What Is the Rarest Silver Certificate

What Is the Rarest Silver Certificate?

Silver certificates were a form of paper currency that were issued by the United States government from 1878 to 1964. These certificates were backed by silver reserves held by the Treasury Department, and could be redeemed for their face value in silver coin or bullion.

Throughout their history, several different designs and denominations of silver certificates were issued. However, when it comes to rarity, one particular type stands out: the 1890 $1,000 Grand Watermelon note.

The $1,000 Grand Watermelon note earned its unique name due to the distinctive appearance of the zeros on the back of the bill, which resemble watermelons. The design features large green zeros with curved lines, resembling the outer rind of a watermelon, hence the nickname.

Only two examples of the Grand Watermelon note are known to exist today, making it the rarest silver certificate. One of these notes is housed in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution, while the other is privately owned and was last sold at auction in 2014 for a record-breaking price of $3.29 million.

The rarity of the Grand Watermelon note can be attributed to the fact that $1,000 bills were already scarce during the late 19th century, and most were withdrawn from circulation and destroyed. Additionally, the unique design of the note, combined with its high denomination, further contributed to its rarity.


Q: Are all silver certificates valuable?

A: While most silver certificates hold some value due to their historical significance, rarity and condition play a significant role in determining their worth. Generally, older and scarcer silver certificates tend to be more valuable.

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Q: How can I determine the value of my silver certificate?

A: The value of a silver certificate depends on factors such as its age, condition, rarity, and demand. It is recommended to consult with a reputable currency dealer or appraiser who specializes in paper money to get an accurate valuation.

Q: Can I still redeem a silver certificate for silver?

A: No, silver certificates are no longer redeemable for silver. The redemption window for silver certificates expired in 1968. However, these certificates can still be bought, sold, and collected as numismatic items.

Q: Are there any other rare silver certificates?

A: Yes, aside from the Grand Watermelon note, there are several other rare silver certificates worth mentioning. Some examples include the 1891 $1,000 Treasury or “Marcy” note, the 1891 $500 “Sherman” note, and the 1880 $1,000 “Lazy Deuce” note. These are all highly sought after by collectors and can command high prices at auctions.

In conclusion, the 1890 $1,000 Grand Watermelon note stands as the rarest silver certificate known today, with only two examples in existence. Its unique design, combined with its scarcity, has made it a highly prized piece among currency collectors and enthusiasts.