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1896 Five-Dollar Silver Certificate Controversy A new series of $1, $2 and $5 banknotes were printed by the U.S. government in 1896. Known to collectors as the "educational series," the banknotes used classical art motifs to promote advancements in science. For example, the $5 silver certificate's design (shown below) highlighted the new importance that electricity brought to modern society. However, the naked breasts on the female figures sent some prudish folks into a tizzy. Some merchants and bankers in Boston considered the $5 bills to be obscene and refused to accept them--thus creating the term 'banned in Boston.' Despite the controversy, many banknote collectors consider the 1896 series to be the most beautiful ever produced by the U.S. government.
Tags: 1896  banknotes  numismatics  controversy 
Added: 17th July 2011
Views: 2914
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Posted By: Lava1964
Posted by: Steve on 2011-07-18 
Banned in Boston...I never knew that!
Posted by: Lava1964 on 2011-07-18 
This 'educational series of banknotess, it was hoped, would expose those who lived in rural areas--far away from any museums--to the concept of fine arts.

People had lofty ambitions back then...
Posted by: Pfc on 2011-07-18 
Lava, are these worth more than regular bills?
Posted by: Lava1964 on 2011-07-18 
To answer Pfc's question, the 1896 series of banknotes are extremely prized by collectors. The most desirable are the $5 banknotes which, if in pristine condition, can sell for $8000. The $1 and $2 notes are worth a few hundred dollars apiece.
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