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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

See all items

Security-First National Bank of Los Angeles, 1929, $20, Ty.1, Issued National Currency
Mar 06, 11:00 AM EST
Security-First National Bank of Los Angeles, 1929, $20, Ty.1, Issued National Currency
by Archives International Auctions, LLC
Est: $200- $350
$802 Bids
6 OBSOLETE CURRENCY GOLD MERCHANTS NATIONAL BANK
Mar 06, 9:00 AM EST
6 OBSOLETE CURRENCY GOLD MERCHANTS NATIONAL BANK
by Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC
Est: $80- $150
$201 Bid
$500 $50 $10 GOLD BANKNOTE LOT OF 3
Mar 06, 9:00 AM EST
$500 $50 $10 GOLD BANKNOTE LOT OF 3
by Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC
Est: $50- $80
$100 Bids
1929 $10 Mt. Joy, PA National Bank Note
Mar 06, 5:00 PM CST
1929 $10 Mt. Joy, PA National Bank Note
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $90- $10,000
$850 Bids
1929 $20 New York, NY National Bank Note
Mar 06, 5:00 PM CST
1929 $20 New York, NY National Bank Note
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $90- $10,000
$850 Bids
1929 $10 Cleveland OH National Bank Note PMG-63
Mar 06, 5:00 PM CST
1929 $10 Cleveland OH National Bank Note PMG-63
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $280- $10,000
$2750 Bids
1902 $50 Ottumwa, IA National Bank Note PMG-12F
Mar 06, 5:00 PM CST
1902 $50 Ottumwa, IA National Bank Note PMG-12F
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $855- $10,000
$8500 Bids
1905 LG $5 Burlington Bank, VT National Bank Note
Mar 06, 5:00 PM CST
1905 LG $5 Burlington Bank, VT National Bank Note
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $175- $10,000
$1700 Bids
1929 $10 Olean, NY National Bank Note
Mar 06, 5:00 PM CST
1929 $10 Olean, NY National Bank Note
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $90- $10,000
$850 Bids
1929 US Bank of Philadelphia, PA $10 Fed Res Note
Mar 06, 5:00 PM CST
1929 US Bank of Philadelphia, PA $10 Fed Res Note
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $105- $10,000
$1000 Bids
1929 US Bank of Philadelphia, PA $10 Fed Res Note
Mar 06, 5:00 PM CST
1929 US Bank of Philadelphia, PA $10 Fed Res Note
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $105- $10,000
$1000 Bids
1929 US Bank of New York $5 Fed Res Notes
Mar 06, 5:00 PM CST
1929 US Bank of New York $5 Fed Res Notes
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $145- $10,000
$1400 Bids
1929 C US Bank of Philadelphia, PA $20 Fed Res No
Mar 06, 5:00 PM CST
1929 C US Bank of Philadelphia, PA $20 Fed Res No
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $125- $10,000
$1200 Bids
1929 D US Bank of Cleveland, OH $10 Fed Res Note
Mar 06, 5:00 PM CST
1929 D US Bank of Cleveland, OH $10 Fed Res Note
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $155- $10,000
$1500 Bids
1929 D US Cleveland Bank, OH $20 Fed Res Note
Mar 06, 5:00 PM CST
1929 D US Cleveland Bank, OH $20 Fed Res Note
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $145- $10,000
$1400 Bids
1929 C US Bank of Philadelphia, PA $10 Fed Res No
Mar 06, 5:00 PM CST
1929 C US Bank of Philadelphia, PA $10 Fed Res No
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $105- $10,000
$1000 Bids
1929 C US Bank of Philadelphia, PA $20 Fed Res No
Mar 06, 5:00 PM CST
1929 C US Bank of Philadelphia, PA $20 Fed Res No
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $90- $10,000
$850 Bids
1929 C US Bank of Philadelphia, PA $20 Fed Res No
Mar 06, 5:00 PM CST
1929 C US Bank of Philadelphia, PA $20 Fed Res No
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $100- $10,000
$950 Bids
1929 C US Bank of Philadelphia, PA $20 Fed Res No
Mar 06, 5:00 PM CST
1929 C US Bank of Philadelphia, PA $20 Fed Res No
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $115- $10,000
$1100 Bids
1929 $5 New York NY National Bank Note
Mar 13, 5:00 PM CDT
1929 $5 New York NY National Bank Note
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $60- $10,000
$550 Bids
1902 Series $10 Winchester VA National Bank Note
Mar 06, 5:00 PM CST
1902 Series $10 Winchester VA National Bank Note
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $280- $10,000
$2750 Bids
1929 Type 2 $5 Garrett NB in Oakland, Maryland CH# 13776 National Currency Note
Mar 05, 8:00 AM PST
1929 Type 2 $5 Garrett NB in Oakland, Maryland CH# 13776 National Currency Note
by BK Auctions
Est: $400- $475
$10 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Banknotes of the United States


Gold Standard Auctions

Gold Standard Auctions

BK Auctions

BK Auctions

Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC

Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC