Magazine article Financial History

New Acquisition: Educational Series Note

Magazine article Financial History

New Acquisition: Educational Series Note

Article excerpt

The Museum recently added to its collection one of the most beautiful historical examples of US paper money. The Educational Series $1 note is renowned in the numismatic community for its detailed engraving, and it is generally considered to be among the most attractive and artistically-designed examples of US currency. The note was recently donated to the Museum by Trustee Mark Shenkman.

Educational Series notes are examples of early silver certificates, a type of legal tender introduced by Congress in 1878 and issued until the late-1960s. These notes could be redeemed for silver dollar coins or silver bullion from the Treasury. There were many issues of silver certificates, but the third issue, known as the Educational Series, is the most famous.

This series was issued in 1896 in denominations of $1, $2 and $5. It is easy to see where the notes got their name. The $1 note, shown here, depicts an allegorical scene of History instructing a youth with the US Constitution in the foreground. History points into the distance of a panorama of Washington, DC that features the Washington Monument and the Capitol building. The wreathed names of prominent Americans form a border around the scene.

The back of the note features the portraits of George and Martha Washington. In addition to the striking illustrations, this note is also significant because Martha's likeness is the only example of a woman's portrait on US paper money.

The other notes in this series also feature allegorical motifs with portraits of prominent Americans on the back. The $2 note depicts Science as a goddess presenting steam and electricity (represented by children) to Commerce and Manufacture (represented by women) with portraits of Samuel Morse and Robert Fulton on the reverse. The $5 note depicts Electricity as an allegorical female figure with portraits of Ulysses S. Grant and Phillip Sheridan on the reverse.

The Museum is excited to add such an important numismatic piece to its rapidlygrowing paper currency collection. This note is currently on display in the Museum's permanent exhibition, "Money: A History."



The Museum is most grateful for the support of the following corporations and foundations who have generously provided funding for the Museum in the past year.

* The Adirondack Trust Company

* Alexander Foundation

* American Express

* Anna-Maria & Stephen Kellen Foundation

* Anonymous

* The Asher Family Foundation

* Aronson Johnson Ortiz

* Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

* Barrett Asset Management

* BlackRock, Inc. …

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