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Value of a bank note please? My note has a blue, yellow, brown or red seal?
September 25, 2007

Value of a bank note please? My note has a blue (brown, yellow, red) seal?

Since 1966, the federal government of the United States has only printed and issued for circulation notes with the Treasury seal in green - They are Federal Reserve Notes.

Since 1928, bank notes of the United States have been printed in this small size format. Prior to 1966, there were several different types of these small size notes, depending on the issuing authority or the type of backing of the currency, these have different colors to the Treasury Seal. No mater what color seal, all of these notes are still legal tender for their face value.

National Currency, called National Bank notes, have brown seals. These were used until 1929, and although printed by the federal government, were issued into circulation by local banks that held a federal charter, naming them as National Banks. The note issue was backed by government bonds which the named bank bought. Many towns still have a National Bank, and if they are old enough, may have issued a bank note with their name on it.

Yellow seal notes are called Gold Certificates. Until 1933, when the United States was taken off the gold standard, there was a dollar worth of gold held by the government for every dollar gold certificate in circulation.

Blue seal notes were made until 1963 and these notes are called Silver Certificates. At one time there was a dollar worth of silver held by the federal government for each silver certificate in circulation.

Red seal notes are called United States Notes. These were printed with series dates before 1966. The note issue was backed by bonds.

During World War II, the US military personel serving in North Africa were paid with Silver Certificates which had yellow seal. Those notes which circulated in Hawaii were Federal Reserve notes with brown seals. This was done incase large amounts of currency were confiscated by enemy forces. The Federal Goverment would have invalidated the issue.

All of these illustrations are from Lyn Knight Currency Auctions.

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About the Author
George Cuhaj has been with the Krause Publications numismatic team since 1994. He is editor of the various editions of the Standard Catalog of World Coins and the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money. Prior to joining KP, Cuhaj was employed by the American Numismatic Society and Stack's Rare Coins, both of New York City. He is a Fellow in both the Royal Numismatic Society and the American Numismatic Society. He also is a life member and past board member of the International Bank Note Society. Cuhaj was elected an Allied Professional Member of the National Sculpture Society and has had his medallic work exhibited internationally.

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