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What is a Gold Certificate?

Gold certificates certified the amount of physical gold the owner was storing with gold professional and at one point in time, the certificates were used like cash in daily transactions.

Though no longer used as a legal form of tender in today’s circulation, gold certificates were once a popular currency and used for everyday transactions. Why are we no longer using them and why do collectors still find them appealing for their collections?

Historically, gold certificates first appear in London and Amsterdam, by goldsmiths who housed their customers' gold bullion in their vaults. The certificates certified the amount of physical gold the owner was storing with the gold professional and before long, the certificates were being used like cash in daily transactions. The United States Treasury adopted the gold certificate practice in the mid-1800’s until 1933, when the Emergency Banking Act was implemented, making privately held gold bullion (with the exception of jewelry) illegal.

During the period following the Emergency Banking Act, gold certificates became a novelty of the past but this novelty has since given way to big paydays for collectors and United States history lovers.

Many gold certificates were issued in $10, $20, $50, $100, $500, and $1,000 denominations. While gold certificates with higher face values than $500 and $1,000 have been issued, these remain in significantly lower supply and command a higher asking price from potential buyers. Gold certificates with lower face values ($10, $20 on average) typically sell for double their face value but can command higher prices depending on the certificate's condition.

Many collectors love adding gold certificates to their rare currency collections due their significance in American history and their aesthetically pleasing designs. The vivid orange-gold coloring decorating both the front and back of the gold certificate notes symbolizes the gold by which they were backed. These certificates, like many forms of currency, capture part of the story of our ever-evolving nation.

For more information about gold certificates and available stock, please visit one of four Bellevue Rare Coins locations in the Greater Seattle Area.

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Since 1979, Bellevue Rare Coins has been a trusted, family-owned business serving the Greater Seattle Area with locations in Bellevue, Lynnwood, Issaquah, and West Seattle. Specializing in gold, silver, diamond, and jewelry purchasing, in addition to dealing in rare coins. We now offer a vast selection of fine, vintage and custom designed jewelry. Visit anyone of our four friendly locations for the best deals selling or buying.

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