Gold certificates were used as a form of paper currency in the United States from 1882 to 1933. Each certificate guaranteed the holder a corresponding amount of gold coin and was intended to replace gold coinage. The 1882 series was the first that was payable to the bearer, meaning it was transferable, and anyone could redeem it for an equivalent amount of gold. In 1933, the U.S. government ended the policy of redeeming these notes for gold coins. In fact, it was illegal to own these notes up until 1964. Older notes in good condition are highly collectible for their historic value.
Gold certificates were made in two sizes — a larger size from 1865 to 1928 and a smaller size from 1928 to 1934. Woodrow Wilson is depicted on the 1934 $100,000 gold certificate. It was only intended for use in fiscal channels, not for general circulation. It is the highest denomination paper money ever printed by the Federal government.