Front and back of 1922 $20 U.S. Gold Certificate.
1922 $20 Gold Certificate - Purchase by the Grade

The relationship of gold to U.S. money has a long, interesting, and often controversial, history. For the better part of two hundred years, the U.S. dollar was linked to the price of gold, commonly known as the Gold Standard. From its inception in 1792 until 1933, the ratio was roughly $20 per ounce of gold ($20.67, to be precise).

Gold Certificates Used in Place of Actual Gold

In large commercial transactions, it became impractical to use actual gold, given its size and weight, so the U.S. Treasury authorized the printing of Gold Certificates to take its place. These certificates entitled the bearer to an equivalent amount of gold upon presentation to a gold depository. And since the notes were primarily for commercial use rather than everyday spending, they were issued in larger denominations ranging from $10 to as much as $100,000. Bear in mind that this was at a time when $10 had the buying power of about $650 today.

Large and Small Note Gold Certificates

Up to 1928, all U.S. paper currency was larger than today’s, including the Gold Certificates. When the final series of Gold Certificates were printed in 1928 and 1934, they were the more familiar “small notes.”When Franklin Roosevelt introduced restrictions on gold ownership in 1933, printing of the certificates for circulation ceased. The 1934 series was only issued to banks and never entered public circulation. In fact, it was technically illegal for private citizens to have Gold Certificates until those restrictions were lifted in 1964.

High Collectible Value

Today, those Gold Certificates are legal tender, but aren’t redeemable for gold. Their currency value is the face value in current dollars. But to collectors, they’re worth a lot more. 1922 $10 and $20 Gold Certificates command from hundreds to many thousand dollars, depending on their condition.

1922 $10 and $20 Gold Certificates

The Great American Coin Company® is pleased to offer 1922 $10 and 1922 $20 Gold Certificates in all grades from Very Good circulated samples to professionally certified About Uncirculated and Uncirculated certificates. The last of the “large” notes, these bills are not only beautiful, featuring bright golden orange printing of the U.S. seal and serial number on the face and an all-gold reverse, but are eagerly sought by collectors.

The $10 certificate has a portrait of Michael Hillegas, the first U.S. Treasurer, on front and a striking image of rays of sun radiating from the U.S. Seal on the reverse. George Washington is shown on the face of $20 certificate, and the back has the Seal encircled by “Twenty Dollars,” with the denomination repeated both numerically and textually in the four corners.

While millions of these certificates were printed, they’re becoming rarer every year, especially in higher grades. This makes them an ideal “gift that keeps on giving,” whether to a collector or for a loved one to hold into the future.

U.S. Gold Certificates are just some of the many items of collectible U.S. coins and paper money as well as currency from around the world we carry that make great gifts for the holiday season or year-round giving. Don’t wait to get your holiday order in, though. Our inventory is constantly changing, and some items sell out quickly, so be sure to check back often.

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Great American Coin Company