These are the U.S. banknotes that have a promise to pay silver to the bearer on demand. For many years the Treasury Department had the silver price pegged at $1.29 per ounce. The Treasury Department would buy & sell based at $1.29. In 1963 the world silver price started to rise and everyone was buying. No one was selling. The government quit selling and let the silver price float.
To honor the promise to pay to the bearer, the Government announced that they would exchange silver certificates, based on the old silver price of $1.29, for actual silver until 21 Aug, 1968. That meant that a person could take $129 in silver certificates and turn them in for a silver treasury bar weighing 100 ounces. Few private citizens wanted the actual silver. Many took their silver certificates to their local coin dealers and got anywhere from $1.10 to $1.80 per dollar, depending on the world silver price. This price varied through the years that the conversion was possible.
On 22 August, 1968 the conversion to silver ended. The notes became essentially worthless except for face value. Since then the one dollar silver certificates have gained a small collector’s value. We are currently paying about $1.25 for circulated and about $2.00 for crisp, uncirculated notes. Dollar silver certificates series 1928, 1934, Yellow seals and Hawaii overprints are all worth $5 or more. There are still some misguided souls out there buying circulated silver certificates in the hope that someday the government will exchange the paper for silver. It won’t happen.
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