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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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1905 US NATIONAL BANK NOTE ASHAWAY RI F+
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
1905 US NATIONAL BANK NOTE ASHAWAY RI F+
by Bering Auctions
Est: $225- $325
$2754 Bids
1929 $20 National Currency 'The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, PA' Grades vf++
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
1929 $20 National Currency 'The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, PA' Grades vf++
by Key Date Coins
Est: $52- $105
$354 Bids
1929 ANGLO BANK CA $10.00 BROWN NATIONAL F-VF
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
1929 ANGLO BANK CA $10.00 BROWN NATIONAL F-VF
by Bering Auctions
Est: $135- $245
$501 Bid
1929 $10 National Currency 'The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, NY' Grades vf++
Dec 05, 11:00 AM EST
1929 $10 National Currency 'The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, NY' Grades vf++
by Key Date Coins
Est: $25- $100
$201 Bid
1929 $10 National Currency 'The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, GA' Grades vf++
Dec 05, 11:00 AM EST
1929 $10 National Currency 'The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, GA' Grades vf++
by Key Date Coins
Est: $100- $200
$301 Bid
1929 $5 NB Shenandoah, PA CH# 1946 National Currency Note Legacy Very Fine 35
Dec 04, 7:00 AM PST
1929 $5 NB Shenandoah, PA CH# 1946 National Currency Note Legacy Very Fine 35
by BK Auctions
Est: $210- $240
$11 Bid
1929 $10 NB Blossburg, PA CH# 13381 National Currency Note Legacy Very Fine 35
Dec 04, 7:00 AM PST
1929 $10 NB Blossburg, PA CH# 13381 National Currency Note Legacy Very Fine 35
by BK Auctions
Est: $240- $280
$11 Bid
Purdy's College Bank, ca. 1860-90s, $10 College Currency Banknote.
Dec 15, 11:00 AM EST
Purdy's College Bank, ca. 1860-90s, $10 College Currency Banknote.
by Archives International Auctions, LLC
Est: $130- $260
$900 Bids
Pomona, California. National Bank of Pomona, Discovery $10 PB, Series of 1902, Charter #3518 National Banknote.
Dec 15, 11:00 AM EST
Pomona, California. National Bank of Pomona, Discovery $10 PB, Series of 1902, Charter #3518 National Banknote.
by Archives International Auctions, LLC
Est: $450- $900
$3500 Bids
Tim Prusmack $2 Lazy Deuce Fun National Bank Orlando Money Art Note PMG Certified
Dec 03, 7:00 AM PST
Tim Prusmack $2 Lazy Deuce Fun National Bank Orlando Money Art Note PMG Certified
by BK Auctions
Est: $375- $425
$10 Bids
Tim Prusmack $2 Lazy Deuce Fun National Bank Orlando Money Art Note PMG Certified
Dec 04, 7:00 AM PST
Tim Prusmack $2 Lazy Deuce Fun National Bank Orlando Money Art Note PMG Certified
by BK Auctions
Est: $425- $500
$10 Bids
1929 $20 NB Philadelphia, PA CH# 542 National Currency Note Legacy Extremely Fine 45
Dec 03, 7:00 AM PST
1929 $20 NB Philadelphia, PA CH# 542 National Currency Note Legacy Extremely Fine 45
by BK Auctions
Est: $170- $200
$10 Bids
1929 $10 The First National Bank of Waterloo, NY CH# 368 National Currency Note
Dec 03, 7:00 AM PST
1929 $10 The First National Bank of Waterloo, NY CH# 368 National Currency Note
by BK Auctions
Est: $180- $210
$10 Bids
1929 $10 First NB of Canton, NY CH# 3696 National Currency Note Legacy Fine 15
Dec 03, 7:00 AM PST
1929 $10 First NB of Canton, NY CH# 3696 National Currency Note Legacy Fine 15
by BK Auctions
Est: $180- $210
$10 Bids
1929 $10 Crocker San Francisco National Note CH# 1741 PMG Choice Uncirculated 64EPQ
Dec 03, 7:00 AM PST
1929 $10 Crocker San Francisco National Note CH# 1741 PMG Choice Uncirculated 64EPQ
by BK Auctions
Est: $425- $500
$10 Bids
1918 $2 Battleship Federal Reserve Bank Note St. Louis Fr.769 PMG Choice Very Fine 35
Dec 03, 7:00 AM PST
1918 $2 Battleship Federal Reserve Bank Note St. Louis Fr.769 PMG Choice Very Fine 35
by BK Auctions
Est: $1,750- $2,000
$10 Bids
1902DB $5 Montour NB of Montour Falls, New York CH# 10497 National Currency Note
Dec 03, 7:00 AM PST
1902DB $5 Montour NB of Montour Falls, New York CH# 10497 National Currency Note
by BK Auctions
Est: $950- $1,050
$10 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Banknotes of the United States


BK Auctions

BK Auctions

Key Date Coins

Key Date Coins

Winter Associates, Inc.

Winter Associates, Inc.

Archives International Auctions, LLC

Archives International Auctions, LLC