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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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LOT OF 4 18TH C. FUGIO FRACTIONAL CONTINENTAL CURRENCY NOTES
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1929 RICHMOND $20 BROWN SEAL FEDERAL RESERVE BANK NOTE FR.1807E PMG35
Feb 25, 9:00 AM MST
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1923 $1.00 Silver Certificate Large Currency Note
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Sellers Who Sell United States Paper Money


BK Auctions

BK Auctions

Gold Standard Auctions

Gold Standard Auctions

Stack's Bowers Galleries

Stack's Bowers Galleries

Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer

Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer