6 Discontinued and Uncommon U.S. Currency Denominations (2024)

Have you ever seen a $2 bill? If so, you may well have wondered if it's funny money. It's not. The $2 bill has been printed by the U.S. Treasury almost continuously since the Civil War, and there are still 1.4 billion of them in circulation.

Other paper denominations have been discontinued and can be found mostly in the hands of dealers and collectors. These are not the familiar Benjamins or Jacksons. They're McKinleys or Wilsons.

Key Takeaways

  • The $10,000 bill was the largest denomination ever to be printed for public circulation in the U.S.
  • A collector cannot legally hold a $100,000 bill.
  • Today, a $500 or $1,000 bill may be worth more than its face value as a collector's item.

$2 Bill

6 Discontinued and Uncommon U.S. Currency Denominations (1)

The first $2 bills were printed in 1862. They originally featured a portrait of Alexander Hamilton but were later redesigned to portray Thomas Jefferson.

Aesthetically, the $2 bill is something to behold. The reverse side features a reproduction of one of the most famous paintings in American history, "Declaration of Independence" by John Trumbull.

Excluding the decade from 1966 to 1976, the $2 bill has been printed since the Civil War. Yet the average American can go years without seeing one, and there isn't even a slot for it in cash registers.

While the $2 note is still in circulation and theBureau of Engraving and Printingrecognizes it aslegal tender, it is the rarest currency denomination in the U.S. The last series of $2 bills was printed in 2017. Today, there are around 1.4 billion of them in circulation.

$500 Bill

The Treasury minted several versions of the $500 bill, all featuring a portrait of President William McKinley on the front. The last $500 bill rolled off the presses in 1945, and it was formally discontinued 24 years later.

The $500 bill remainslegal tender but most of them are in the hands of dealers and collectors. That being said, should you come into possession of a $500 bill, you'd find that its market value far exceeds itsface value. You can find $500 bills listed on eBay.com starting at twice their face value.

Federal law mandates that only deceased persons may be featured on U.S. currency. The only women to be depicted on U.S. paper money as of late 2023 were Martha Washington, whose picture was featured on the front of a $1 silver certificate in 1886, and Pocahontas, who was one of a group of people depicted in a $20 banknote issued in the 1860s.

$1,000 Bill

6 Discontinued and Uncommon U.S. Currency Denominations (3)

The original $1,000 bill featured Alexander Hamilton on the front. When someone presumably realized that it might be confusing to have the same formerSecretary of the Treasury on multiple denominations, Hamilton's portrait was replaced with that of a president—the 22nd and 24th, Grover Cleveland.

Along with its smaller cousin, the $500 bill, the $1,000 bill was discontinued in 1969. And like the $500 bill, the $1,000 bill would seem to be more useful now than it would have been then.

The reason, of course, is inflation. TheConsumer Price Index (CPI)was at about 36.8 back in 1969. The CPI stood at 303.8 as of late September 2023. You would need a $1,000 bill today to pay for what you could have purchased for a bit over $100 in 1969.

So, we'velostlarger denomination bills as the value of a dollar has gotten progressively smaller. The Treasury argues that keeping the denominations small reduces money laundering.

In any case, most Americans now walk around with their spending power on a plastic card rather than in banknotes.

Martha Washington is the first and only woman to be featured as the primary portrait on U.S. paper currency. Her image appeared on the $1 Silver Certificate starting in 1886. By the time it was discontinued in 1957, it was the second-longest issued paper money in U.S. history.

$5,000 Bill

6 Discontinued and Uncommon U.S. Currency Denominations (4)

The $5,000 bill was first issued in 1861 during the Civil War. The bill was graced with a portrait of James Madison. Few Americans ever held one of these bills. They were primarily used for inter-bank transactions.

President Richard Nixon ordered that the bills be recalled in 1969 due to concerns that criminals would use them formoney launderingactivities.

Finding a $5,000 bill today takes pluck, luck, and significantly more than $5,000.

$10,000 Bill

6 Discontinued and Uncommon U.S. Currency Denominations (5)

Salmon P. Chase was one of the most accomplished politicians in our nation's history never to have served as president. But even though he was a governor of, and senator from, Ohio, served asSecretary of the Treasuryunder Abraham Lincoln, and served as chief justice of the Supreme Court, Chase may be remembered by most people as the guy on the $10,000 bill.

The largest denomination ever printed for public consumption, the $10,000 bill never got much use. This lack of use is understandable, given that its value outstripped thenet worthof the average American during most of the time it was available.

The bill was first printed in 1918 and fell victim to the 1969 purge of largecurrencies. Like its $5,000 counterpart, only a few hundred authenticated samples survive.

$100,000 Bill

6 Discontinued and Uncommon U.S. Currency Denominations (6)

Featuring a portrait of Woodrow Wilson, the $100,000 notewas actually agold certificatethat was never circulated or issued for public use.The Bureau of Engraving and Printingcreated them duringthe Great Depressionin 1934, forconducting official transactions betweenFederal Reserve banks.

While the $100,000 bill cannot be legally held by collectors, some institutions like the Museum of American Finance display them for educational purposes. The Smithsonian Museum and some branches of theFederal Reserve System (FRS) also have these rare bills in their possession.

What U.S. Coins Are No Longer in Circulation?

The U.S. Mint has stopped producing a number of coins over the years as they have lost value or usability. These include:

  • half-cent coins, minted from 1793-1857
  • two-cent coins (1864-1872)
  • three-cent coins (1851-1889)
  • half-dimes (1792-1873) [later replaced by nickels]
  • twenty-cent coins (1875-1878)
  • Dollar coins:
  • Gold dollar coins (1849-1889)
  • Eisenhower dollar (1971-1978)
  • Susan B. Anthony dollar (1979-1981, 1999)

Are $2 Bills Rare?

While not used nearly as frequently as $1 or $5 bills, the $2 bill remained in production through 2017. As of 2020, the Federal Reserve estimated that around 1.4 billion $2 bills worth $2.8 billion remained in circulation.

What Is the Most Common Denomination of U.S. Currency?

As of 2020, there were 16.4 billion $100 bills in circulation, making it the most issued banknote as well as the highest value bill in circulation.

The second-most common is the $1 bill, with 13.1 billion in circulation.

The Bottom Line

Over time, the government may choose to take certain money out of circulation for various reasons. Banknotes may be discontinued due to the effects of inflation eroding their face value, a lack of demand or want for certain denominations amongst consumers, or being too similar in look or close in value to other common denominations.

Correction—Dec. 14, 2023: This article has been corrected to state that the Susan B. Anthony dollar was issued from 1979 to 1981 and in 1999.

6 Discontinued and Uncommon U.S. Currency Denominations (2024)


6 Discontinued and Uncommon U.S. Currency Denominations? ›

The $5,000 bill featured President James Madison and was last printed in 1945. Like the $500 and $1,000 bills, it was discontinued in 1969. Like $500 bills, 1928 $5,000 bills are scarcer than 1934s and, according to Old Currency Values, there are only under two dozen 1928s known to exist.

What U.S. currency is discontinued? ›

The $5,000 bill featured President James Madison and was last printed in 1945. Like the $500 and $1,000 bills, it was discontinued in 1969. Like $500 bills, 1928 $5,000 bills are scarcer than 1934s and, according to Old Currency Values, there are only under two dozen 1928s known to exist.

What are the 7 different denominations of U.S. currency? ›

American paper currency comes in seven denominations: $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. The United States no longer issues bills in larger denominations, such as $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 bills. But they are still legal tender and may still be in circulation.

What U.S. coins have been discontinued? ›

What U.S. Coins Are No Longer in Circulation?
  • half-cent coins, minted from 1793-1857.
  • two-cent coins (1864-1872)
  • three-cent coins (1851-1889)
  • half-dimes (1792-1873) [later replaced by nickels]
  • twenty-cent coins (1875-1878)
  • Dollar coins:
  • Gold dollar coins (1849-1889)
  • Eisenhower dollar (1971-1978)

Why was the $500 dollar bill discontinued? ›

On July 14, 1969, the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve System announced that currency notes in denominations of $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 would be discontinued immediately due to lack of use. Although they were issued until 1969, they were last printed in 1945.

How much is a $1000 bill worth today? ›

The $1000 Bill: A Rare and Valuable Piece of U.S. Currency

A note in average condition can easily sell for around two thousand dollars, while bills in better condition or with unique serial numbers can command even higher prices at auction or from collectors.

Can you use discontinued currency? ›

It is U.S. government policy that all designs of Federal Reserve notes remain legal tender, or legally valid for payments, regardless of when they were issued.

Can I get a $500 bill from the bank? ›

The Federal Reserve System officially discontinued high-denomination bills such as the $500 note in 1969, citing a “lack of use.”

Is it illegal to own a $100 000 dollar bill? ›

The $100,000 bill is the highest denomination ever issued by the U.S. Federal Government. Printed in 1934, it was not intended for general use, but instead was used as an accounting device between branches of the Federal Reserve. It is illegal for a private individual to own this banknote.

What is slang for $1000? ›

grand. The word grand is used in US and UK slang to mean a thousand dollars or a thousand pounds. There are several theories where this term came from, including the possibility that it refers to $1,000 being a grand (“large”) sum of money.

Which U.S. coin is currently illegal to own? ›

Currently, with the exception of the one sold on July 30, 2002, 1933 double eagle coins cannot be the legal possession of any member of the public, as they were never issued and hence remain the property of the United States government.

Can you get a $1000 dollar bill from the bank? ›

No. $500 and $1,000 bills are no longer available within the U.S. banking system. The limited supply of these bills is currently held by coins and currency dealers, collectors, and investors.

How much is a $10000 bill worth? ›

$10,000 Bill Sells for $480,000. Now That's What You Call Inflation.

How much is a 1934 $100000 bill worth? ›

United States one hundred-thousand-dollar bill
(United States)
Estimated value$2,296,932 (1934 to 2023), $2,246,635 (1935 to 2023)
DesignA vignette portrait of Woodrow Wilson
Design date1934
9 more rows

How much is a $2 bill worth? ›

If the $2 bill was minted and printed before 1976, it would likely be worth more than its face value on the collectibles market. In some cases, it might be worth only $2.25. The highest value is $4,500 or more for uncirculated notes from 1890, although most of those bills range in value from $550 to $2,500.

Do $3 bills exist? ›

Though a gold three-dollar coin was produced in the 1800s, and the Bahamian dollar (which is pegged to the US dollar) has a $3 banknote, no three-dollar bill has ever been produced in the United States. Various fake US$3 bills have also been released over time.

Is the U.S. currency changing? ›

Why the U.S. won't change physical cash. The Federal Reserve will spend $931.4 million to print bills in 2023 — but there's a problem with U.S. cash. “We haven't modernized or changed our currency.

Is the dollar bill disappearing? ›

Although paper-based currencies are becoming less popular, they will likely stick around for the foreseeable future. Dollars and cents may become harder to use, but as with many obsolete technologies, there are enough users to ensure demand doesn't disappear completely.

Is the dollar coin discontinued? ›

Half dollar and $1 coins are produced as collectibles. However, they may still be ordered by the Federal Reserve for circulation and used as legal tender.

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