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Bank Notes

Early banking in the United States was largely decentralized. Although there were several attempts at a central bank, notably by Alexander Hamilton in 1791, none of them persisted for more than 20 years. The first centralized banknotes were printed in 1914. From 1914 to 1928, United States banknotes were much larger than they are today. They were only slimmed down to their modern profile in 1928 when the Federal Reserve had to lessen operating costs.

The modern $1 note debuted in 1963, although it had existed sporadically prior as a silver certificate. The $2 note existed as a large note prior to 1928's redesign and survived until 1966, at which point it was discontinued temporarily. The $2 note was revived in 1976 and continues to be printed today despite its rare usage.

Since 2003, the Federal Reserve has been slowly revising the various denominations of banknotes. Newer notes have increased amounts of color, as well as a sleeker, more modern look and increased security against counterfeiting. The $1 and $2 notes have yet to be redesigned.


Quick Facts

  • The $1 note's continued survival is still debated today. Many politicians wish to see the note replaced with a $1 coin, as it would save a lot of money due to the low durability and high use of the $1 in particular
  • Although many people are unaware of the $2 note's existence, it has been turning up more as a convenient and unique tip in recent years
  • In 2014, an 1890 $1,000 note known as the Grand Watermelon sold at auction for $3,290,000

Recommended Items at Auction

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1934 $500 NEW YORK GREEN SEAL FEDERAL RESERVE BANK NOTE FR. 2201-B
Feb 25, 9:00 AM MST
1934 $500 NEW YORK GREEN SEAL FEDERAL RESERVE BANK NOTE FR. 2201-B
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$88019 Bids
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1899 $2 BLUE SEAL MINI PORTHOLE SILVER CERTIFICATE BANK NOTE FR.258
Feb 25, 9:00 AM MST
1899 $2 BLUE SEAL MINI PORTHOLE SILVER CERTIFICATE BANK NOTE FR.258
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$32018 Bids
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1901 $10 BISON LEGAL TENDER BANK NOTE PMG 15 CHOICE FINE FR.119
Feb 25, 9:00 AM MST
1901 $10 BISON LEGAL TENDER BANK NOTE PMG 15 CHOICE FINE FR.119
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$42012 Bids
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1997 4 TROY OZ .999 $100 FRANKLIN SILVER PROOF REPLICA BANK NOTE
Feb 25, 9:00 AM MST
1997 4 TROY OZ .999 $100 FRANKLIN SILVER PROOF REPLICA BANK NOTE
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$15012 Bids
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1899 $5 INDIAN CHIEF SILVER CERTIFICATE BANK NOTE FR.273
Feb 25, 9:00 AM MST
1899 $5 INDIAN CHIEF SILVER CERTIFICATE BANK NOTE FR.273
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$42011 Bids
Banco de Puerto Rico, 1909, Issued and Uncancelled Banknote Rarity
Mar 06, 11:00 AM EST
Banco de Puerto Rico, 1909, Issued and Uncancelled Banknote Rarity
by Archives International Auctions, LLC
Est: $2,500- $4,000
$35010 Bids
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1918 RICHMOND $1 BLUE SEAL FEDERAL RESERVE LARGE BANK NOTE FR.722
Feb 25, 9:00 AM MST
1918 RICHMOND $1 BLUE SEAL FEDERAL RESERVE LARGE BANK NOTE FR.722
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$1509 Bids
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1950-D NEW YORK $100 GREEN SEAL FEDERAL RESERVE BANK NOTE FR.2161B
Feb 25, 9:00 AM MST
1950-D NEW YORK $100 GREEN SEAL FEDERAL RESERVE BANK NOTE FR.2161B
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$908 Bids
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1899 BLACK EAGLE $1 SILVER CERTIFICATE BANK NOTE FR.227
Feb 25, 9:00 AM MST
1899 BLACK EAGLE $1 SILVER CERTIFICATE BANK NOTE FR.227
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$1107 Bids
Assortment Of 20 Different Banknotes From 20 Different Countries.
Feb 22, 5:00 PM EST
Assortment Of 20 Different Banknotes From 20 Different Countries.
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$86 Bids
Narodni Banka Ceskoslovenská, 1945, Issued Banknote
Mar 06, 11:00 AM EST
Narodni Banka Ceskoslovenská, 1945, Issued Banknote
by Archives International Auctions, LLC
Est: $180- $350
$355 Bids
National Bank of Czechoslovakia, 1945, Issued Banknote
Mar 06, 11:00 AM EST
National Bank of Czechoslovakia, 1945, Issued Banknote
by Archives International Auctions, LLC
Est: $85- $170
$355 Bids
Bank of Montreal Canada 5 Dollar Uncirculated Bill
Feb 24, 11:00 AM EST
Bank of Montreal Canada 5 Dollar Uncirculated Bill
by Kavanagh Auctions
Est: $40- $15,000
$1804 Bids
Narodni Banka Ceskoslovenská, 1931, Specimen Banknote
Mar 06, 11:00 AM EST
Narodni Banka Ceskoslovenská, 1931, Specimen Banknote
by Archives International Auctions, LLC
Est: $150- $300
$354 Bids
Government of India, 1917, Issued Banknote
Mar 06, 11:00 AM EST
Government of India, 1917, Issued Banknote
by Archives International Auctions, LLC
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$304 Bids
India and Nepal Trio of Banknotes, 1937 to 1997
Mar 06, 11:00 AM EST
India and Nepal Trio of Banknotes, 1937 to 1997
by Archives International Auctions, LLC
Est: $150- $250
$253 Bids
European Assortment of Issued Banknotes, ND (1852)-1968
Mar 06, 11:00 AM EST
European Assortment of Issued Banknotes, ND (1852)-1968
by Archives International Auctions, LLC
Est: $150- $250
$253 Bids
South African Reserve Bank, 1952, Issued Banknote
Mar 06, 11:00 AM EST
South African Reserve Bank, 1952, Issued Banknote
by Archives International Auctions, LLC
Est: $2,500- $5,000
$103 Bids
Burma. Reserve Bank of India, ND (1938), Issued Banknote
Mar 06, 11:00 AM EST
Burma. Reserve Bank of India, ND (1938), Issued Banknote
by Archives International Auctions, LLC
Est: $200- $400
$202 Bids
China, Malaya, and Ceylon, Issued Banknote Assortment, ca.1936 to 1945.
Mar 06, 11:00 AM EST
China, Malaya, and Ceylon, Issued Banknote Assortment, ca.1936 to 1945.
by Archives International Auctions, LLC
Est: $200- $350
$102 Bids
Reserve Bank of India, ND (1943), Issued Banknote
Mar 06, 11:00 AM EST
Reserve Bank of India, ND (1943), Issued Banknote
by Archives International Auctions, LLC
Est: $250- $500
$102 Bids
Protectorate of Bohemia & Moravia, 1944, Specimen Banknote
Mar 06, 11:00 AM EST
Protectorate of Bohemia & Moravia, 1944, Specimen Banknote
by Archives International Auctions, LLC
Est: $80- $160
$152 Bids
Protectorate of Bohemia & Moravia, 1944, "Top Pop" Specimen Banknote
Mar 06, 11:00 AM EST
Protectorate of Bohemia & Moravia, 1944, "Top Pop" Specimen Banknote
by Archives International Auctions, LLC
Est: $200- $400
$152 Bids
National Bank of Bohemia and Moravia, 1942, "Top Pop" Specimen Banknote
Mar 06, 11:00 AM EST
National Bank of Bohemia and Moravia, 1942, "Top Pop" Specimen Banknote
by Archives International Auctions, LLC
Est: $250- $500
$152 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Bank Notes


Noonans Mayfair

Noonans Mayfair

Archives International Auctions, LLC

Archives International Auctions, LLC

Stack's Bowers Galleries

Stack's Bowers Galleries

Nomisma S.p.a

Nomisma S.p.a