There was a big problem with 12-year-old boys in the Wild
West. The pockets of their pants were always full of holes.
There were two reasons for this. One was that they carried
around a lot of marbles. The other was that sometimes, they
could earn a silver dollar as a birthday gift. Once you saved
up enough silver dollars or marbles, the pockets in your pants
could take a lot of abuse.
Silver dollars were heavy and awkward, so the U.S. government
had to create a solution to calm down mothers everywhere who
were tired of patching the pockets of their sons’ trousers.
The solution was Silver Certificates.
A silver certificate is a paper bill that was issued from
1878 until the early 1960’s. The interesting thing about
a silver certificate was that you could take it to the bank
and exchange it for an equal amount of silver dollars.
In the beginning, the back of the Silver Certificates were
printed in black, so that people could tell them apart from
other bills. In 1896 a special series of silver certificates
was created. They were called “educational notes”
and they are still known for their detailed engravings, fancy
scroll work, and beautiful images. Silver certificates were
discontinued in the early 1900’s