Did you ever know that the U.S. currency system used to have the $500, $1000, and even $5000 dollar bills? It may come as a surprise to many, but the United States government issued high denomination currency notes for almost a century before discontinuing them in 1969.
As an important part of the history of US currency, high denomination bills refer to bills with face values greater than $100. These high denomination dollar bills were primarily used for large transactions between banks and businesses, rather than for everyday use by individuals. Although they are no longer printed, they remain an important and fascinating part of US currency history.
Historical Of The High Denominations
The US government also issued the very first high-denomination notes during the civil war by the Interest-bearing notes including $500, $1,000, and $5,000 denomination. Congress authorized the issuance of these notes on July 17, 1861, with the purpose of financing the cost incurred by the civil war.
As time passed, high-denomination notes were printed and issued on a variety of different types of U.S. currency. The designs of these high denomination obverse typically feature historical figures, allegorical figures symbolizing significant concepts (such as liberty and justice), or a combination of both. Conversely, the reverse designs can range from abstract scroll-work with ornate denomination identifiers to reproductions of historical artworks.
High-denomination currency issued before the 1900s is now considered ultra-rare and highly sought-after by collectors. There are only a limited number of these high-denomination notes still in existence today, with most of them in private collections or museums. The market value of these notes can be staggering and often exceeds six figures, reflecting their rarity and numismatic value.
The Last Series Of Large Denomination
The Series of 1934 Federal Reserve Notes were the last high denomination notes issued by the United States as small-size paper money. These notes included denominations of $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000. They were first issued on July 10, 1934, and were printed until December 1945. The notes were issued as part of an effort to facilitate large transactions between banks and businesses.
The $500 Five Hundred Dollars Bill featured a portrait of William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States. The $1,000 note featured a portrait of Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th President. The $5,000 note featured a portrait of James Madison, the 4th President, and the $10,000 note featured a portrait of Salmon P. Chase, who served as the Treasury Secretary under President Abraham Lincoln.
In 1969, the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Bank announced the discontinuation of high-denomination notes due to concerns about their use in illegal activities, such as money laundering and tax evasion. The decision was also made due to the lack of demand for these large denominations in everyday transactions.
The $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 notes were the denominations affected by the decision to discontinue the use of high-denomination notes. Although they remained legal tender, they were no longer being printed and had slowly disappeared from circulation by 1969. Any high-denomination notes that were deposited in commercial banks were turned over to the Federal Reserve Bank to be destroyed. The process of removing these notes from circulation continued until the present day.
Although these high denomination notes are no longer printed, they are still considered legal tender and can be redeemed at their face value. However, most of these notes are in the hands of collectors and are extremely rare.
The Value of The Large Denomination US Currency
Due to their rarity and the fact that they are no longer printed, they have become highly sought after by collectors. High-denomination US currency, particularly the $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 bills, are considered rare collectibles due to their discontinuation in 1969. Although they are still legal tender and can be redeemed at face value, most of these notes are usually in the hands of collectors, dealers with market prices that can easily exceed many times their face value.
The value of high-denomination currency notes is typically determined by their condition, rarity, issuing quantity. Most of the notes that are in pristine condition and have not been circulated are generally the most valuable. Furthermore, high-denomination notes with lower serial numbers, such as those with a serial number of "00000001," are also highly sought after by collectors and can command significant premiums.
Another factor that affects the value of large denomination US currency can also vary depending on their specific series and date of issue. For example, high-denomination notes from the series of 1928 are generally more valuable than notes from the series of 1934.
- $500 dollars bill: Depending on the condition, the market value of a $500 bill ranges from around $1000 to over $6000.
- $1,000 dollars bill: The market value for a $1,000 bill ranges from around $2,500 to over $10,000, depending on its condition.
- $5,000 and $10,000 dollars bills: Due to the limited amount of surviving notes for these denominations, their market price can be astronomically high and often defies belief. Many of the notes in pristine condition can be worth six figures or more.
At Collectibles & Currency, we take great care in sourcing large denomination bills to ensure their authenticity and quality. We work with the most trusted third-party grading companies to grade and certify each note, so you can rest assured that you are getting a genuine and accurately graded note based on its current condition.