What are “gold certificates” and “silver certificates”?

These were circulating documents which represented, and could be exchanged for, actual amounts of gold or silver guaranteed to be on deposit in the Treasury of the United States. Gold Certificates were confiscated by Presidential order in 1933, and Silver Certificates lost their redeemability in 1968, although they still were accepted at face value for all public and private debts. Even in the face of these blatant repudiations, the U.S. Government officially maintains that it has never defaulted on its monetary obligations.

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