United States Paper Money

Federal Reserve-issued United States paper money began in 1914. Prior to 1914, treasury notes and other more decentralized paper monies were circulated. The 1914 series ranged from $5 to $100, and while some presidents were in the same denominations as we know them today, others are quite different. Andrew Jackson, known today as the face of the $20 bill, was originally on the $10. Alexander Hamilton, today's $10, was not in the 1914 series, but was added in the 1918 expansion series on the $1,000 note.

Since 1928, the presidents featured on the notes have aligned with how they are known today. The $1 and $2 bills were added to the roster with the 1928 series, but the $500-$10,000 notes were discontinued in 1934. All denominations have since been redesigned except for the $1 and the $2 notes, which still maintain their original 1928 designs. Redesigns have not been drastic: the same presidents are still featured, albeit with different portraits, and the reverse of the notes still feature the same iconic buildings.

United States paper money is somewhat unusual in the world due to its overwhelming greenness. Although the Federal Reserve has attempted to infuse the notes with more color in recent years, they are still incredibly green when compared to other world currencies, which typically incorporate different colors for different denominations. Also, unlike many other paper currencies, United States notes are uniform in size.


Quick Facts

  • United States paper money is known for having a number of silly nicknames. These include buck, greenback, dead presidents, sawbuck, and bones
  • The Grand Watermelon, a $1,000 bill from 1890, holds the record for the most expensive banknote ever sold at auction: $3.29 million in 2014
  • The $1 bill is a favorite target of conspiracy theories due to the large amount of icons and symbols present in the design

Recommended Items at Auction

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US Fractional Currency 25c Third Issue fr-1294 Bust of Wm Fessenden Green Rev Graded cu64 By PMG
Oct 18, 5:45 PM EDT
US Fractional Currency 25c Third Issue fr-1294 Bust of Wm Fessenden Green Rev Graded cu64 By PMG
by Key Date Coins, Inc.
Est: $150- $300
$1409 Bids
PCGS 1870's US Fractional Currency 15¢ Fourth Issue Fr-1271 Graded au50 PPQ By PCGS
Oct 18, 5:45 PM EDT
PCGS 1870's US Fractional Currency 15¢ Fourth Issue Fr-1271 Graded au50 PPQ By PCGS
by Key Date Coins, Inc.
Est: $112- $225
$1307 Bids
Original 1917 $1.00 U.S. Legal Tender Currency Note
Oct 21, 5:00 PM EDT
Original 1917 $1.00 U.S. Legal Tender Currency Note
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $10- $1,000
$377 Bids
PCGS 1862 US Fractional Currency 5c First Issue fr-1228 Thomas Jefferson Graded au55 PPQ By PCGS
Oct 19, 5:45 PM EDT
PCGS 1862 US Fractional Currency 5c First Issue fr-1228 Thomas Jefferson Graded au55 PPQ By PCGS
by Key Date Coins, Inc.
Est: $87- $175
$757 Bids
1914 $20 Large Size Federal Reserve Note Chicago, IL 7-G Grades vf++
Oct 18, 5:45 PM EDT
1914 $20 Large Size Federal Reserve Note Chicago, IL 7-G Grades vf++
by Key Date Coins, Inc.
Est: $75- $150
$1406 Bids
1863 US Fractional Currency 5c Third Issue fr-1239 Spencer M. Clark Graded cu64 EPQ By PMG
Oct 18, 5:45 PM EDT
1863 US Fractional Currency 5c Third Issue fr-1239 Spencer M. Clark Graded cu64 EPQ By PMG
by Key Date Coins, Inc.
Est: $175- $350
$2106 Bids
Vintage 1950's Harett-Gilmar, Inc. King Santa Bank Lite w/ Original Box WORKS
Oct 25, 6:00 PM EDT
Vintage 1950's Harett-Gilmar, Inc. King Santa Bank Lite w/ Original Box WORKS
by One Source Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$505 Bids
***Auction Highlight*** Rare 1863 $5 Demand Note FR-63B Ty 2 Seal Grades vf+ (fc)
Oct 18, 5:45 PM EDT
***Auction Highlight*** Rare 1863 $5 Demand Note FR-63B Ty 2 Seal Grades vf+ (fc)
by Key Date Coins, Inc.
Est: $850- $1,700
$4255 Bids
(5) Original Silver Certificate Currency Notes
Oct 21, 5:00 PM EDT
(5) Original Silver Certificate Currency Notes
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $10- $1,000
$175 Bids
PCGS Military Payment Certificate (MPC) Series 472 $5 Key To Series Graded f15 By PCGS
Oct 19, 5:45 PM EDT
PCGS Military Payment Certificate (MPC) Series 472 $5 Key To Series Graded f15 By PCGS
by Key Date Coins, Inc.
Est: $75- $150
$1605 Bids
Series 2003 U.S. $2.00 Single Star Note - Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in Nice Colorful Folder
Oct 18, 5:00 PM EDT
Series 2003 U.S. $2.00 Single Star Note - Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in Nice Colorful Folder
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$164 Bids
1934-A $500.00 Federal Reserve Chicago Note
Nov 27, 10:00 AM EST
1934-A $500.00 Federal Reserve Chicago Note
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$1,1504 Bids
1874 25c Fractional Currency, 5th Issue, Short Key Fr-1309 Graded cu64 By PMG
Oct 18, 5:45 PM EDT
1874 25c Fractional Currency, 5th Issue, Short Key Fr-1309 Graded cu64 By PMG
by Key Date Coins, Inc.
Est: $100- $200
$554 Bids
1862 US Fractional Currency 10c First Issue fr-1242 Washington Graded cu63 EPQ By PMG
Oct 18, 5:45 PM EDT
1862 US Fractional Currency 10c First Issue fr-1242 Washington Graded cu63 EPQ By PMG
by Key Date Coins, Inc.
Est: $150- $300
$554 Bids
1922 Large Size $10 Gold Certificate Fr-1173 Speelman/White Grades f, fine
Oct 19, 5:45 PM EDT
1922 Large Size $10 Gold Certificate Fr-1173 Speelman/White Grades f, fine
by Key Date Coins, Inc.
Est: $150- $300
$554 Bids
3 Older $2 Bills
Oct 21, 6:00 PM CDT
3 Older $2 Bills
by Easterly Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$124 Bids
1875 US Fractional Currency 10c Fifth Issue fr-1266 Short Key Graded cu64 EPQ By PMG
Oct 19, 5:45 PM EDT
1875 US Fractional Currency 10c Fifth Issue fr-1266 Short Key Graded cu64 EPQ By PMG
by Key Date Coins, Inc.
Est: $100- $200
$454 Bids
Original 1993-P Thomas Jefferson Coinage And Currency Set
Oct 21, 5:00 PM EDT
Original 1993-P Thomas Jefferson Coinage And Currency Set
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $10- $1,000
$313 Bids
U.S. Coin And Currency Estate Collection
Oct 21, 5:00 PM EDT
U.S. Coin And Currency Estate Collection
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $10- $1,000
$213 Bids
1899 Black Eagle 24k Gold Clad $1 Silver Certificate
Oct 30, 12:00 PM EDT
1899 Black Eagle 24k Gold Clad $1 Silver Certificate
by South Florida Auction & Estate Sale Services
Est: $6- $1,000
$103 Bids
40 MIXED DATE $1.00 SILVER CERTIFICATES
Oct 19, 11:00 AM EDT
40 MIXED DATE $1.00 SILVER CERTIFICATES
by Silver City Auctions
Est: $80- $100
$403 Bids
US Fractional Currency 50¢ Fourth Issue March 3, 1863 Fr-1379 Graded vf35 By PMG
Oct 18, 5:45 PM EDT
US Fractional Currency 50¢ Fourth Issue March 3, 1863 Fr-1379 Graded vf35 By PMG
by Key Date Coins, Inc.
Est: $25- $100
$403 Bids
Series 1917 U.S. $2.00 LARGE Size Note
Oct 18, 5:00 PM EDT
Series 1917 U.S. $2.00 LARGE Size Note
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$163 Bids

Sellers Who Sell United States Paper Money


Merces Gallery LLC

Merces Gallery LLC

BK Auctions

BK Auctions

Silver City Auctions

Silver City Auctions

Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer

Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer