Did you ever stop and wonder which country printed the highest denomination bill in the world? If you think better, banknotes have always been designed to match the consumer’s needs as well as the current inflation rate. But why would Governments print large denomination bills?

Think about it for a second. If the inflation rates are high, that can only mean one thing and that is that the supply of money is bigger than the output. Meaning that when households have more cash to spend on goods, yet the amount of goods stays the same, all that extra cash will cause a significant rise in prices.

Sometimes, our requirements can change drastically, which leads to unexpected innovations such as exceptionally large denomination bills. Let’s take a look at some of the world’s highest denomination bills ever printed.

The History Of Paper Money

Paper currency as we know it today was not around forever. FIrs paper money was a result of two great inventions papermaking and printing. Like in most other branches, Ancient China led the way in this area as well. During the reign of the Tang dynasty in the 7th century, merchants began using paper in the form of promissory notes which was similar to today’s contracts.

At that time currency across the world was mostly copper coinage. Coins in that time were circular with a hole in the middle so you can thread the rope through it and carry your money with you on a string with ease.

Rich merchants had a lot of these strings with coins that were too heavy to carry around. In need, they came up with an idea to leave their string coins with a reliable person who than gave them a paper receipt with the exact information of how many coins they deposited.

A few centuries after that paper money replaced coinage in some instances, but a lot of people still used paper receipts. Fortunately, by the 11th century, during the Song dynasty’s reign, jiaozi was printed and issued. This was a form of banknote that is considered the world’s first paper money. 

Jiaozi was invented due to a shortage of copper in 960. Since coins couldn’t be struck anymore the government issued the first banknotes and that is when people notice the advantages of printing paper money. By 1175, a factory in Hangzhou employed over 1000 workers on printing jiaozi money.

However, in the majority of China, coins were still in use until 1274. This is when the Song dynasty established the first national paper currency standard. It was backed by gold or silver. With the arrival of Marco Polo to China in the 13th century the trend of printing instead of forging money became more popular.

Paper money in Europe

In Europe, mostly in London, which was the trading capital of Europe at that time, by the 17th century goldsmith bankers were issuing receipts. These receipts functioned as payable currency to the bearer of the certified document. On the opposing side, you also had the depositor that enclosed the contemporary document with the sentence “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of X pounds. 

In 1661 Sweden’s Stockholms Banco was the first central bank in Europe that attempted to issue banknotes, but due to bankruptcy, this attempt failed. Luckily, in 1694 Bank of England permanently issued handwritten banknotes to an exact amount. By 1745 these banknotes gained fixed denomination status. These were printed in denominations between £20 and £1000 according to the needs.

In the following years, due to the shortage of gold, the Bank of England started issuing £10, £5, then, £1 and £2 banknotes. Since the war depleted England’s reserves, by 1921 Bank of England started printing only legal tender banknotes that were backed up by 100% gold in worth.

List Of Highest Denomination Bill In The World

Logically, with time people realized that printed money was a perfect way to deposit larger amounts of money in a single location. However, for that banks needed to invent higher denomination banknotes.

In the 19th century, some reserve banks and governments began to print and circulate bills with face values that represent enormous sums of money. Here is a list of some of the most valuable and popular high-denomination bills in the world.

100 Trillion Zimbabwe Dollar Banknote

Highest Denomination Bill In The World - 100 Trillion Zimbabwe Dollar Banknote

I’m sure that a lot of you heard about the case of 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollar banknotes. At first glance, this bill denomination is massive. In reality, due to hyperinflation which at that time reached the ridiculous level of 231,000,000%, the people of Zimbabwe could only buy a loaf of

bread for 300 billion Zimbabwean dollars.

In 2008 the government issued a $100 trillion note, making this a historical bill with the highest denomination in the world. However, after a few weeks, they decided to withdraw that bill from circulation and allow people to use other currencies that are much more profitable for both sides. To understand better how pointless the printing of this bill was, keep in mind that a 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollar bill when converted to USD is 40 cents!

Nowadays, this spectacularly-valued banknote can be seen at the museum exhibition or you can check it on Keesing’s Document online reference database.

£10,000,000 banknote

Highest Denomination Bill In The World - £10,000,000 banknote

One of the largest banknotes ever issued was the one by the Bank of England with a denomination of £10,000,000. This historically valuable banknote was issued in 1948 during the post-war reconstruction as a temporary measure.

These banknotes were issued by commercial banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland and were backed pound for pound by the Bank of England. These banknotes were canceled in 1948, just a few months after they were released. The problem was that a few examples escaped into private hands, and these banknotes weren’t meant for circulation.

$100,000 USA Gold Certificate Notes

Highest Denomination Bill In The World - $100,000 USA Gold Certificate Notes

In 1933 after the gold standard dropped and almost all gold was confiscated by the order of President Franklin Roosevelt the US Department of the Treasury printed the Gold Certificate Notes. These notes were issued by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in denominations of $100, $1,000, and $100,000 bills.

President Willson is featured on the obverse side of this bill. It is believed that around 42,000 specimens of these $100,000 bills were printed. However, all are destroyed, and there are only a few surviving examples. There are also 1 Original and 7 reproductions of these original gold certificates that are showcased in museums. Considering this bill was never released to the public, it can’t be legally owned by collectors today.

Back in time a $100,000 gold certificate bill worth around 155 kilograms of gold, which is around $1.5 million in today’s currency rates.

100,000 Armenian dram (AMD)

  • Year: 2009
  • Price: $588
Highest Denomination Bill In The World - 100,000 Armenian dram (AMD)

One of the currently largest banknotes that are still in circulation is 100,000 Armenian dram. This is the second series of Armenian banknotes which started with printing in 1998, while the 100,000 banknotes were released in circulation in 2009.

Even though the Armenian central bank released the third series of banknotes which excluded 100,000 banknotes, there has been no official statement that it will lose its legal tender status, and be withdrawn from circulation. The current value of 100,000 Armenian drams in USD is $258.

$10,000 Federal Reserve Note

Highest Denomination Bill In The World - $10,000 Federal Reserve Note

The largest denomination ever published in circulation for public consumption was a $10,000 bill that featured President Salmon P. Chase image on the obverse side. Even though he was a very successful politician he was remembered the most as the man from the $10,000 bill.

This bill was printed for the first time in 1918 and was withdrawn from circulation in 1969 with all other large denominations. The main reason is that this bill never got much use. At that time the net worth of the average American paycheck was far below this amount. Nowadays only a few hundred examples survived which makes them a very valuable collectible item.

The interesting fact is that there are only five known existing samples of the 1918 series of  $10,000 bills. All of them are currently in the possession of governmental organizations and are labeled with serials B1A, B420A, D1A, L204, and L1957A.

10,000 Singapore dollars (SGD)

Highest Denomination Bill In The World - 10,000 Singapore dollars (SGD)

Singapour dollar banknotes are pretty valuable and attractive among collectors, even though most of these bills are still in circulation. However, there are rumors that the 10,000 Singapore dollars bill will be phased out soon so you better hurry if you want to acquire this bill for a still affordable price. A current value of 10,000 SGD in USD is $7,466.

For a while, this Sing dollar bill was among the largest value of a single banknote in the world.

In fact, this is still one of the world’s most valuable banknotes in terms of purchasing power. First, the 10,000 Sing dollar bill was released in circulation in 1967. Unfortunately, the Singapore Monetary Authority has announced plans to phase all high-value banknotes out.

10,000 Brunei dollars (BND) – Ringgit

Highest Denomination Bill In The World - 10,000 Brunei dollars (BND) - Ringgit

The interesting fact about these banknotes is that they are issued and controlled by the Monetary Authority of Brunie an oil-rich microstate. However, in the 1960s this small state made an agreement with Singapore and make all their currencies freely changeable into Singapore dollars. So in case Singapore phase out large denomination banknotes, Brunei can issue the same denomination for the same value. The current value of 10,000 Ringgits is $7,433.

Brunei issued these 10,000 Ringgit banknotes in 2006 and they are still in circulation. These banknotes are among the rare ones that are printed on polymer plastic material. They are printed in various colors, depending on denomination.

This sepuluh ribu ringgit 10,000 bill features an image of Sultan Bolkiah I of Brunei Darussalam. Due to their interesting design, and the act that they will be ceased out soon, they are pretty sought-after among collectors.

$5,000 Federal Reserve Bill

Highest Denomination Bill In The World - $5,000 Federal Reserve Bill

A long time ago in 1918, these large-denomination bills were printed for the first time only to be used only for bank transfers and large private transactions. Also, they were used to finance the Revolutionary War. On the obverse side, you’ll find a portrait of James Madison. The last series of $5,000 bills was printed in 1945.

Just like the $10,000 bill this one as well was recalled in 1969. The main reason was fear of counterfeiting and money laundering activities.

1,000 Swiss francs (CHF)

Highest Denomination Bill In The World - 1,000 Swiss francs (CHF)

One of the rare countries that are against eliminating high-denomination banknotes in Switzerland. Even though you’ll have a hard time seeing or owning 1,000 CHF banknotes considering Swiss banking is almost entirely off-limits to everyone except their citizens, you can purchase old discontinued bills as a collectible item.

In fact, nowadays even Swiss citizens rarely use this large bill. However, the Swiss government isn’t worried about counterfeiting and money laundering. The first series of 1,000 CHF was printed in 1097, currently, the 7th series of this bill is in use. A value of 1,000 CHF in USD is currently $1,106.

1,000 Emirati Dirhams (AED)

Highest Denomination Bill In The World - 1,000 Emirati Dirhams (AED)

Dirham banknotes are printed in 8 different denominations, including the 1000 Dirhams banknote. UAE just like Switzerland is among the rare countries that are against eliminating high-denomination bills.

Considering they are printing new series of Dirham banknotes pretty often a lot of 1000 DIrham banknotes are discontinued and become valuable collectible items.

This series from 1976 is very valuable and sought-after among collectors. They were withdrawn from circulation in 1981. You’ll recognize them by their simple and unique design.

The obverse side features Fort Jahili in Al Ain, as well as the al-Fahidi Fort and minaret of the Grand Mosque. Also, these bills feature a falcon watermark that represents the emblem of the United Arab Emirates. Currently, 1000 Dirhams are worth around $272.

Pros And Cons Of Using Paper Money

There are many advantages as well as disadvantages of using paper money. However, no matter the disadvantages we can still agree that the creation of it was one of the greatest inventions. It made the exchange and trading undoubtedly more practical and transparent.

In this part of the article, we will talk about some specific pros and cons of paper money, that may not be obvious at first glance.


First of all paper money can be easily controlled in terms of supply and demand. Governments are able to print more banknotes if they see that demand is rising or stop producing if the demand is in the fall. That means that at any time government can align printing practices with the specific requirements.

That leads us to the second advantage which is stability. When you can control circulation you can also control the stability of paper money and prevent deterioration of currency. One of the best examples is how gold quickly became less valuable in Europe after Spain raided America and brought loads of it back home. When there is too much money it starts to lose its value.

The third advantage is obvious. Paper money is easy to store and transfer when needed, compared to precious metal and coins which are heavy and require a lot of space. Also, it is way easier and faster to count paper money than coins.


Every story has its good and bad sides always. As usual, the advantages significantly outweigh the disadvantages still we need to highlight potential problems that occur when using paper money.

The worst downside of using paper money is that it increases inflation. Throughout history, we have seen how printing new banknotes can hype up inflation and negatively impact not only the country’s economy, it can ruin the global economy as well.

The hyperinflation that occurred in Germany as part of their strategy of mass printing banknotes to pay war reparations resulted in a historic collapse in the value of the mark.

Paper money will always have an unstable exchange rate. On one side this is a highly profitable con for traders, but these fluctuations will have very negative impacts on international trade and domestic economic growth.

The third con is something that we’ve all experienced. Paper money can be easily damaged and is far less durable than coins. However, new polymer notes that some countries started to print certainly gives us hope that this will change very soon.


Which currency is the strongest one in the world?

You might be surprised by this list, but there are a few currencies that are much stronger than the US dollar.  Let’s take a look at the strongest currencies in the world based on the number of units they received in exchange for one US dollar.

  • Kuwaiti dinar (KWD) – This is the strongest currency in the world and it was officially introduced in the 1960s. You’ll need to pay $3.26 to buy 1 Kuwaiti dinar.
  • Bahraini dinar (BHD) – The second strongest currency in the world was released in circulation in 1965. To buy 1 Bahraini dinar you need to pay $2.65.
  • Omani rial (OMR) – Oman rial is the third strongest currency in the world thanks to the country’s rich deposits of oil and gas. To buy 1 Omani rial, you need to pay $2.60.
  • Jordanian dinar (JOD) – Jordan is a country that is mainly trading gas and oil which enables them to be listed as the world’s fourth strongest currency. For 1 Jordanian dinar, you’ll pay $1.41.
  • British pound (GBP) – Britain is the sixth largest country by GDP, and the British pound is one of the oldest currencies in the world being in circulation from the 1400s. To buy 1 British pound you will need to pay $1.20.
  • Swiss franc (CHF) – This is the safest and most stable currency of all thanks to Switzerland’s political stability. You can buy 1 CHF for $1.07.
  • Euro (EUR) – The youngest currency on the list and the official currency of the European Union is in use in 20 out of 27 countries of the Eurozone. You’ll need to spend $1.07 to buy 1 Euro.

What demonetization means?

Demonetization is the economic intervention when a currency unit gets stripped of its legal tender status. This process can occur whenever there is a change in national currency, but also it is used to stabilize the currency and fight inflation.

When the current form of money is retired, in most cases it is replaced with new banknotes or coins.

Will Banknotes Disappear Completely?

Although there are now more different and convenient ways to pay for things you shouldn’t be afraid of the total depletion of paper money. We are witnessing that day by day society becomes more and more cashless and credit card-friendly, but cash is here to stay.

Didi you know that there are billions and billions of banknotes in circulation nowadays, which is at least twice as much as there were a decade ago? That only means that a lot of people still prefer using banknotes when making a purchase and will continue to do so. Never underestimate the fact that using paper money is more reliable and anonymous, which is for some people very important.

In fact, many countries in the world are still so underdeveloped and poor that they still heavily rely on paper money. Since they do not have access to cryptocurrencies, or all the commodities of contactless pay and online banking as many of us do, you can rest assured that paper money will be printed for many years to come.

Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *