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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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Series 1976 U.S. $2.00 Note w/ First Day Stamp - Crisp Bicentennial!
Nov 01, 5:00 PM EDT
Series 1976 U.S. $2.00 Note w/ First Day Stamp - Crisp Bicentennial!
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$117 Bids
1901 $10.00 Legal Tender Bison Note
Nov 27, 10:00 AM EST
1901 $10.00 Legal Tender Bison Note
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$2006 Bids
2 consectutive Australian 1st issue $10 polymer notes AA prefix
Oct 28, 7:00 PM AEDT
2 consectutive Australian 1st issue $10 polymer notes AA prefix
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD605 Bids
U.S. 1922 20-Dollar Gold Coin Note, Large Size
Oct 26, 10:00 AM EDT
U.S. 1922 20-Dollar Gold Coin Note, Large Size
by Weschler's
Est: $50- $100
$2005 Bids
10-CU BANK OF ZIMBABWE 5 BILLION DOLLAR NOTES
Oct 26, 11:00 AM EDT
10-CU BANK OF ZIMBABWE 5 BILLION DOLLAR NOTES
by Silver City Auctions
Est: $150- $200
$255 Bids
Collection Assorted Australian paper bank notes
Oct 28, 7:00 PM AEDT
Collection Assorted Australian paper bank notes
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD403 Bids
1x Commonwealth Of Australian, 10 Shillings Banknote
Nov 13, 7:00 PM AEST
1x Commonwealth Of Australian, 10 Shillings Banknote
by Jewellery Auctions Unlimited
Est: AUD165- AUD220
AUD503 Bids
100 x Australian 2 Dollar Bank Note
Nov 13, 7:00 PM AEST
100 x Australian 2 Dollar Bank Note
by Jewellery Auctions Unlimited
Est: AUD600- AUD800
AUD1503 Bids
1882 $5.00 Date Back NB Fayetteville N.C. Note
Nov 27, 10:00 AM EST
1882 $5.00 Date Back NB Fayetteville N.C. Note
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$1803 Bids
Australian 1st issue $10 polymer note AA prefix
Oct 28, 7:00 PM AEDT
Australian 1st issue $10 polymer note AA prefix
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD353 Bids
1956 Five Dollars Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Co. Currency Note
Oct 27, 1:00 PM CDT
1956 Five Dollars Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Co. Currency Note
by McCurley Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$32 Bids
1890 $5 Treasury Note
Oct 27, 8:00 AM PDT
1890 $5 Treasury Note
by BK Auctions
Est: $3,500- $4,000
$352 Bids
Four US Bank Notes
Oct 27, 1:00 PM CDT
Four US Bank Notes
by Neal Auction Company
Est: $500- $700
$1752 Bids
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$5 POLYMER FEDERATION BANKNOTE
Oct 28, 9:30 AM AEST
$5 POLYMER FEDERATION BANKNOTE
by Albion Antique Auction Centre
Est: AUD15- AUD40
AUD202 Bids
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$10 COMMONWEALTH BANK NOTE
Oct 28, 9:30 AM AEST
$10 COMMONWEALTH BANK NOTE
by Albion Antique Auction Centre
Est: AUD30- AUD80
AUD352 Bids
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$5 COMMONWEALTH BANK NOTE
Oct 28, 9:30 AM AEST
$5 COMMONWEALTH BANK NOTE
by Albion Antique Auction Centre
Est: AUD20- AUD50
AUD252 Bids
1899 Lab Tested 24k Gold $2 Silver Certificate Banknote
Oct 30, 12:00 PM EDT
1899 Lab Tested 24k Gold $2 Silver Certificate Banknote
by South Florida Auction & Estate Sale Services
Est: $6- $1,000
$61 Bid
MIXED LOT OF BROKEN BANK NOTES
Oct 26, 11:00 AM EDT
MIXED LOT OF BROKEN BANK NOTES
by Silver City Auctions
Est: $130- $150
$101 Bid
18-- $1 REMAINDER NOTE BANK OF AMERICA PCGS 64 PPQ
Oct 26, 11:00 AM EDT
18-- $1 REMAINDER NOTE BANK OF AMERICA PCGS 64 PPQ
by Silver City Auctions
Est: $100- $125
$101 Bid
18-- $2 REMAINDER NOTE BANK OF AMERICA PCGS 58 PPQ
Oct 26, 11:00 AM EDT
18-- $2 REMAINDER NOTE BANK OF AMERICA PCGS 58 PPQ
by Silver City Auctions
Est: $125- $150
$101 Bid
1 x Australian Polymer 10 Dollar Bank Note
Nov 13, 7:00 PM AEST
1 x Australian Polymer 10 Dollar Bank Note
by Jewellery Auctions Unlimited
Est: AUD123- AUD165
AUD101 Bid
1x Bank of Egypt Fifty Plastres Banknote
Nov 13, 7:00 PM AEST
1x Bank of Egypt Fifty Plastres Banknote
by Jewellery Auctions Unlimited
Est: AUD18- AUD25
AUD51 Bid
5 assorted paper banknotes
Oct 28, 7:00 PM AEDT
5 assorted paper banknotes
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD201 Bid
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American Bank Note Company Commemorative Archive Series (45 Prints) [140723]
Oct 31, 8:00 AM PDT
American Bank Note Company Commemorative Archive Series (45 Prints) [140723]
by Holabird Western Americana
Est: $300- $400
$1501 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Bank Notes


Carroll's Auctioneers & Appraisers

Carroll's Auctioneers & Appraisers

BK Auctions

BK Auctions

Grant Zahajko Auctions, LLC

Grant Zahajko Auctions, LLC