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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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1855 $10.00 Mechanics Bank Memphis TN Currency Note PCGS
Mar 02, 10:00 AM EST
1855 $10.00 Mechanics Bank Memphis TN Currency Note PCGS
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$856 Bids
1902 $10.00 Monroe Ohio National Bank 7947 Currency Note
Mar 02, 10:00 AM EST
1902 $10.00 Monroe Ohio National Bank 7947 Currency Note
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$1806 Bids
1929 $100 National Chicago Fed Reserve Bank
Feb 25, 12:00 PM EST
1929 $100 National Chicago Fed Reserve Bank
by Michiana Auctions & Estate Sale Center
Est: $175- $200
$755 Bids
1902 $10.00 Knoxville Tennessee National Bank Currency Note
Mar 02, 10:00 AM EST
1902 $10.00 Knoxville Tennessee National Bank Currency Note
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$1103 Bids
1902 $5 First National Bank of Albuquerque, NM CH# 2614 National Currency Note
Feb 21, 8:00 AM PST
1902 $5 First National Bank of Albuquerque, NM CH# 2614 National Currency Note
by BK Auctions
Est: $450- $525
$53 Bids
1902 $5 Commercial NB of Shreveport, Louisiana CH# 3600 National Currency Note
Feb 21, 8:00 AM PST
1902 $5 Commercial NB of Shreveport, Louisiana CH# 3600 National Currency Note
by BK Auctions
Est: $650- $750
$22 Bids
1929 $10 Crocker San Francisco National Note CH# 1741 PMG Choice Uncirculated 64EPQ
Feb 23, 7:00 AM PST
1929 $10 Crocker San Francisco National Note CH# 1741 PMG Choice Uncirculated 64EPQ
by BK Auctions
Est: $425- $500
$22 Bids
1929 $10 Fletcher American NB Indianapolis, IN CH# 9829 National Note Legacy VF20
Feb 21, 8:00 AM PST
1929 $10 Fletcher American NB Indianapolis, IN CH# 9829 National Note Legacy VF20
by BK Auctions
Est: $150- $180
$11 Bid
1929 $20 NB of Belleville, NJ CH# 8382 National Currency Note Legacy Very Fine 25
Feb 23, 7:00 AM PST
1929 $20 NB of Belleville, NJ CH# 8382 National Currency Note Legacy Very Fine 25
by BK Auctions
Est: $180- $210
$11 Bid
1914 $10 FEDERAL RESERVE BANK NOTE
Feb 27, 11:00 AM EST
1914 $10 FEDERAL RESERVE BANK NOTE
by Vintage Auctions
Est: $75- $100
$100 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
Fr. 1870-D. 1929 $20 Federal Reserve Bank Note. Cleveland. PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ.
Feb 22, 9:00 AM PST
Fr. 1870-D. 1929 $20 Federal Reserve Bank Note. Cleveland. PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ.
by Stack's Bowers Galleries
Est: $400- $600
$2400 Bids
1875 1st Charter $5 1st National Bank Rondout NY
Feb 29, 12:00 PM EST
1875 1st Charter $5 1st National Bank Rondout NY
by Alex Cooper
Est: $900- $1,000
$4500 Bids
1902 $10 Date Back Ch 4233 Effingham, IL PMG30EPQ
Feb 29, 12:00 PM EST
1902 $10 Date Back Ch 4233 Effingham, IL PMG30EPQ
by Alex Cooper
Est: $600- $700
$3000 Bids
Cheraw, SC- Merchants' Bank of South Carolina $5
Feb 29, 12:00 PM EST
Cheraw, SC- Merchants' Bank of South Carolina $5
by Alex Cooper
Est: $300- $350
$1500 Bids
1902 PB $5 NATIONAL BANK NOTE PCGS 8
Feb 27, 11:00 AM EST
1902 PB $5 NATIONAL BANK NOTE PCGS 8
by Vintage Auctions
Est: $150- $200
$100 Bids
1902 $20 NATIONAL CURRENCY BANK NOTE
Feb 27, 11:00 AM EST
1902 $20 NATIONAL CURRENCY BANK NOTE
by Vintage Auctions
Est: $225- $300
$100 Bids
1902 $50 NATIONAL CURRENCY BANK NOTE
Feb 27, 11:00 AM EST
1902 $50 NATIONAL CURRENCY BANK NOTE
by Vintage Auctions
Est: $1,200- $1,800
$100 Bids
1929 $5 NATIONAL CURRENCY BANK NOTE
Feb 27, 11:00 AM EST
1929 $5 NATIONAL CURRENCY BANK NOTE
by Vintage Auctions
Est: $150- $200
$100 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Banknotes of the United States


BK Auctions

BK Auctions

Gold Standard Auctions

Gold Standard Auctions

Stack's Bowers Galleries

Stack's Bowers Galleries

Vintage Auctions

Vintage Auctions