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Bank Notes

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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1929 $20 BROWN SEAL FEDERAL RESERVE BANK NOTE
Jun 23, 9:00 AM MST
1929 $20 BROWN SEAL FEDERAL RESERVE BANK NOTE
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$8515 Bids
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UNCUT SHEET OF 32 1995 $2 BANK NOTES
Jun 23, 9:00 AM MST
UNCUT SHEET OF 32 1995 $2 BANK NOTES
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$30012 Bids
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1996 4 TROY OZ .999 SILVER $100 PROOF FRANKLIN REPLICA BANK NOTE
Jun 23, 9:00 AM MST
1996 4 TROY OZ .999 SILVER $100 PROOF FRANKLIN REPLICA BANK NOTE
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$19011 Bids
1929 American Bank Note Company Specimen Note - Crisp Uncirculated - Rare
Jun 25, 5:00 PM EDT
1929 American Bank Note Company Specimen Note - Crisp Uncirculated - Rare
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$429 Bids
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LOT OF 25 ASSORTED 1953 $2 RED SEAL BANK NOTES
Jun 23, 9:00 AM MST
LOT OF 25 ASSORTED 1953 $2 RED SEAL BANK NOTES
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$1408 Bids
1966 Series $100.00 RED SEAL Banknote *AVERAGE CIRC*
Jun 22, 7:00 PM EDT
1966 Series $100.00 RED SEAL Banknote *AVERAGE CIRC*
by Big Dog Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$828 Bids
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LOT OF 25 ASSORTED $1 & $5 BLUE SEAL SILVER CERTIFICATE BANK NOTES
Jun 23, 9:00 AM MST
LOT OF 25 ASSORTED $1 & $5 BLUE SEAL SILVER CERTIFICATE BANK NOTES
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$907 Bids
1966 Series $100.00 RED SEAL Banknote *AVERAGE CIRC*
Jun 22, 7:00 PM EDT
1966 Series $100.00 RED SEAL Banknote *AVERAGE CIRC*
by Big Dog Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$1257 Bids
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LOT OF 58 1976 $2 GREEN SEAL BANK NOTES
Jun 23, 9:00 AM MST
LOT OF 58 1976 $2 GREEN SEAL BANK NOTES
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$955 Bids
1928 Series First Small-Sized $2 RED SEAL Banknote
Jun 22, 7:00 PM EDT
1928 Series First Small-Sized $2 RED SEAL Banknote
by Big Dog Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$85 Bids
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ASSORTED VINTAGE U.S. BANKNOTES SOME W/ ERRORS-(9)
Jun 22, 1:00 PM EDT
ASSORTED VINTAGE U.S. BANKNOTES SOME W/ ERRORS-(9)
by Florida Estate Sales Inc.
Est: $225- $10,000
$855 Bids
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ASSORTED VINTAGE WASHINGTON/JEFFERSON BANKNOTES-15
Jun 22, 1:00 PM EDT
ASSORTED VINTAGE WASHINGTON/JEFFERSON BANKNOTES-15
by Florida Estate Sales Inc.
Est: $210- $10,000
$854 Bids
Lot of Seven Various U.S. Banknotes
Jun 22, 7:00 PM EDT
Lot of Seven Various U.S. Banknotes
by Big Dog Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$84 Bids
Lot of Seven Various U.S. Banknotes
Jun 22, 7:00 PM EDT
Lot of Seven Various U.S. Banknotes
by Big Dog Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$112 Bids
1963 Series RED SEAL $5 Banknote
Jun 22, 7:00 PM EDT
1963 Series RED SEAL $5 Banknote
by Big Dog Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$32 Bids
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Imperial Russian banknote 3 rubles, series ОП 794 898, EF/Fine, period Nicholas II
Jun 22, 11:00 AM EDT
Imperial Russian banknote 3 rubles, series ОП 794 898, EF/Fine, period Nicholas II
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $100- $200
$201 Bid
ANDY WARHOL
Jun 28, 7:00 PM CEST
ANDY WARHOL
by Derksen Veilingbedrijf
Est: €300- €400
€3001 Bid
Three Somerset Worcester Obsolete Bank Notes
Jul 02, 12:00 PM EDT
Three Somerset Worcester Obsolete Bank Notes
by Old Kinderhook Auction Company
Est: $50- $100
$301 Bid
TWELVE BANKNOTES
Jun 27, 11:00 AM CEST
TWELVE BANKNOTES
by Bertolami Fine Art s.r.l.
Est: €100- €200
€801 Bid
10-DM-Noten 2er Bogen, ungeschnitten
Jul 04, 12:00 PM CEST
10-DM-Noten 2er Bogen, ungeschnitten
by Deutsche Wertpapierauktionen
Est: €0- €0
€101 Bid
1923 Germany 10 Million Reichsbanknote Note. Scarce Post WWI. Excellent Condition
Jul 02, 5:00 PM EDT
1923 Germany 10 Million Reichsbanknote Note. Scarce Post WWI. Excellent Condition
by Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer
Est: $1- $5,000
$11 Bid
1966 Series $100.00 RED SEAL Banknote **AVERAGE CIRC**
Jun 29, 7:00 PM EDT
1966 Series $100.00 RED SEAL Banknote **AVERAGE CIRC**
by Big Dog Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$11 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Bank Notes


Noonans Mayfair

Noonans Mayfair

Eureka Coins, Notes and Collectables pty

Eureka Coins, Notes and Collectables pty

Stack's Bowers Galleries

Stack's Bowers Galleries

Leski Auctions Pty Ltd

Leski Auctions Pty Ltd