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How is the Value of Silver Certificates Determined?

By Emma G.
Updated Jan 21, 2024
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The value of silver certificates can be determined in two ways, based on the face value or the collector's value. The face value is the amount as printed on the front of the certificate and is determined by the mint at the time of printing. The collector's value is the amount coin and bill collectors are willing to pay. This varies depending on the date or printing, the condition of the certificate, and the markings on it. Silver certificates are no longer redeemable for silver.

A silver certificate looks a lot like the old-style US bills. The major difference is that the words silver certificate are printed above the portrait on the front of the bill. In some cases, the bill also states that an amount of silver equivalent to the face value of the certificate will be paid to the bearer upon request. As of June 1968, the Congress of the United States stopped payment on silver certificates, so the owner of a silver certificate can no longer take it to the bank and exchange it for silver.

Though no longer redeemable for silver, the value of silver certificates remains equal to the face value of the certificate for most practical purposes. They are still legal tender, which means that they can be used exactly like paper money. The face value of silver certificates is usually $1, $5, or $10 US Dollars (USD).

The value of silver certificates is greatest when they are traded as collector's items. The collector's value of silver certificates is usually somewhere between $0.25 USD and a few dollars more than their face value. Uncirculated silver certificates are the most valuable because they tend to be in much better condition. An uncirculated silver certificate with a face value of $1 USD can sell for up to $4 USD. The same bill, if in circulated condition, might sell for only $1.50 USD.

As with most collector's items, the value of silver certificates increases if the certificate being traded is part of a special edition or limited run. One example is the star notes. Printed in $1, $5, and $10 USD denominations, these bills have a small star instead of a letter after their serial numbers. Silver certificates printed during certain years may also be worth more than average. The best way to find the value of silver certificates is to bring them to a coin dealer or consult a coin and bill collector's guide.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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