Rare American banknotes that can sell for large sums to collectors

Rare American banknotes that can sell for large sums to collectors

In 1969, the $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills were withdrawn from circulation due to concerns about money laundering and tax evasion. And at the end of 2022, there were about 1.5 billion two-dollar bills in circulation, making them the rarest US currency. Gobankingrates has collected information about rare and unique American banknotes that are worth more than their face value.

The US government contemplated issuing a $3 bill in 1862, but this never happened as they began printing the $2 bill, which is still issued today. Nowadays the term “three dollar bill” is widely used only to refer to something counterfeit.

According to the US Federal Reserve, there were approximately 1.5 billion $2 notes in circulation as of December 31, 2022, making them the rarest US currency to date. It was not officially removed from use.

You can make a fortune

$2 bills are not that rare, but some varieties can fetch anywhere from $3 to $2,500 at auction or from a collector. However, there are higher denomination notes that, although no longer in use, are still legal tender and have a high value.

On July 14, 1969, the US Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve announced that the $500, $1000, $5000 and $10,000 banknotes were being withdrawn from circulation due to lack of demand. These notes were used primarily for large transactions between banks, but their use was abandoned due to, among other things, concerns about money laundering and tax evasion.

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Nevertheless, they exist. In the hands of collectors and dealers, you can find banknotes in denominations of $500, $1000, $5000 and $10,000. But 1969 was not that long ago, so if you come across a strange bill with the face of an unfamiliar president, do not be so quick to dismiss it as a fake.

Five retired American bills

$500 bill

There have been several variations of the $500 bill over the years, the last time it was printed was in 1945. With President William McKinley’s portrait on the front, the bill was officially retired in 1969 along with other high-denomination bills, making it scarce. According to Collectibles & Currency magazine, the 1928 series is more collectible than the 1934 series, but depending on condition, an old $500 bill can fetch between $800 and $4,000. The $500 bills printed in 1918 depict John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Photo: IStock

$1000 banknote. The first bill was printed in 1861, during the American Civil War, but it did not become widespread until the 1920s. At first, the front side depicted US Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, but then it was replaced with an image of President Grover Cleveland McKinley. While most cost an average of $1,650, some $1,000 bills have sold for more than $100,000.

$5000 banknote depicting President James Madison was last printed in 1945. Along with $500 and $1000 bills, it was discontinued in 1969. Like the $500 bill, the 1928 $5,000 bill is less common than the 1934 bill, and only about two dozen 1928 bills are known to exist, according to Old Currency Values. A $5,000 bill can be purchased for $15,000 to $25,000, according to US Currency Auctions, depending on its condition and grade, printing and series.

Big bets

$10,000 bill. An uncirculated $10,000 bill from 1934 recently sold at auction in California for $480,000, Barron’s Penta reported. “Large denomination notes have always attracted interest from collectors of all levels,” Dustin Johnston, vice president of currency at Heritage Auctions, said in a statement.

The $10,000 bill, featuring Salmon P. Chase, Abraham Lincoln’s Treasury Secretary and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was last printed in 1945. It was discontinued in 1969 for the same reasons as other high-denomination banknotes and is heavily bid for at auction. In fact, collectors are prohibited from holding the $100,000 bill.

$100,000 bill – the highest denomination ever printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing – was a gold certificate bearing the likeness of President Woodrow Wilson and was used only as a means of recording transactions between branches of the Federal Reserve System. Printed in 1934, the note was never in widespread circulation and, although interesting and historically significant, now has no current monetary value in the form of denomination or legal tender.

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