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Banknotes of the United States

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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Rare 1918 $1000.00 Federal Reserve New York Currency Note
Nov 27, 10:00 AM EST
Rare 1918 $1000.00 Federal Reserve New York Currency Note
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $25,000
$2,6508 Bids
Vintage Cast Iron Large Popeye Still Coin Bank
Oct 30, 12:00 PM EDT
Vintage Cast Iron Large Popeye Still Coin Bank
by South Florida Auction & Estate Sale Services
Est: $6- $1,000
$247 Bids
Series 2003 $2.00 Single Star Note - Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis w/ Folder
Nov 01, 5:00 PM EDT
Series 2003 $2.00 Single Star Note - Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis w/ Folder
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$225 Bids
1929 $5 National Currency 1st Camden National Bank OF Camden NJ Grades AU Details
Oct 26, 5:45 PM EDT
1929 $5 National Currency 1st Camden National Bank OF Camden NJ Grades AU Details
by Key Date Coins, Inc.
Est: $90- $180
$502 Bids
1902 $20 National Currency Note - Amboy, Illinois
Nov 06, 9:00 AM CDT
1902 $20 National Currency Note - Amboy, Illinois
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $300- $500
$1501 Bid
1902 $5 National Currency Note - Amboy, Illinois
Nov 06, 9:00 AM CDT
1902 $5 National Currency Note - Amboy, Illinois
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $300- $500
$1501 Bid
1914 $10.00 Federal Reserve Currency Note
Nov 27, 10:00 AM EST
1914 $10.00 Federal Reserve Currency Note
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$501 Bid
Series 2003 $2.00 Single Star Note - Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis w/ Folder
Nov 01, 5:00 PM EDT
Series 2003 $2.00 Single Star Note - Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis w/ Folder
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$11 Bid
1902DB $10 National Bank of Petersburg, Virginia CH#3515 National Currency Note
Oct 27, 8:00 AM PDT
1902DB $10 National Bank of Petersburg, Virginia CH#3515 National Currency Note
by BK Auctions
Est: $160- $190
$11 Bid
1966 $100.00 Legal Tender Note
Nov 27, 10:00 AM EST
1966 $100.00 Legal Tender Note
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$501 Bid
1934A $10 Hawaii WWII Emergency Issue Federal Reserve Note
Oct 27, 8:00 AM PDT
1934A $10 Hawaii WWII Emergency Issue Federal Reserve Note
by BK Auctions
Est: $160- $190
$11 Bid
1934A $1,000 Federal Reserve Note Chicago Fr.2212-G PMG Choice Uncirculated 64EPQ
Oct 27, 8:00 AM PDT
1934A $1,000 Federal Reserve Note Chicago Fr.2212-G PMG Choice Uncirculated 64EPQ
by BK Auctions
Est: $9,500- $10,500
$11 Bid
An Autumn River Banks on Canvas by H. Verhaaf (1890 - 1970)
Oct 30, 9:30 AM EDT
An Autumn River Banks on Canvas by H. Verhaaf (1890 - 1970)
by Luban Antique
Est: $800- $1,200
$500 Bids
1830-1840 UNDATED BANK NOTE CO. PROOF SAMPLE
Nov 13, 10:00 AM EST
1830-1840 UNDATED BANK NOTE CO. PROOF SAMPLE
by Marion Antique Auctions
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
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Andenken-Weinglas mit National-Denkmal
Oct 30, 11:00 AM CEST
Andenken-Weinglas mit National-Denkmal
by Auktionshalle Cuxhaven
Est: €0- €0
€50 Bids
2004 LEWIS & CLARK COINAGE & CURRENCY SET
Oct 28, 11:00 AM EDT
2004 LEWIS & CLARK COINAGE & CURRENCY SET
by Silver City Auctions
Est: $65- $75
$100 Bids
1934 NATIONAL PARKS SET
Nov 01, 12:30 PM EDT
1934 NATIONAL PARKS SET
by Museum of Culture and Arts, Inc
Est: $70- $320
$120 Bids
1934 NATIONAL PARKS SET
Nov 01, 12:30 PM EDT
1934 NATIONAL PARKS SET
by Museum of Culture and Arts, Inc
Est: $70- $320
$120 Bids
Collection of 16 assorted early bank notes
Oct 28, 7:00 PM AEDT
Collection of 16 assorted early bank notes
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD200 Bids
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Connecticut, East Haddam Bank Note. PMG 66 Gem Unc. EPQ
Oct 29, 5:00 PM EDT
Connecticut, East Haddam Bank Note. PMG 66 Gem Unc. EPQ
by Activity Auctions
Est: $600- $1,200
$2000 Bids
1914 $10.00 Federal Reserve Currency Note
Nov 27, 10:00 AM EST
1914 $10.00 Federal Reserve Currency Note
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$500 Bids
1914 $5.00 Federal Reserve Currency Note
Nov 27, 10:00 AM EST
1914 $5.00 Federal Reserve Currency Note
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$500 Bids
1863 25-Cents Fractional State of Florida PMG CU63
Nov 13, 1:00 PM EST
1863 25-Cents Fractional State of Florida PMG CU63
by Coastal Edge Auction Emporium LLC
Est: $190- $210
$500 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Banknotes of the United States


BK Auctions

BK Auctions

Mebane Antique Auction

Mebane Antique Auction

Silver City Auctions

Silver City Auctions

Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer

Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer