Loading Spinner

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

See all items

bp parity badge
1934-A $10 YELLOW SEAL NORTH AFRICA BANK NOTE FR2309
Nov 27, 9:00 AM MST
1934-A $10 YELLOW SEAL NORTH AFRICA BANK NOTE FR2309
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$7011 Bids
bp parity badge
LOT OF 9 1953 & 1963 $5 RED SEAL BANK NOTES
Nov 27, 9:00 AM MST
LOT OF 9 1953 & 1963 $5 RED SEAL BANK NOTES
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$7611 Bids
Foreign Banknotes
Nov 29, 5:00 PM CET
Foreign Banknotes
by Nomisma S.p.a
Est: €0- €0
€44010 Bids
LOT OF 6 WWII HAWAII EMERGENCY BANKNOTES $57 FACE
Nov 30, 9:00 AM EST
LOT OF 6 WWII HAWAII EMERGENCY BANKNOTES $57 FACE
by Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC
Est: $250- $350
$2208 Bids
Guatemala, Banco Central 1942 1 Quetzal Banknote
Nov 30, 9:00 AM EST
Guatemala, Banco Central 1942 1 Quetzal Banknote
by Dana J. Tharp Auctions
Est: $35- $1,000
$654 Bids
Foreign Banknotes
Nov 29, 5:00 PM CET
Foreign Banknotes
by Nomisma S.p.a
Est: €0- €0
€654 Bids
Foreign Banknotes
Nov 29, 5:00 PM CET
Foreign Banknotes
by Nomisma S.p.a
Est: €0- €0
€1703 Bids
Foreign Banknotes
Nov 29, 5:00 PM CET
Foreign Banknotes
by Nomisma S.p.a
Est: €0- €0
€302 Bids
Foreign Banknotes
Nov 29, 5:00 PM CET
Foreign Banknotes
by Nomisma S.p.a
Est: €0- €0
€402 Bids
Foreign Banknotes
Nov 29, 5:00 PM CET
Foreign Banknotes
by Nomisma S.p.a
Est: €0- €0
€702 Bids
A. MEZA ORIGINAL ART 50 PESO BANK NOTE 12"
Nov 28, 4:00 PM EST
A. MEZA ORIGINAL ART 50 PESO BANK NOTE 12"
by DejaVu Estate Sales & Auctions
Est: $125- $225
$402 Bids
Foreign Banknotes
Nov 29, 5:00 PM CET
Foreign Banknotes
by Nomisma S.p.a
Est: €0- €0
€401 Bid
Foreign Banknotes
Nov 29, 5:00 PM CET
Foreign Banknotes
by Nomisma S.p.a
Est: €0- €0
€401 Bid
Foreign Banknotes
Nov 29, 5:00 PM CET
Foreign Banknotes
by Nomisma S.p.a
Est: €0- €0
€301 Bid
Foreign Banknotes
Nov 29, 5:00 PM CET
Foreign Banknotes
by Nomisma S.p.a
Est: €0- €0
€1301 Bid
71 MIXED FOREIGN BANK NOTES
Nov 29, 11:00 AM EST
71 MIXED FOREIGN BANK NOTES
by Silver City Auctions
Est: $100- $125
$101 Bid
Foreign Banknotes
Nov 29, 5:00 PM CET
Foreign Banknotes
by Nomisma S.p.a
Est: €0- €0
€901 Bid
Foreign Banknotes
Nov 29, 5:00 PM CET
Foreign Banknotes
by Nomisma S.p.a
Est: €0- €0
€1801 Bid
Foreign Banknotes
Nov 29, 5:00 PM CET
Foreign Banknotes
by Nomisma S.p.a
Est: €0- €0
€751 Bid
Foreign Banknotes
Nov 29, 5:00 PM CET
Foreign Banknotes
by Nomisma S.p.a
Est: €0- €0
€651 Bid
Foreign Banknotes
Nov 29, 5:00 PM CET
Foreign Banknotes
by Nomisma S.p.a
Est: €0- €0
€451 Bid
60 WORLD U.S. BANKNOTE CURRENCY LOT
Nov 30, 9:00 AM EST
60 WORLD U.S. BANKNOTE CURRENCY LOT
by Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC
Est: $200- $300
$501 Bid
Foreign Banknotes
Nov 29, 5:00 PM CET
Foreign Banknotes
by Nomisma S.p.a
Est: €0- €0
€351 Bid
Foreign Banknotes
Nov 29, 5:00 PM CET
Foreign Banknotes
by Nomisma S.p.a
Est: €0- €0
€2201 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Bank Notes


Archives International Auctions, LLC

Archives International Auctions, LLC

London Coin Auction

London Coin Auction

Nomisma S.p.a

Nomisma S.p.a

Carroll's Auctioneers & Appraisers

Carroll's Auctioneers & Appraisers