High denominations of US currency

Outside of a Monopoly game, most Americans likely have never encountered a denomination of paper money higher than $100.

Though it might be hard to believe, paper money denominated $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 once circulated in the United States. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing even printed high-denomination notes with a face value as high as $100,000.

While high-denomination notes are something collectors of world paper money are very familiar with, particularly notes from nations experiencing hyperinflation, high-denomination U.S. paper money isn’t commonly known, mostly because the notes haven’t circulated for a long time.

The notes often show beautiful allegory and forgotten statesmen.

On July 14, 1969, the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve announced that high-denomination notes would be discontinued immediately due to lack of use. Though these notes — in denominations of $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 — were issued until 1969, the last of them had been printed more than 20 years before.

These notes are still legal tender and some are extant, remaining technically “in circulation.” Federal Reserve Banks destroy them as they are received in the system.

Notes in denominations of more than $100 were issued both in large-size (pre-1929) and small-size series.

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Category - Informative
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