1914 $100 Federal Reserve Notes (Fine+)
Other Legal Tender Notes Available at Silver.com
When it comes to buying legal tender notes, many collectors look for historic notes issued in decades past. While the Federal Reserve Note in the United States is revered as a stable, reliable fiat currency, the design of modern notes isn’t exactly the type of item a collector wants to put on display at home. However, some of the historic designs from previous forms of US paper money are worthy of a spot on the wall as an item displayed in a collection. Luckily, modern notes are now available to purchase with enhanced visuals on one side that have been altered by third-party dealers. These notes may be modern Federal Reserve legal tender, but each one also features the beautiful designs of historic American paper currency.
What are Enhanced Legal Tender Notes?
For the modern collector, historic US notes are extremely hard to come by. Examples such as the 1901 $10 Bison Note from the United States Note Series are believed to have less than 4,000 remaining specimens in varying conditions. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t own an affordable version of designs such as these on modern legal tender notes. Plucked from fresh, sealed packs of Federal Reserve Notes, some authorized dealers use proprietary processes to build on the credibility of US legal tender with beautiful designs from the nation’s history.
In the case of many of these enhanced legal tender notes, just one side of the note is enhanced with fresh imagery. Modern Federal Reserve Notes, for all the attention to detail that goes into designing these notes to prevent counterfeiting, lack the artistic detail once put into the effort of designing US paper money. The other legal tender notes we currently stock at Silver.com come with designs on the obverse face of the note that have been enhanced by authorized dealers using the latest technology.
These legal tender notes have high-definition graphics superimposed on the obverse that recreate the visuals of historic US notes. The effigies of the former US president or dignitary featured on the note are covered by the new graphics, but only serve to enhance the value of the legal tender note in the eyes of collectors. In most cases, the reverse design element remains the same as the notes that eventually make it into circulation.
Common Enhanced Note Denominations
Given the limited ability of this enhancement process to increase the value of the note beyond its face value, many dealers focus on the three smallest denominations of US paper money. This includes the $1, $2, and $5 bill of the Federal Reserve Note Series. The $1 and $5 bill are two of the widest circulated denominations in the Federal Reserve Note, and though the $2 bill is widely produced by the United States, it does not enjoy the same level of circulation. This makes all three notes ideal candidates for enhancement with authorized dealers.
Examples of Other Legal Tender Note Designs
As much as possible, dealers try to use the modern Federal Reserve Note that coordinates with the same denomination from a previous form of paper currency issued in the United States when issuing unique, modern legal tender notes. Whenever possible, dealers stick to the denominations that these designs originally appeared on, whether that was the Silver Certificate, United States Note, or National Bank Note Series. It is important to note that these dealers don’t select just any design. In fact, many of the reimagined designs you will find on these notes come from the top-ten US note designs of all time. Examples include the following:
- 1896 $1 Educational Series Silver Certificate: One of three notes in the Educational Series, the female allegory featured on this note is one of the three finest American paper currency designs.
- 1899 $1 Black Eagle Dual Presidents Silver Certificate: Replacing the Educational Series design in this denomination, the Black Eagle design was not only a powerful depiction of the American bald eagle, but it was also the first and only US note of any kind to feature two US presidents on the same side of a particular denomination of paper money. The modern $2 US bill has two US presidents on it, but not on the same side.
- 1896 $2 Educational Series Silver Certificate: As with its $1 partner, the $2 Educational Series release stands at the top of the hill when it comes to American paper money designs. It was, however, replaced by one of the most iconic American note designs in history.
- 1899 $2 Washington Porthole Silver Certificate: The one and only time that President George Washington featured on the $2 denomination of US paper money, the 1899 $2 Silver Certificate introduced the nation to a design concept that remains in use today and a portrait of Washington that is also still in use today.
- 1896 $5 Educational Series Silver Certificate: The largest denomination in the Educational Series, the 1896 $5 Silver Certificate is one of the nation’s three greatest paper note designs of all-time. Like the other 1896 Silver Certificate designs, it was replaced in 1899 by yet another iconic design.
- 1899 $5 Running Antelope Silver Certificate: The effigy of Running Antelope, the chief of the Hunkpapa tribe of Lakota people, was not only a graceful effigy of an indigenous figure, but it was also the first portrait of an indigenous leader to feature on American money of any denomination or type.
- 1901 $10 Bison Note: Without question, the Bison Note design is one of the most sought-after in American history. Introduced in 1901 on the United States Note, the design featured an American bison alongside effigies of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Some 40% larger than modern Federal Reserve Notes, the 1901 Bison Note was affectionately known as the horse-blanket note due to its size.
History of US Notes
The earliest form of US paper currency was released before the existence of the United States of America. The Continental Congress issued paper money, but it was widely considered a useless form of money that was hard to get even American citizens to accept as a form of payment. Early in the Civil War, the administration of President Abraham Lincoln issued Demand Notes as a measure to help fund the Union Army during the war. However, it wouldn’t be long before some long-standing forms of paper money would begin emerging from the United States:
- United States Note: Issued in the same year as the Demand Note, the United States Note was the first major form of paper currency issued in the United States. Available and redeemable from 1862 to 1971, the 109-year history of these notes still exceeds that of the modern Federal Reserve Note as of 2021. In fact, the US Note will remain the longest-running US paper note series until 2024 when the Federal Reserve Note will finally surpass it.
- Gold Certificate: The term gold certificate refers to any form of paper certificate backed by gold bullion, but it is also used to refer to US paper currency backed directly by gold from 1863 to 1933. Gold certificates went out with the end of the gold standard in 1933.
- Silver Certificate: The release of Silver Certificates in the United States coincided with the Fourth Coinage Act and the certificates were, initially, redeemable for US silver dollars. In the final year of redemption for the certificates, 1967-1968, the notes could be redeemed for raw silver bullion.
- National Bank Note: The issuance of National Bank Notes was unique in that the design and denomination of the notes were determined by banks chartered by the United States government, rather than being directly determined by the United States federal government.
- Federal Reserve Bank Note: The immediate predecessor to the modern Federal Reserve Note, the lone difference (in most respects) between the Federal Reserve Bank Note and the Federal Reserve Note was the backing of the note. Federal Reserve Bank Notes were backed by just one of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks, while the modern notes are backed by all 12 regardless of the region of issue.
Collecting Historic Designs on Modern Notes with Silver.com
While many of the designs and note types discussed above are no longer in production, and even fewer still exist for collectors to purchase, that does not mean it is impossible to own these designs at an affordable price. Silver.com customer service can assist you with any questions about these legal tender notes at 888-989-7223, online through our live chat, and via our email address. For questions regarding our payment methods, please visit our Payment Methods page for more answers.