Is There a $1,000 Dollar Bill? Everything You Should Know

Is There a $1,000 Dollar Bill?


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Is there a $1,000 dollar bill? Yes, there is a $1,000 bill, and although they were discontinued, they are still considered legal tender. In fact, since the Revolutionary War, there have been several series of the $1,000 bill that have been in circulation at one time or another.

While $1,000 bills are still considered legal tender, they are now considered very valuable collectibles and have very high demand. This means that they are far more valuable than their face value.

Believe it or not, there are even $500, $5,000, $10,000, and $100,000 bills. However, the $100,000 bill, which has Woodrow Wilson on it, was a gold certificate and was never circulated, nor was it issued to the public.

With that said, in this post, we’ll discuss the history of the $1,000 bill, who is on it, why it was discontinued, how much a $1,000 bill is worth today, and much more.

History of the $1,000 Bill

The history of the $1,000 bill extends all the way back to the beginning of the United States of America.

The Continental Congress, which was the body of delegates representing the 13 colonies, began issuing U.S. currency starting in 1775, including the nation’s first $1,000 bill.

These $1,000 bills, which were known as continental notes, were used to help fund the Revolutionary War.

While this may seem like a lot of money, these continental notes were not worth much at all, as a large quantity of them were printed and they weren’t back by silver or gold reserves. In fact, they were eventually considered worthless.

With that said, the United States did not begin officially printing $1,000 bills until the beginning of the Civil War, nearly 100 years later.

These $1,000 bills were printed to support the war and were used to purchase war-related goods. Around the same time, the Confederate States of America began issuing its own version of the $1,000 bill.

However, both $1,000 bills became nearly worthless and people ended up burning or destroying them in other ways. With that said, some were conserved and are still in existence to this day.

Fast forward to 1929, the U.S. federal government issued the first series of small $1,000 bills, which were much closer to the size of U.S. currency that we use today.

The main reason these small $1,000 bills were issued was for the purpose of transactions between government and financial institutions.

As a result, the printing of these $1,000 bills climbed drastically. In fact, millions of these bills were printed and thousands of them still exist to this day, which are owned by museums and money collectors.

Who Is on the $1,000 Dollar Bill?

The answer to “Who is on the $1,000 dollar bill?” depends on which series you’re referring to.

For example, in no particular order, the original $1,000 bill has Alexander Hamilton on it, the Series 1928 Green Seal bill has President Grover Cleveland on it, the Civil War-era $1,000 bill has President Andrew Jackson on it, the 1890 Series has General George Meade, who commanded the Union forces at Gettysburg on it, and so on.

You may be confused and asking, “How can the $1,000 bill with Alexander Hamilton on it be the original if there were $1,000 bills during the Civil War?”

The answer is simple. The $1,000 bills during the Civil War were not national banknotes, so the United States Treasury does not consider them legal tender.

With that said, here are two examples of the $1,000 bill:

The Series 1918 Blue Seal

Public Domain

As you can see, the original $1,000 bill, which was brought into circulation in 1918, has Alexander Hamilton on the front and a Bald Eagle on the back.

Hamilton is on the original $1,000 bill because he is credited with the founding of the United States financial system.

The Series 1928 Green Seal

Public Domain

As seen above, the second $1,000 bill, which was printed only 10 years later, has the 22nd and 24th President Grover Cleveland on it. It is believed that there are only roughly 165,000 bills with President Cleveland on them in existence.

He is said to be on the second $1,000 bill because he was the only president to have served two non-consecutive terms at the time.

Why Was the 1000 Dollar Bill Discontinued?

The United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing claims that the U.S. federal government stopped printing large denomination bills due to a “lack of use.”

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing also claims that printing new series was not cost-effective because each series required new plates to be engraved for small print runs.

However, it’s believed that the real reason we stopped using $1,000 bills is that they were being used for illegal activities, such as money laundering.

According to Business Insider, Dennis Forgue, a numismatist who works at Harlan J. Berk Ltd., a coin-dealing company, said that the 37th President Richard Nixon thought $1,000 bills made money laundering easier, and as a result, led him to order their discontinuation.

It is also believed that $1,000 bills were discontinued as a result of transactions.

Simply put, modern technologies such as checks or any form of electronic transfer like credit cards, made it pointless to carry around such a large banknote.

In other words, electronic transfer makes transactions far more efficiently than a banknote does.

How Much is a $1,000 Dollar Bill Worth Today?

Although the $1,000 bill was discontinued over 60 years ago, the U.S. Treasury still considers it legal tender.

Considering this, a $1,000 bill is worth at least its face value of $1,000. However, this is rarely the case, as they are usually worth a lot more due to their rarity.

With that said, here are top three characteristics that affect the value of a $1,000 bill:

  • Condition: A grading system is used to determine the condition of $1,000 bills. The grading system is usually in the order of best to worst – uncirculated (never circulated), about uncirculated, extremely fine, very fine, fine, very good, good, fair, poor.
  • Rarity: Simply put, the more rare a bill, the more it will be worth. Considering this, $1,000 bills with unusual markings, misprints, rare serial numbers, and so on, will be worth the most.
  • Demand: Lastly, supply and demand still applies to $1,000 bills, regardless of their rarity. The more collectors that are interested in a specific type, the more valuable it will be.

To put it in perspective, a very rare $1,000 bill was sold for more than $2 million dollars in 2018 at an auction in Baltimore. However, a $1,000 bill in perfect condition is usually only worth slightly more than 10 times its full face value.

Is There a $1,000 Dollar Bill? FAQs

Here are a few frequently asked questions relating to the $1,000 dollar bill:

Is a $1,000 Bill Illegal?

No, a $1,000 bill is not illegal. In fact, as previously mentioned, the U.S. Treasury still considers them legal tender. However, due to their rarity, they are now considered collectibles and are highly valuable.

Do They Still Print $1000 Bill?

No, as previously stated, the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing does not still print $1,000 bills.

Although some stayed in circulation for two decades, from 1945 to 1965, all high-denomination bills, such as the $500 bill, the $1,000 bill, the $5,000 bill, etc. were recalled and discontinued in 1969.

Can You Still Use a 1000 Dollar Bill?

Although the United States federal government stopped printing $1,000 bills in 1945, you can still use them.

In other words, while they were discontinued, $1,000 bills are still considered legal tender and there are still some in circulation.

As a rule of thumb, any United States currency that was issued after 1860 is legal tender and redeemable at its entire face value or more.

Can You Get a $1000 Dollar Bill From the Bank?

Although $1,000 bills are still legal tender and there are even some still in circulation, you cannot get a $1,000 bill from a bank or any other financial institution, as they do not carry them. $1,000 bills are extremely rare.

Final Words on $1,000 Dollar Bills

To recap what we have just discussed:

  • There are $1,000 dollar bills
  • They were designed for the purpose of transactions between United States government institutions and financial institutions
  • President Grover Cleveland is on the $1,000 Series 1928 Green Seal Bill and Alexander Hamilton is on the $1,000 Series 1918 Blue Seal Bill, and so on
  • They were discontinued in 1945 due to them being used for money laundering
  • They’re still considered legal tender
  • A $1,000 dollar bill in perfect condition can be worth more than 10 times its full face value

Whether it’s gifted to you from a grandparent, you come across one at a garage sale, etc., make sure to keep it as safe as possible.

If the time comes that you’re interest in selling it, the $1,000 bill will keep its value as long as it’s in the same condition as when you received it.

I hope you found this post helpful and provided you with answers to all your questions about the $1,000 bill.

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