Nicknames for paper money abound in the “folding money” collecting hobby.
So it is no surprise that when newer collectors come across a term
in an old catalog or reference book that they’ve not heard of
before, they start asking questions.
Here’s one Coin World has heard many times before: What does
it mean when a catalog/book refers to a “horse blanket” note?
The quick answer is that the term “horse blanket” note is sometimes
used as a general nickname for large-size notes of all types.
You may see the term “horse blanket” or even “saddle blankets,”
especially when referring to the large-size Series 1923 silver certificates.
The face of those notes feature a portrait of George Washington. At
first glance the design looks like an early small-size Federal Reserve
note, but a closer look reveals the note bears blue serial numbers,
Treasury seal and a large numeral 1. Blue was the designated color for
The back design is fairly plain, compared to other large-size silver
certificates. The text across the back THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA /
ONE DOLLAR, nearly fills the center of the note. Three numeral 1s each
appear on the right and left sides of the design.
Large-size notes were first issued in 1861 when the federal
government began printing demand notes. Large-size notes of all types
continued to be printed and circulated until small-size notes were
introduced in 1929.
While those so-called “horse blanket” notes were large, at 3.125
inches by 7.375 inches it is an exaggeration to say they could cover a
horse’s back underneath its saddle.
When small-size notes were introduced, banks and manufacturers
prepared the public for a change in the size of wallets and money
purses. The downsizing would accommodate the new sized paper cash.