As wallets are getting smaller, and non-existent, the idea of a cashless society is spread across the world like wildfire. And, those of us who appreciate their money in a physical form are experiencing some issues, to say the least. People don’t accept cash anymore, and paying with a card or with the phone is a bit weird when one thinks about it.

Just a couple of decades ago, not only were we using cash for everything, but we had such interesting currencies that made things actually easy; sure, a piece of paper can tear apart, but it also doesn’t require Wi-Fi and electricity to work, right? But, enough with the jokes ‘and the bashing of the no-cash direction the world is heading towards). We’re here to tackle the age-old question; is there a 1000-dollar bill?  

There have been several $1,000 bills issued in the past, but they are no longer in circulation today:

  • The first $1,000 bill was issued in the late 18th century during the Revolutionary War, but it was quickly discontinued as it was not backed by gold or silver.
  • In the 1860s during the Civil War, another $1,000 bill was issued, this time backed by reserves, so it remained in circulation into the early 20th century.
  • In the early 1900s, the Federal Reserve printed $1,000 bills featuring Grover Cleveland. Around 170,000 were printed but rarely circulated publicly.
  • The last $1,000 bills were Series 1934 gold certificates featuring Cleveland. Only 42,000 were printed before production stopped. These had limited circulation.
  • The most common $1,000 bill collectible today is the 1918 Federal Reserve Note featuring Cleveland. Over 165,000 were printed and these trade for $1,500-$2,000 depending on condition.
  • Rarer are 1880s $1,000 silver certificates featuring Alexander Hamilton, with less than 15 known to exist today, worth over $3 million each.
  • The 1890 $1,000 Treasury Note is also extremely rare with one selling at auction for $2 million.
  • Genuine $1,000 bills from the early 20th century can range from $1,500 up to $100,000+ for ones with golden seals. Condition is very important.

So in summary, while no longer in circulation, $1,000 bills do exist and are highly valued collectibles trading hands for thousands to millions of dollars depending on type, age, seals, condition and rarity. Most are only available through specialist dealers or at auction.

Is There a 1000 Dollar Bill?

Is There a 1000 Dollar Bill

For those looking for a short answer; yes, a 1000 dollar (USD) bill did exist, at some point. For those looking for the actual story of this currency, you should stick around, because it is super interesting!

First of all, let’s get one thing out of the way; a 1000-dollar bill wasn’t the highest denomination back in the day. There existed currencies like 5000 and 10,000 USD; but more on that later.

The first thousand-dollar bill came into existence when the United States was still comprised of 13 colonies. The 1000-dollar bill was created as a result of the Revolutionary War. Well, the War needed funding, and what better way to do so in tough times than by creating a new denomination? Now, don’t get it twisted; a 1000-dollar bill, back in the late 18th century, wasn’t really worth 1000 dollars (as per current value). Because the bill wasn’t backed with gold and silver reserves, people quickly realized that the bill is worth just a fraction of what it was supposed to be. So, it was quickly discontinued.

But, just a century later, there was yet another war; this time around, the Civil War required support and funding. So, what did the government do? It started printing out 1000-dollar bills. And this time, the denomination stuck around and managed to get into the next century.

Now, the 20th century was full of uncertainties and turmoil. The Federal Reserve started issuing a few 1000-dollar bill series. These bills looked like what we nowadays know as the design and size of a USD bill. Nevertheless, these bills weren’t really released into circulation; a common person couldn’t really get a hold of this bill. The 1000 dollar bill was only used for exchanges between banks, or for purchasing real estate (or basically any other high-value item). So, naturally, the bill was created to appeal to the already rich.

In the years leading up to World War II, the Federal Reserve released a few 1000-dollar gold certificate bills, with a face value of 1000 USD. After the War, the U.S Federal government stopped printing 1000 dollar bills altogether, since it wasn’t really cost-effective, and the time wasn’t simply right. So, the bill got discontinued, to this very day.

Customer brought in a 1934 thousand dollar bill. After ten years in banking finally got to see one in person.
byu/3BirbsInARainCoat ininterestingasfuck

How Did It Look Like?

Little is known about the 1000 dollars bills issued centuries ago, but a bit more information is available when it comes to the design and appearance of the 20th-century 1000-dollar bill. The 1918 version is the one with minimal decoration and adornment, as well as with a portrait of Alexander Hamilton. The face of the former Secretary of Treasury was looking over the Federal Reserve emblem, to the left side.

However, it has been realized that the face of Alexander Hamilton is actually getting confused with the face of President Grover Cleveland, so a replacement was suggested. Therefore, the 1000-dollar bill showed a portrait of President Cleveland until 1934. Now, when it comes to the reverse of the 1000 dollar bill, it surely included a lot of American and national symbolism; from the American flag, a bald eagle, to the words ‘The United States of America’ in a large font.

How Much Was and Is It Worth?

Many assume that a 1000-dollar bill was incredibly valuable and of face value. However, that is not the case. In the early 20th century, it has been estimated that a 1000-dollar bill would actually be around 130 USD in the present day. The reason for this is, of course, inflation.

But, what if you happen to come across a 1000-dollar bill nowadays? How much would it be?

Well, this incredibly high denomination, for the current standards, is rather rare. That would be the first thing one needs to understand and simply lower the expectations of ever coming across one such bill. These 1000-dollar bills were rarely circulated, and most collectors simply have no idea this bill exists. Nevertheless, the bill is real and some people do have it in their possession.

Currently, it is almost impossible to find this bill on sale, at least when it comes to online auctions. But, we did come across one listing, where the 1000-dollar bills are currently valued at around 4000 USD. The listing claims the bill was preserved in excellent condition within a clear currency holder to protect it from fingerprints, dust, and wear-tear.

As we previously mentioned, genuine listings are rare, so it is hard to determine the average current value of the 1000-dollar bills. In general, a collector that comes across such a bill can expect it to be at least double its value nowadays. We do have to point out that bills printed in the 1920s (those with golden certificates or golden seals) could be worth anywhere between 20,000 USD and 100,000 USD, in the present day. 

How Much Was and Is It Worth

We did come across a listing, provided by the Stack’s Bowers Galleries, where a 1890 1000 USD Treasury Note was sold for an incredible 2,040,000 USD in 2018. The estimated value of the Treasury Note was between 1,250,000 USD and 1,750,000 USD. This leas us to the conclusion that a 1000 dollar bill, if ever available at a public auction, will reachs millions and millions of dollars in estimated value as time goes by.

TIL that A $500, $1000, $5000, and $10,000 bill exists and is still legal tender
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Where Can One Find a 1000 Dollar Bill?

The 1000-dollar bills are extremely rare. Because they were discontinued so long ago, and most of them never circulated, it is almost impossible to come across a listing with a 1000 dollar bill. You will, however, come across a rather large number of fake listings, claiming they’re selling true, genuine 1000-dollar bills. Truth be told, it is incredibly difficult to determine whether someone is actually offering a real deal or a fake bill, but we do know that there aren’t many of these bills, and considering that people are selling them everywhere doesn’t really add up.

Unfortunately, one’s best option for acquiring a 1000-dollar bill is through a serious currency collector or dealer. Even then, it may be super difficult to reach out to such people, or even find them. Heritage Auctions (world’s largest collectivles auctioneer), does provide insight into closed or active listings, offering rare and even ‘proof’ collections of 1000 dollar bills, dating back to the late 19th, early 20th century.

rare and even 'proof' collections of 1000 dollar bills

If you’re really looking to purchase a rare 1000 dollar bill, we recommend you check out the currently live auctions at the APMEX Investment website. They offer rare 1000 dollar bills dating back between 1928 and 1934. All of the bills are graded ‘extra fine’, meaning they are protected and preserved within a plastic curreny holder and were never circulated. The average price on the currently active listings is between 3,000 and 4,000 USD, give or take.

Some people also believe they can get a 1000 dollar bill from a Bank, upon request. We’ve also decided to look into these claims and found out that it isn’t really that simple, or possible for anyone. The issue lies in the fact that the only paper 1000 USD bill issued by the US government is a Series I bond. This bond can only be obtained by requesting part of one’s income tax refund in savings bonds. 

Final Thoughts

Throughout history, the U.S. Treasury has discontinued an array of uncommon currencies, but no other currency has piqued the public interest as the 1000 dollar bill. Despite scarce information, we’ve really tried to provide our readers with as much info and facts as possible. We hope you’ve enjoyed this brief trip into the history of the 1000-dollar bill. For more information, you can always consult the official U.S. Treasury and National Currency associations or the Treasury Department website.

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