Educational Series

The Educational Series series of notes is the informal nickname given by numismatists to a series of United States Silver Certificates produced by the United States Treasury in 1896. The notes depict various allegorical motifs and are considered by some numismatists to be the most beautiful monetary designs ever produced by the United States.


The obverse of the notes depict a neoclassical allegorical motif, which dominates the front of the note. The motifs are meant as representations of the theme written on the note. The back contained the profiles of two American figures (usually famous Americans) set against an ornate background.

Denominations of $1, $2, and $5 were produced.


The naked breasts of the female figures on the $5 Silver Certificate reportedly caused some minor controversy when several Boston society ladies took offense to the design. Some bankers reportedly refused to accept the notes in transactions, and the term banned in Boston allegedly originates from the $5 Silver Certificate. The notes were quickly replaced for the Series of 1899 notes.


Educational Series
Image Value Dimensions Description
Obverse Reverse Allegorical Motif Obverse Reverse
$1 Large-sized History Instructing Youth The Goddess History instructing a youth, pointing to a panoramic vista view of the Potomac River and Washington D.C. The Washington Monument and the US Capitol Building is visible in the background. The United States Constitution is displayed to the right. Circling around the motif are the last names of famous Americans. Some of the listed are: (George) Washington, (Benjamin) Franklin, (Thomas) Jefferson, (Robert) Fulton, (Samuel F.B.) Morse, and (Ulysses S.) Grant. Martha Washington, George Washington
$2 Science presents Steam and Electricity to Commerce and Manufacture Science (center) presents Steam and Electricity (the two children) to the more mature figures of Commerce (left) and Manufacture (right). Robert Fulton, Samuel F.B. Morse
$5 Electricity as the Dominant Force in the World Electricity surrounded by other allegorical figures, representing the dominant force in the world. The United States Capitol building can be seen behind the female figures. Ulysses S. Grant, Philip Sheridan


External References

  • A Guide Book Of United States Paper Money: Complete Source for History, Grading, and Prices by Arthur L. Friedberg (Compiler), Ira S. Friedberg (Compiler), and Q. David Bowers. ISBN 0-7948-1786-6
  • FRBSF Currency Exhibit

Portions of this article used material from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco website, which is in the public domain.

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