Introduction to Large Size Type

We say “Large Size Type” when we are speaking of notes from 1861-1928 because they are physically bigger than notes made today. In 1928 the US started making notes in their current size. Large Size Type are popular to collect as they have a great variety of designs which are drastically different than anything found in the last eighty five years. Also, everything now is a Federal Reserve Note. That means the Federal Reserve Bank promises to back the value of the note. This has been the case since the 1960’s, but before then notes were backed by a variety of things including physical silver and gold.

There are 6 major types of notes that are considered Large Size Type:

  • Legal Tender

1303430 front

  • Silver Certificates

1508379 front

  • Treasury Notes

1511168 front

  • Federal Reserve Bank Notes

1602121 front


  • Federal Reserve Notes

1203433 front


  • Gold Notes

1404098 front


In the future, I’ll get into the details of each type. For now we’ll just hit the basics of each one. One thing to realize is that years on US currency is different than coins. For coins, the year on the coin is the year the coin was made. For currency, the year on the note is the year the note was authorized by Congress. So if you were born in 1970 and want a note dated 1970, you are out of luck. They were still making 1969 notes until 1974.

Legal Tender are just obligations on the government of the United States of America. They range from series of 1862 to series of 1923.

Silver Certificates were able to be redeemed for physical silver. These are among the most popular notes out there. They range from very expensive to very inexpensive. And there are many different designs. They range from series of 1878 to series of 1923.

Treasury Notes were able to be redeemed for either Silver or Gold. They were made in series of 1890-1891.

Federal Reserve Bank Notes are obligations on an individual Federal Reserve Bank. They come in years of 1918 for all denominations, and 1915 as well for $5’s, $10’s, and $20’s.

Federal Reserve Notes are obligations on the entire Federal Reserve system. They are the currency that looks the most similar to notes in circulation today. They are all the series of 1914, except denominations of $500 and $1000 which are the series of 1918.

Gold Certificates were able to be redeemed to physical gold. They all have a beautiful gold color. There were some early years made, but the ones that are not fantastically rare were make from the series of 1886 until the series of 1922.

Those are the basics of Large Size Type. In the future we’ll get into each one in more detail.