Gold certificates were issued from 1863 to 1933. In 1865 the first gold certificates were issued to the public. Gold certificates were largely use by banks and other financial institutions. It guaranteed the holder a corresponding amount of physical gold. 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. And for the next 30 years it was illegal to own these notes, up until 1964. 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 is the highest denomination paper money ever printed by the Federal government.