On April 2, 1792, the United States dollar was created by the U.S. Congress. Since that first inception, the dollar has gone through quite a few changes. One of those changes allowed the dollar bill to be exchanged for silver. If you currently hold a silver certificate dollar bill, you may be wondering what it’s worth. Can you still exchange it for silver?
Silver Certificate Dollar Bill Overview
In 1878, the United States Congress created legislation that allowed the government to issue silver certificate dollar bills. This was mainly done to counteract the silver agitation that was created due to the Coinage Act of 1873. This Act revised laws related to the United States Mint. It abolished the right of silver bullion holders to have the precious metal struck into dollar coins that were legal tender. This action ended bimetallism and placed the United States on the gold standard. By doing so, it changed the monetary value of silver. The value would now be based on government fiat. In turn, this depreciated the value of silver content in US silver dollars, half dollars, quarters and dimes. It would stay this way until 1964 when the production of silver certificate dollar bills was abolished.
Repealing The Silver Purchase Act
In 1863, PL88-36 was passed by the United States House of Representatives. It would repeal the Silver Purchase Act and begin the retirement of silver certificate one dollar bills. If you were holding silver certificates at that time, you could exchange them for silver dollar coins from July 1963 to March of 1964. After that, you could only redeem the certificates for silver granules until 1968. So, if you hold a silver certificate today, you are unable to redeem it for silver.
Since you are unable to redeem a silver certificate for silver, you are probably wondering if it is worth anything. Technically, you can still exchange a silver certificate for a Federal Reserve note. However, you may not want to do this as there is monetary value due to the historical significance associated with each silver certificate. In today’s marketplace, the value of silver certificates is derived from their collectibility as historic rare items. Hobbyists and enthusiasts who collect numismatic currency will pay you a higher amount in fiat than the face value of your certificate. This depends on a number of variables.
Valuing Silver Dollar Certificates
One of the main variables that help determine the value of a silver certificate is the grade that it holds. To authenticate and grade a silver certificate, it must be graded by a professional currency grading service such as PCGS. As a third-party company, they follow specific grading standards and ensure that the process they use is consistent. Between the years 1935 in 1957, a larger number of silver certificates were produced. Due to the amount of larger supply, these certificates are typically valued at low amounts that range between $2-$4. The value starts to rise when rarity becomes an issue. If you hold a silver certificate from 1896, its unique design may fetch you a value that’s worth $1000.
If you have a silver certificate dollar bill in your possession, it may be worthwhile for you to check on its rarity before exchanging it for fiat currency. A rare certificate could be worth 3 to 4 figures.
Jim Treebold is a North Carolina based writer. He lives by the mantra of “Learn 1 new thing each day”! Jim loves to write, read, pedal around on his electric bike and dream of big things. Drop him a line if you like his writing, he loves hearing from his readers!