Legal Tender Notes from JM Bullion
Modern legal tender notes are not a typical investment of precious metal enthusiasts, but for collectors of historic American currency, modern legal tender offers an alternative to classic gold and silver coins. Enhanced modern legal tender notes are also a good, affordable alternative to classic American currency designs found on modern bullion coins from the US Mint and other sovereign mints. For the American currency collector, our new lineup of legal tender notes is perfect.
Federal Reserve Notes
When you shop our new selection of enhanced Federal Reserve Notes, you are purchasing items that are modified versions of the Federal Reserve Note. The denominations and designs of America’s modern paper money, the Federal Reserve Note debuted in 1914 and grew to include the modern denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. Each note has its own unique obverse and reverse designs. For the production of these enhanced, collectible Federal Reserve Notes, the three smallest denominations of US Federal Reserve Notes are chosen for this unique process. The $1 and $5 have very wide circulation, while the $2 has limited circulation and is one of the most popular for use in enhancement projects.
Enhanced Note Designs
The legal tender notes available at JM Bullion feature the original reverse designs as issued by the United States, but each one has a unique obverse design. This design has been superimposed on the obverse side over the portrait of a United States President. The images are recreated with high-definition graphics in a unique process that is proprietary to the third-party dealer that created the specimens. That dealer has chosen some of the most coveted designs from the history of American currency, most of which come from paper note series issued in the United States prior to the existence of the modern Federal Reserve Note. With these beautiful, colorized graphics on the obverse, each note has been transformed into a collectible piece that would never be spent in circulation.
All of the notes are uncirculated, clean, crisp bills that have been taken directly from Federal Reserve packs. Once enhanced with the historic designs, the notes are packaged inside of individual bi-fold presentation folios with the bill housed on one side of the folio and a Certificate of Authenticity on the other side.
Examples of Historic Note Designs
While modern US money is respected around the world as a stable form of fiat currency, the Federal Reserve Note is nowhere near as artistic as the historic forms of US currency that were produced in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. The enhanced legal tender notes you will find for sale at JM Bullion come from collections such as the US Silver Certificate and the United States Note, forms of currency last accepted in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. While the collection of notable designs changes, below are some examples of the popular designs you will find on these enhanced legal tender notes:
- Educational Series – America’s most beautiful paper designs ever, the three female allegories of the Educational Series were introduced in 1896 on the US Silver Certificate Series. The effigies appeared on the $1, $2, and $5 denominations of the US Silver Certificate from 1896 to early 1899. Each design was replicated on the obverse of modern $1, $2, and $5 Federal Reserve Notes for collectors to once again purchase.
- Black Eagle – The design that replaced the Educational Series design on the $1 US Silver Certificate in 1899, the Black Eagle was the final $1 design in this series before the introduction of President George Washington on $1 notes and was one of the nation’s final large-sized note designs. The Black Eagle features the American bald eagle with wings flexed and the American flag on a pole. The Black Eagle design was the first and only in American history to feature two presidents on one side of the note.
- Washington Porthole – Only once in American history has President Washington featured on the obverse of a $2 note. That came in 1899 with the release of the $2 Silver Certificate. The porthole design references the placement of President Washington’s effigy within an oval shape that makes it appear as though he is viewing the designs around him from the porthole of a ship. This design concept has been repeated on various US notes since.
- Running Antelope – The first Native American to ever feature on American paper money, or any form of American currency, was Running Antelope. Another design to replace the Educational Series, Running Antelope’s effigy appeared in 1899 on the $5 Silver Certificate. It captured the confident appearance of Running Antelope, the chief of the Hunkpapa tribe of Lakota people from 1851 until his death.
- Bison Note – Another of America’s most beloved historic coin designs, the image known as the Bison Note appeared on the 1901 $10 United States Note. It features a massive, shaggy buffalo at the center with effigies of Lewis & Clark flanking the buffalo’s image. The Bison Note was one of the final issues of large-sized notes in the United States Note Series and was roughly 40% larger than the modern Federal Reserve Note in your pocket today.
Background of US Paper Money
The first paper notes ever issued in what is now the United States of America were Continental Dollars, the first-ever issue of paper money as a form of notes. The United States government first issued paper money in 1861 in the form of the Demand Note. The administration of President Abraham Lincoln issued Demand Notes as a way of financing the Union Army during the Civil War. During the war, the US government began to issue a range of new notes that would continue for more than a century:
- United States Note: The first major banknote issued in the United States, the US Note was redeemable from 1862 to 1971. As of 2021, the US Note remains the longest-running paper money program in American history. The Federal Reserve Note, the modern series issued in 1914, will not surpass the United States Note in longevity until 2024.
- Silver Certificate: Another of the earliest issues of paper money came in the form of the Silver Certificate. Introduced in 1878 and produced through 1964, Silver Certificates were redeemable through 1968 for silver. Initially, Silver Certificates were redeemable for silver dollar coins, and in the final year (1967-1968) for the raw silver bullion.
- Gold Certificate: US Gold Certificates were issued from 1863 to 1933 and were no longer redeemable as a form of US paper currency following the country’s exit from the gold standard amidst the Great Depression.
- National Bank Note: One of the more unique paper notes in American history, National Bank Notes were designed and issued by National Banks across the United States. Only those banks with a charter from the United States government could issue National Bank Notes.
- Federal Reserve Bank Note: Federal Reserve Bank Notes were forerunners to the modern Federal Reserve Note. The major difference between the two was that Federal Reserve Bank Notes were backed by one of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks across the country. Federal Reserve Notes are backed by all 12 banks collectively.
- Federal Reserve Note: The modern and now only form of paper currency accepted in the United States, the Federal Reserve Note comes in denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. These notes come with effigies of US Presidents or former national dignitaries on the obverse with varying images on the reverse.
Collecting New Legal Tender Notes with JM Bullion
Historic US note designs and modern legal tender notes have collided in these beautiful collectible issues. If you have any questions about these new legal tender notes in the JM Bullion catalog, you can call us at 800-276-6508. Our team is also available to you online through our live chat and email address features. For questions about our payment methods and purchasing minimums/maximums, please reference our Payment Methods FAQ and then reach out to our customer service team if you have any further questions.