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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 31 ASSORTED 1931 $1 SILVER CERTIFICATES
Jun 23, 9:00 AM MST
LOT OF 31 ASSORTED 1931 $1 SILVER CERTIFICATES
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$959 Bids
1950 B $10 FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE (ERROR NOTE)
Jun 19, 11:00 AM EDT
1950 B $10 FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE (ERROR NOTE)
by Vintage Auctions
Est: $60- $90
$758 Bids
(3) $10 Notes, 1929 Cleveland Ohio
Jun 22, 9:30 AM EDT
(3) $10 Notes, 1929 Cleveland Ohio
by Old Barn Auction
Est: $40- $1,000
$808 Bids
1981 $1 FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE (ERROR NOTE)
Jun 19, 11:00 AM EDT
1981 $1 FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE (ERROR NOTE)
by Vintage Auctions
Est: $50- $80
$707 Bids
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LOT OF 65 1957-B $1 SILVER CERTIFICATES INCLUDES STAR NOTE
Jun 23, 9:00 AM MST
LOT OF 65 1957-B $1 SILVER CERTIFICATES INCLUDES STAR NOTE
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$806 Bids
1999 $1 FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE ( ERROR NOTE)
Jun 19, 11:00 AM EDT
1999 $1 FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE ( ERROR NOTE)
by Vintage Auctions
Est: $50- $80
$356 Bids
1996 $20 FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE (ERROR NOTE)
Jun 19, 11:00 AM EDT
1996 $20 FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE (ERROR NOTE)
by Vintage Auctions
Est: $70- $100
$456 Bids
1934 $50 Note, Two 1957 $1 Notes, and 1928 $2 Note
Jun 22, 9:30 AM EDT
1934 $50 Note, Two 1957 $1 Notes, and 1928 $2 Note
by Old Barn Auction
Est: $40- $1,000
$705 Bids
(2) Never Circulated US Legal Tender Coins
Jun 16, 9:00 AM MST
(2) Never Circulated US Legal Tender Coins
by Monarch Auction and Estate Services
Est: $0- $0
$705 Bids
1977 $5 FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE (ERROR NOTE)
Jun 19, 11:00 AM EDT
1977 $5 FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE (ERROR NOTE)
by Vintage Auctions
Est: $60- $90
$455 Bids
(3) US $20 DOLLAR PAPER BILLS or CURRENCY
Jun 23, 11:00 AM EDT
(3) US $20 DOLLAR PAPER BILLS or CURRENCY
by White's Auctions
Est: $400- $600
$4755 Bids
1899 U.S. $1 BLACK EAGLE NOTE
Jun 22, 11:00 AM EDT
1899 U.S. $1 BLACK EAGLE NOTE
by Freedom Auction Company
Est: $100- $200
$804 Bids
1974 $ 1 FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE (ERROR NOTE)
Jun 19, 11:00 AM EDT
1974 $ 1 FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE (ERROR NOTE)
by Vintage Auctions
Est: $50- $80
$354 Bids
1901 $10 LEGAL TENDER BISON NOTE PMG 53
Jun 19, 11:00 AM EDT
1901 $10 LEGAL TENDER BISON NOTE PMG 53
by Vintage Auctions
Est: $6,000- $9,000
$2104 Bids
1923-1976 U.S. Silver Certificates & Currency
Jun 15, 10:00 AM MST
1923-1976 U.S. Silver Certificates & Currency
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$353 Bids
1996 $20 FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE (ERROR NOTE)
Jun 19, 11:00 AM EDT
1996 $20 FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE (ERROR NOTE)
by Vintage Auctions
Est: $90- $140
$213 Bids
$5 CANAL AND BANKING CO. NEW ORLEANS NOTE
Jun 15, 11:00 AM EDT
$5 CANAL AND BANKING CO. NEW ORLEANS NOTE
by Southern Oaks Liquidations
Est: $0- $0
$153 Bids
1862 $5 Legal Tender FR 61A SN 56 PMG - 64EPQ
Jun 13, 12:00 PM EDT
1862 $5 Legal Tender FR 61A SN 56 PMG - 64EPQ
by Alex Cooper
Est: $3,500- $3,750
$2,0003 Bids
(3) Original 1953 A-B-C $2.00 Legal Tender Currency Notes
Jun 13, 6:00 PM EDT
(3) Original 1953 A-B-C $2.00 Legal Tender Currency Notes
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $10- $10,000
$83 Bids
(50) 24K Gold Plated Federal Reserve Notes
Jun 16, 9:00 AM MST
(50) 24K Gold Plated Federal Reserve Notes
by Monarch Auction and Estate Services
Est: $0- $0
$202 Bids
1934A FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE CLEVELAND $ 500 PMG 50
Jun 19, 11:00 AM EDT
1934A FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE CLEVELAND $ 500 PMG 50
by Vintage Auctions
Est: $2,200- $2,300
$102 Bids
1854 $5 COMMERCIAL BANK OF COLUMBIA, SC NOTE
Jun 15, 11:00 AM EDT
1854 $5 COMMERCIAL BANK OF COLUMBIA, SC NOTE
by Southern Oaks Liquidations
Est: $0- $0
$102 Bids
(7) US EARLY PAPER CURRENCY OR BILLS
Jun 23, 11:00 AM EDT
(7) US EARLY PAPER CURRENCY OR BILLS
by White's Auctions
Est: $600- $800
$3252 Bids
7 US NOTES
Jun 13, 10:00 AM EDT
7 US NOTES
by Cordier Auctions & Appraisals
Est: $300- $500
$2002 Bids

Sellers Who Sell United States Paper Money


BK Auctions

BK Auctions

Key Date Coins

Key Date Coins

Vintage Auctions

Vintage Auctions

Omni Auction Corp

Omni Auction Corp