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Top 6 Discontinued & Rare U.S. Currency Denominations

A cashless society sounds like a dream, but we’re not quite there yet. No matter how many magical payment methods and devices exist in our lives today such as PayPal or Square.

Some people need to carry around hard currency with them at all times just so they can buy what matters most.

The United States has a rich history of currency, but it’s not just the backbone that keeps us going. There are many other denominations in which Americans can take part.

Some are more common than others! Here is an infographic about those less-common bills:

Here Are 6 Famous but Discontinued U.S. Currency Denominations

$2 Bill

$2 Bill

The first $2 dollars were created in 1862 and first featured an image of Alexander Hamilton before being changed to one of Thomas Jefferson. Aesthetically, the note is worth viewing, with both sides displaying outstanding artwork reproduced on this currency John Trumbull’s “Declaration Of Independence.”

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing still produces $2 bills, but it’s hard to come by for most Americans. There are about 1 billion in circulation right now.

$500 Bill

$500 Bill

The Treasury Department issued many different denominations of the $500 note, each of which featured an image of President William McKinley on the front.

These final coins were formally retired 24 years ago in 1989 when they ceased producing all 500 denominations of currency for circulation and moved solely to bills that could be used in their place, which is why you can now see bills ranging from $10 to $100.

The $500 bill is still legal tender, but it’s no longer the most valuable currency in circulation. Most of these bills can be found with collectors or dealers instead.

And if you’re lucky enough to come across one yourself then make sure your switchover isn’t until after its market value has gone up.

$1,000 Bill

$1,000 Bill

Those who carry a thousand dollars in their wallet might be surprised to learn that it is not the original. The $1,000 bill featured Alexander Hamilton on its front.

At least until someone presumably realized that he was being used for both denominations and so replaced him with another president Grover Cleveland.

Like its smaller cousin’s 500 dollar counterpart (discontinued 1969), this larger denomination seems more useful than ever now too.

The value of a dollar has steadily decreased over time, and it’s not just the CPI to blame. Back in 1969, prices had reached 36-cents on average; by 2019 this number skyrocketed into double digits at 256.

The Treasury Department has a point when they say that making it hard for people with less access or opportunity to convert old bills is necessary in order to prevent money laundering.

Because there are only 165,372 $1,000 bills in existence and this number is so small it could be compared to the population of a single city.

The situation may seem bleak for cashiers across America who have been issuing more than 5 billion dollars worth per month but that doesn’t mean they won’t find work elsewhere once all these lovely stacks go away or at least until new denominations come out.

$5,000 Bill

$5,000 Bill

The $5,000 bill was first produced to pay the Revolutionary War and was only printed legally by our government during the Civil War.

It lacks a photograph because President Richard Nixon changed his mind about criminals using such large sums of money as laundered money in 1969; hence, with no portrait on these notes, you’ll never be mistaken for someone else.

Today, finding a $5,000 bill is like winning the lottery. There are less than 400 of these notes in circulation and they’re all worth over five figures.

$10,000 Bill

$10,000 Bill

Salmon P. Chase, a politician who never served as president but left an extraordinary legacy in American history and became known for his service on the Supreme Court is featured on our $10 bill.

One of the rarest and valuable currencies in America, only a few hundred have survived. The $10,000 bill was first printed in 1918 with its second printing coming just two years later where it would be known for being one-of-a-kind among US currencies until 1969.

When they were purged due to high inflation rates during that time period making this denomination scarce even more so than some other large bills.

$100,000 Bill

$100,000 Bill

The $100,000 note was actually a gold certificate that circulated during the Great Depression. The most famous bill in American history is the Twenty Dollar Bill. It was printed by Wilson and only 42 of these bills were made, making it a rare treasure for collectors all over.

The first hundred thousand dollar bill features President Warren G. Harding on its front side but there are many other presidents who have appeared on currency throughout history including George Washington as well as Andrew Jackson before him Alongside each president’s portrait sits an inscription which reads “In God We Trust” or similar phrases engraved into money metal coins minted at one point.

In the world of rare bills, there are $100k and then there is this. While it cannot legally be held by collectors due to its high value (and if you’re thinking about trying? We’ve got bad news).

However, some institutions like museums display them for educational purposes such as at The Museum Of American Finance which houses over 1 million items in total including many one-dollar coins from every state that ever existed!

Why is the Dollar the Global Currency?

Before the Bretton Woods agreement in 1944, most countries were on a gold standard. Their governments promised to redeem their currencies for their value upon demand.

The world’s developed economies met at Bretton woods to peg all exchange rates against one another and use dollars as an alternative currency instead of pure metal like before, this is when America had some huge reserves which they used up until 1971.

President Nixon’s decision to remove the U.S.’s gold from Fort Knox was a pivotal moment in American history because it allowed countries around the world who had lost faith and trust in their currency, an opportunity to regain what they were once proud of – power over how people are able to think about money itself.



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