Lawful Money". The Journal of Political Economy. 46 (3): 409–413. doi:10.1086/255236. S2CID 153434804.
- ^ ab12 U.S.C. § 412
- ^Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 148.
- ^Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, pp. 157–59.
- ^Treasury Department Appropriation Bill, 1929. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1928. p. 105.
- ^ abFederal Reserve Bank of New York (April 2007). "How Currency Gets into Circulation". Retrieved February 17, 2008.
- ^United States Department of the Treasury. "Organization chart of the Department of the Treasury"(PDF). Archived from the original(PDF) on February 16, 2008. Retrieved February 17, 2008.
- ^12 U.S.C. § 416
- ^12 U.S.C. § 413
- ^"US Coin Facts". Fleur-de-coin.com. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
- ^Federal Reserve System (October 8, 2013). "How long is the life span of U.S. paper money?". Retrieved November 15, 2013.
- ^ ab"History of Currency Designs". USPaperMoney.info. Retrieved February 19, 2008.
- ^ ab"Details of Serial Numbering". USPaperMoney.info. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
- ^"U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing – How Money is Made – Paper and Ink". www.bep.gov. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
- ^"Counterfeit". NewYorker.com. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
- ^"Security Features". The United States Treasury Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Archived from the original on October 27, 2014. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
- ^Michel Beuret, "Les mystères de la fausse monnaie"Archived October 13, 2013, at the Wayback MachineAllez savoir !, no. 50, May 2011 (in French).
- ^ ab"Judge rules paper money unfair to blind". CNN. November 29, 2006.
- ^American Council of the Blind v. Paulson, 463 F. Supp. 2d 51 (D. D.C. 2008).
- ^"Government appeals currency redesign". USA Today. Associated Press. December 13, 2006. Retrieved March 26, 2010.
- ^ ab"Judge: Make Money Recognizable to Blind". The Washington Post. November 29, 2006. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
- ^"AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND, et al. v. Henry M. Paulson, Jr., Secretary of the Treasury, Civil Action No. 02-0864 (JR)"(PDF). United States District Court for the District of Columbia. 2002. Archived from the original(PDF) on February 16, 2007. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
- ^Bridges, Eric, ed. (October 6, 2008). "Court Says Next Gen Currency Must Be Accessible to the Blind" (Press release). American Council of the Blind. Archived from the original on October 22, 2008.
- ^"Court Says the Blind Will Have Meaningful Access to Currency, Tells Government 'No Unnecessary Delays'". American Council of the Blind. Archived from the original on November 19, 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2008.
- ^"Federal Court Tells U.S. Treasury Department That It Must Design and Issue Accessible Paper Currency". American Council of the Blind. Archived from the original on November 19, 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2008.
- ^American Council of the Blind v. Paulson, 525 F. 3d 1256 (D.C. Cir.2008).
- ^American Council of the Blind v. Paulson, 581 F. Supp. 2d 1 (D. D.C. 2008).
- ^"Congressional Research Service Report RS21907"(PDF). WikiLeaks Document Release. August 11, 2004. p. 3 footnote. Retrieved February 16, 2018 – via MIT.
- ^"Administrative Provisions : Department of the Treasury". Retrieved June 28, 2017.
- ^"Final Report: Study to Address Options for Enabling the Blind and Visually Impaired Community to Denominate U.S. Currency, July 2009"(PDF).
- ^75 FR28331
- ^"Meaningful Access to United States Currency for Blind and Visually Impaired Persons". Regulations.gov. TREAS-DO-2010-0003.
- ^ ab31 U.S.C. § 5114
- ^Public Law 84-140
- ^"History of 'In God We Trust'". treasury.gov. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
- ^"U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing – FAQ Library". Moneyfactory.gov. Archived from the original on November 25, 2010. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
- ^Calmes, Jackie (April 20, 2016). "Harriet Tubman Ousts Andrew Jackson in Change for a $20" – via NYTimes.com.
- ^"Anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman to replace Jackson on $20 bill". usatoday.com. Retrieved April 21, 2016.
- ^H.R. 2528
- ^H.R. 1105
- ^Mimms, Sarah. "Why the $1 bill hasn't changed since 1929". Quartz (publication). Atlantic Media. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
- ^"FRB: Federal Reserve Act: Section 16". Federalreserve.gov. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
- ^"Evolution from Gold to Fiat Money". ecclesia.org. Retrieved February 19, 2008.
- ^"Series 2017 $1". USPaperMoney.info. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
- ^"Series 2017 $10". USPaperMoney.info. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
- ^"Series 2017 $20". USPaperMoney.info. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
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What Is a Silver Certificate Dollar Bill Worth Today?
What Is a Silver Certificate Dollar Bill Worth Today?
A silver certificate dollar bill represents a unique time in American history. It was a type of legal tender that was issued by the federal government in the late 1800s. As the name suggests, the holder of a certificate could redeem it for a certain amount of silver. One certificate allowed investors to hold silver without having to buy the precious metal itself.
These certificates no longer carry monetary value as an exchange for silver, yet collectors still seek out these prints. Their history dates to the 1860s, when the United States rapidly developed into one of the top producers of silver in the world. This ushered in a new monetary structure in the U.S., of which the silver certificate is a unique historical artifact. In this article, we look at the history of this form of currency and how much they're worth today.
- A silver certificate dollar bill was legal tender issued by the United States government.
- When they were first issued, certificate holders could redeem them for a certain amount of silver.
- Certificates no longer carry monetary value as an exchange for silver.
- Although collectors still seek out many of the uncommon prints, many certificates are only worth their face value.
Understanding Silver Certificate Dollar Bills
It was for this reason that provisions in the Coinage Act of 1873 went little noticed. The act ended free coinage for silver, effectively ending bimetallism and placing the United States on the gold standard. Though silver coins could still be used as legal tender, few were in circulation.
The U.S. government began issuing certificates in 1878 under the Bland-Allison Act. Under the act, people could deposit silver coins at the U.S. Treasury in exchange for certificates, which were easier to carry. This representative money could also be redeemed for silver equal to the certificate’s face value. In the past, other countries like China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Morocco, Panama, and the Netherlands have issued silver certificates.
Congress adopted a bimetallic standard of money in 1792, making gold and silver the mediums of exchange. Under a free coinage policy, raw gold or silver could be taken to the U.S. mint and converted into coins. However, few silver coins were minted between 1793 and 1873, as the raw silver required to make a coin was worth more than their gold dollar and greenback counterparts.
A year later, Section 3568 of the Revised Statutes further diminished silver's status by prohibiting the use of silver coins as legal tender for amounts exceeding five dollars.
Old Silver Dollar Certificates
Silver's importance became apparent with the development of the Comstock lode and other deposits. This happened as Congress looked for ways to grow the monetary base. The U.S. went from producing 1% of the world's silver to nearly 20% by the 1860s and 40% by the 1870s.
The Bland-Allison Act reintroduced free coinage for silver. It also required the government to purchase and coin into dollars between $2 million and $4 million worth of silver each month, though not more than $2 million per month was ever purchased.
Although the certificates no longer can be exchanged for silver coins, the historical significance in the printings resides in the economic impact the certificates held, as well as the certificate’s short-term status as valid legal tender.
In 1963, the House of Representatives passed PL88-36, repealing the Silver Purchase Act and instructing on the retirement of $1 silver certificates. The act was predicated by a prospective shortage of silver bullion.
Certificate holders could exchange the print for silver dollar coins for approximately 10 months. In March 1964, Secretary of the Treasury C. Douglas Dillon stopped the issuance of coins, and for the next four years, certificates were redeemable for silver granules. The redemption period for silver certificates ended in June 1968.
Silver Certificate Denominations
Silver certificates are often referred to as large and small certificates. Certificates issued from 1878 to 1923 were larger in size, often measuring more than seven inches long and three inches wide. The value of large-sized silver certificates issued through 1923 ranged between $1 and $1,000. The designs varied and depicted former presidents, first ladies, vice presidents, founding fathers, and other notable figures.
The U.S. banknotes were redesigned in 1928, and, until the ceased issuance in 1964, the silver certificates issued measured the same size as modern-day U.S. currency—6.4 inches long and 2.6 inches wide. All small-sized silver certificates depict the portraits of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, or Alexander Hamilton. In general, the value of a silver certificate is not directly correlated to its size or denomination.
A silver certificate's value is not directly correlated to its size or denomination
Silver Certificate Value Today
The value of a silver dollar certificate is contingent on the condition and year issued. Although it is no longer possible to redeem a silver dollar certificate for silver, certificates are still technically legal tender. This means they can be exchanged for a Federal Reserve note.
Still, the actual value of a silver certificate is in its collectability. The certificates have become a collectors' item, and collectors of the certificates pay greater-than-face value, depending on the rarity of the print.
Features Adding Value
The value of each silver certificate is based on numerous variables. One of the largest determinants of the value of the bill is the grading of the certificate. Most silver certificates receive a grade on the Sheldon numerical scale, ranging from one to 70, where 70 represents a certificate in perfect mint condition.
The numerical grade corresponds with an adjectival letter that indicates the condition is one of the following: good, very good, fine, very fine, extremely fine, almost uncirculated, or crisp uncirculated.
In addition to the grade, there are various features found on certain silver certificates that increase their worth to a collector. In general, a silver certificate with a star in the serial number or error on the face of the bill is worth more than a silver certificate of the same year, grade, and denomination without these features.
Star notes from 1957 are common and some collectors won't buy them. The errors may include folding, cutting, or inking mistakes. In addition, unique and interesting serial numbers are more valuable to investors. For example, a serial number with each digit as the numeral two holds more value than a random combination of numbers.
Valuation of Silver Dollar Certificates
The most common silver certificates were issued between 1935 and 1957. Their design is nearly identical to a standard U.S. dollar bill featuring George Washington. The key difference is the text below Washington’s portrait, which states the tender is valued at one dollar in silver payable to the bearer on demand. These certificates fetch slightly more than face value, though uncirculated notes typically sell for $2 to $4.
In 1896, the silver dollar certificate carried a unique design that is known as the educational series. The face of the certificate depicts a woman instructing a young boy. The asking price for a Series 1896 $1 Silver Certificate Educational note is more than $500 for a print in good condition, while a "very choice uncirculated note 64" commands more than $4,000.
The 1899 print is another popular certificate among collectors. The note is often referred to as the Black Eagle because of the large eagle on its face. Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses Grantelow are found below the eagle. The asking price for an 1899 Black Eagle $1 Silver Banknote Certificate in very good condition is just under $200, while a note in "gem uncirculated premium" condition fetches as much as $950.
In 1928, the treasury issued six different silver certificates, and around 640 million notes went into circulation. The 1928, 1928A, and 1928B versions are common. The 1928C, 1928D, and 1928E versions are rare, with notes in very fine condition fetching between $125 and $600. Certificates from 1928 with a star symbol in the serial number are extremely valuable, commanding between $4,000 and $17,500.
Alternatively, the 1934 silver certificate is considered common, even though it is the only year to have a blue “one” printed on its face. A 1934 certificate in very fine condition is worth around $30.
Silver Investing Options
Investors interested in an ownership share in silver should purchase the metal elsewhere. Silver certificates no longer represent an ownership stake in the commodity, and their value is mainly derived as collectors' items. However, there are numerous alternatives for investors wanting to own silver. First, an investor can purchase the physical product through silver coins, bullion, jewelry, or silverware. Alternatively, an investor can purchase an exchange-traded fund (ETF) backed by physical silver stored in a secure location. In some situations, investors may redeem the ETF for physical silver bullion.
In addition, a speculator can invest in numerous mining or precious metal streaming companies. For example:
- Wheaton Precious Metals (WPM) operates on a "streaming" model, whereby it purchases silver mined by other companies that is produced as a by-product of their main business, such as copper or gold mining.
- Silvercorp Metals (SVM) is a Canadian miner with three active sites in China.
- First Majestic Silver Corp (AG) owns six producing silver mines in Mexico.
- Hecla Mining Company (HL) owns silver mines in Alaska, Idaho, and Mexico.
- SSR Mining (SSRM) operates a silver mine in Argentina.
Although owning stock in these companies does not result in silver ownership, the financial success of these companies is directly tied to the price of the precious metal.
Silver Certificate Dollar Bill FAQs
What is the rarest silver certificate?
The rarest silver certificate dollar bills are the 1928C, 1928D, and 1928E versions. Any notes that fall into these categories can fetch anywhere between $125 and $600 as long as they're in fine condition.
How much is a $1 silver certificate worth?
That depends on the type of $1 silver certificate. For instance, a Series 1896 $1 Silver Certificate Educational note in good condition is worth more than $500 while a $1 Black Eagle Silver Banknote Certificate in the same condition can fetch just under $200.
What does Silver Certificate mean on a dollar bill?
The term Silver Certificate represents legal tender in the form of paper currency. The certificate was once redeemable for silver, but can now be exchanged for its face value. In many cases, though, collectors will purchase them for much more.
Is a 1957 silver certificate dollar worth anything?
Most collectors won't buy them notes because star notes from 1957 are common.
How much is a 1935 $1 silver certificate worth?
The 1935 $1 silver certificate is worth $1.
The Bottom Line
In the past, silver certificate dollar bills gave investors a way to hold the precious metal without actually having to buy it. But the U.S. government stopped printing these notes, diminish their importance and overall value. Although collectors will pay top dollar for some of these certificates, don't get too excited if you find one in your billfold. Most will only get you the face value of the bill itself.
Dollar bill 1930
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