The United States has two forms of representative paper money, the gold certificate (or note) and the silver certificate. In 1863 Congress authorized the issue of gold notes against deposits of gold coin and bullion. They are receipts for the gold coin and redeemable in gold. They were not legal tender until 1920, but have been receivable for customs, taxes, and all public dues, and previous to July 15, 1916, might be used as reserves in national banks. The denominations issued are 10,000's, 5,000's, 1,000's, 500's, 100's, 50's, 20's, and 10's. The gold held to redeem these notes may be coined or uncoined; by an Act of 1916 two-thirds may be kept in bullion form.
The silver certificates were authorized by Congress in 1878, to facilitate the circulation of the standard silver dollar. They are redeemable in silver only and are not legal tender, but are receivable for all public debts, customs, and taxes. By the Act of 1878 the denominations issued were 1,000's, 500's, 100's, 50's, 20's, 10's, 2's, and i's. In 1891 an act was passed limiting the denominations to $10 and under, except that one-tenth of the total issue might, in the discretion of the United States Treasurer, be issued in denominations of 20's, 50's, and 100's. The large notes, when redeemed by the Treasurer, are retired and canceled, and certificates of the denominations of 10's or less substituted. The
Pittman Act of 1918 made provision for the reduction of silver dollars to bullion for shipment to India. This forced the retirement of silver certificates representing the silver dollars. The federal reserve banks issued a request to the member banks to forward at their expense all silver certificates above $5 denomination and to receive in their place federal reserve bank notes; a little later smaller denomination certificates were called in and federal reserve bank notes given in exchange. This process ended in 1919, as the emergency of the war passed. These federal reserve bank notes are being replaced by silver certificates as silver is purchased by the government to replenish its stock.