Gold certificates are certificates that certify gold ownership. Someone who owns a gold certificate is entitled to the amount of gold shown on the certificate. Gold certificates are still issued today by large banks.

In the past, the United States printed paper gold certificates that were used as a form of currency. These paper gold certificates can no longer be redeemed for gold, but they have value as collectible items.

US Gold certificates are easy to identify. Each bill will have a golden seal and serial number on the obverse side of the bill. On most bills the reverse side is colored in a golden shade of orange. In addition, the words "Gold Certificate" will be displayed on the reverse side of most bills.

Continue reading to learn more about US gold certificates and what they can be worth.

1922 20 Dollar Gold Certificate

1922 20 Dollar Gold Certificate Reverse


There were different issues of gold certificates but not all of them were placed into circulation. Some issues were only used between banks for large transactions.

The first gold certificates put into regular circulation were the 1882 series gold certificates. All denominations were included from $20 to $10,000. These early bills are larger in size than the modern small-size bills. The US changed to small-size bills in 1928.

In the 20th century the US issued the series of 1905, 1906, and 1907 in $10 and $20 denominations. Later the US issued the series of 1913 $50 note and the series of 1922 with denominations from $10 to $1,000.

The series of 1928 was the last series issued to the public. These small-size bills were issued in denominations from $10 to $10,000.

1928 500 Dollar Gold Certificate
The 1928 series 500 dollar gold certificate

It was illegal to own gold certificates during the years 1933-1964. This was because President Roosevelt made it illegal to to own non-numismatic gold coins and gold certificates. The Gold Reserve Act of 1934 required that all gold coins and gold certificates be withdrawn from circulation.

On April 24, 1964 Secretary of the Treasury C. Douglas Dillon removed the restrictions on owning gold certificates. This was done under the amended 31 U.S.C. 5118(b).


US Gold certificates can be valuable, especially the early large-size notes. The value is based on the series, the denomination, and the bill's condition.

Small-size gold certificates in the $10 and $20 denominations are the most common. These bills are worth around $100 in very good condition. Star notes can sell for more money.

High denomination bills such as the $500 and $1,000 gold certificates are valuable. These bills will sell for thousands of dollars.

See the list below for detailed values on several different gold certificates:



A Guide Book of United States Paper Money