Looking to find silver certificate value information? As gold and silver prices skyrocket, many coin collectors are finding that their hobby is getting too expensive to pursue.
As a result many of them are turning to the paper currency market.
One of the most popular currencies to collect is the silver certificate. Silver certificates are a form of paper money that were printed by the United States from 1878 until 1964.
They were redeemable in some form of silver until 1968. While many certificates are rare and valuable, a large number of them are very affordable, allowing a collector to build an impressive collection on a budget.
Silver Certificate Value History: Silver Versus Gold
Throughout much of the nineteenth century, there was much debate in the United States regarding how paper money should be backed and about the composition of coinage.
Both gold and silver were used in coinage and both were used to back paper currency.
However, gold is far more rare than silver and the supply of silver was increasing significantly as more silver mines were being opened.
Eastern banking interests, very wealthy individuals and large businesses favored backing currency in gold.
They felt that gold held its value better, resisted inflation and encouraged a more stable dollar. In 1873, the gold interests won out as Congress passed the Coinage Act of 1873. Effectively, this law put the United States on the gold standard and ended the federal government’s recognition of silver as money.
This action was vehemently opposed by small businesses and many farmers. They felt that silver added liquidity to credit markets and encouraged economic growth. Another important proponent of silver was western mining companies.
The abolition of silver coinage reduced the demand for their product and, hence, its value. These groups lobbied Congress for relief, and Congress responded by passing the Bland-Allison Act in 1878 over the President’s veto.
The Origin of the Silver Certificate
The Bland-Allison Act reintroduced silver coinage to the United States. The Treasury was directed to purchase silver bullion from US mining companies at inflated prices and to mint the silver into coins.
These coins would be legal tender just like gold coins and gold certificates. These was one problem, however. The silver coins proved to be very heavy and were inconvenient to carry in pockets and purses. Consequently, the government responded by creating a paper substitute for the silver coins. Thus the silver certificate born.
Over the years they were produced in a wide variety of sizes, values, designs and even colors. The series issued in 1878 ranged in denomination from $10 up to $1,000. In later series $1, $2 and $5 certificates were also printed. Silver certificates could be exchanged for silver dollars. A five dollar certificate could be redeemed on demand for five silver dollars.
Later certificates even gave an exact location where the certificate could be redeemed.
Beginning in 1934 Congress authorized the Treasury to redeem silver certificates in either silver dollars or silver bullion. When a certificate was redeemed, it was destroyed since it was no longer backed by any silver.
By 1964, the value of the silver in silver dollars exceeded one dollar, which prompted the Treasury to stop redeeming silver certificates in silver dollars and to stop issuing new silver certificates. Certificates could only be exchanged for silver bullion. In 1968 redemption in silver stopped altogether.
Although they are still legal tender, silver certificates rarely circulate and they can only be exchanged for regular paper currency. For example, you can only exchange a five dollar silver certificate for a five dollar bill.
Common Silver Certificate Value Factors
The typical silver certificate value today depends primarily on two things: rarity and condition. Uncirculated certificates of any age are generally more valuable than similar certificates that have been in circulation. Very rare certificates can fetch prices of tens of thousands of dollars, but most certificates cost much less.
Before 1928 US paper money was significantly larger in size than it is today. The pre-1928 certificates are often called “horse blankets” or “saddle blankets” because of their comparatively large size.
Most silver certificates printed in the very early 1900s and before are prized by collectors and sell for prices greater than 50 times face value or more if the certificate is in exceptional condition or is very rare.
With some exceptions, later silver certificates are not usually highly prized and sell for a small premium above face silver certificate value. In general, horse blankets cost more than the smaller certificates. The 1896 silver certificate value figures are quite high since it one of the more rare specimens. Although not as rare, the 1899 series is popular because collectors like its design.
The 1957 series are very common and are very cheap. Most 1935A series certificates are relatively low in price, but a few are rare and sell for a significant premium. Some 1935′s were printed exclusively for use in Hawaii when it was a territory and some were printed for use in North Africa during World War II.
A few of the North African certificates were printed with an error and are very valuable. Anyone interested in purchasing silver certificates can buy them from currency dealers, at auctions, through dealer websites, at coin shows, and at online bidding sites.
The wide range in silver certificate value figures allows a casual collector to build an impressive collection for a small investment but also allows the more serious collector to pursue some rare, highly-prized specimens.
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