The Stamp and Coin Place Blog: connecting the past and present of stamp and coin collecting, and looking to the future.

Large Denomination Currency: The $100,000 Bill

No, it’s not the gimmick bill that you can buy as a joke gift at your local store but has no actual value. It’s an actual banknote at a $100,000 denomination.

The 1934 $100,000 gold certificate features Woodrow Wilson on the obverse. Banks never circulated these bills, but instead used them for transactions by Federal Reserve Banks. They were printed from 1934 to 1935.

Elements of gold accent the bill’s otherwise monotone coloring.

In the 1960’s, use of the bill was stopped and the government found and destroyed many of them.

It’s common to find forgeries of this bill, often with certificates of “authenticity”. Be warned: these certificates can just as easily be forged! Find a professional to ensure that you have the real deal. You can find the real thing at the Smithsonian Institution and a handful of Federal Reserve Banks.

The $100,000 bill can still be used as legal tender today, but be aware: the bill will take much more in auction than its actual denomination. So while you could use it to buy 100,000 packs of gum, you could also sell it to a collector for a hefty price. Think of how many more packs of gum you could buy!

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