The $1000 Dollar Bill: Everything You Need To Know

$1000 Dollar Bill

In our day-to-day lives, we don’t often encounter large amounts of cash.

The US currency system has gone through many changes over the years especially paper money. These changes in the paper money were made due to many reasons.

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Understanding The 1000 Dollar Bill

One of those reasons is to overcome the sophistication of thieves.


The other reasons include the lack of demands and the rising costs. Due to these changes, there were many denominations of the paper currency which also includes the $1000 bill. The US treasury stopped printing this builds many years ago but the $1000 bill did not lose it’s worth even today. What is not merely a piece of paper but holds a lot of value and worth.

As a rule, we don’t hold big amounts of money in cash. Usually, we deal with a few hundred dollar bills. Even in the movies, large amounts of cash are represented by a suitcase stuffed with $100 dollar bills.

That made me wonder: did higher denomination dollar bills even exist in the United States?

Could the gangsters in the movies use a small envelope of $1000 dollar bills rather than a conspicuous briefcase?

Is there a $1000 Dollar Bill?

Yes, believe it or not, the $1000 dollar bill is real and is still considered legal tender.

However, the chances of you stumbling onto one on accidentally is pretty slim. As of 2009, there were only around 165,000 known remaining thousand dollar bills. Most of those are in museums are in the hands of collectors.

You’re probably wondering who had the (mis)fortune of being on the thousand dollar bill.

The History of $1000 Bill

The US government issued the first $1000 bill in 1861. In the same year, this note was included among the first banknotes by the Confederate States of America. At that time Montgomery was the original capital of the confederacy.

But because of the Montgomery issues in 1861, these notes could have been very valuable. But the war broke out which made this Confederate money much worthless.

After the civil war, many people destroyed and burned these notes as they were of no value after that. But this note was saved by very few people and became very rare and can be found still today.

These notes were also printed to help finance the revolutionary war. This was said by Matthew batman who is an assistant curator at the American numismatic society. This is an organization which studies the coins and currency. These notes were issued by the Continental Congress which represents 13 colonies.
At that time these $1000 bills were used only in the real estate deals and for transferring money from one bank to another.
In 1928 the paper money was changed to its current size.

Due to this, the printing of $1000 notes was increased, and millions of these notes were printed. Almost thousands, out of those million notes are still available and are owned by the general people and the old money collectors.

Who is on the $1000 dollar bill?

There are actually two people on the $1000 dollar bill – Alexander Hamilton and President Grover Cleveland.

No, they’re not sharing a portrait. There are two people because there are two different $1000 dollar bills.

The $1,000 Series 1918 Blue Seal Bill

The first $1000 dollar bill was printed and brought into circulation in 1918. It has Alexander Hamilton’s face on the front and an eagle on the back. Here is a picture of the 1918 $1000 dollar bill:

picture of a $1000 dollar bill with Alexander Hamilton's face on it

Why Alexander Hamilton?

Besides having a Broadway musical made about his life, Alexander Hamilton was the Founding Father who’s credited with founding the country’s financial system.

The $1000 Series 1928 Green Seal Bill

The second $1000 bill came only ten years later in 1928. This bill has the face of President Grover Cleveland on it. Here’s what this $1000 dollar note looks like:

picture of a $1000 dollar bill with Grover Clevelands face on it

Why Grover Cleveland? Well, he was our 22nd and 24th president.

Did you notice what makes him special? He’s the only president (so far) to serve two non-consecutive terms.

An important point to remember is that these bills are Federal Reserve notes, not gold certificates or silver certificates.

Also, these two bills aren’t the first thousand dollar bills that the United States has seen. In fact, during the Civil War, the confederate currency included a $1000 banknote. Since these are not national banknotes, the U.S. Treasury doesn’t deem them as legal tender.

How much is a one thousand dollar bill worth?

Interested in buying a $1000 dollar bill now?

It won’t be easy. Finding a $1000 dollar bill for sale is pretty rare outside of the collectors market. Most large denominations of U.S. currency falls into this category of uncirculated paper currency.

Even if you did find one, a thousand dollar bill is valued at much more than it’s face value of a thousand dollars now. Because of its rarity, you can normally buy one for upwards of $20,000.

This means, if you know of an elderly person with stacks of cash hidden away, you may want to help them go through it and check for rare bills. They could be sitting on a goldmine.

The worth of these notes greatly depends on their present condition. The good the condition of the note, the high will be its value. So, here we will also discuss the categories of its three different conditions.

Grading System:
Here we will describe different categories of these notes. They are divided into three grading systems.

Very Fine:
This is the note which for a long time was in circulation and is relatively crisp. This note may have light smudges and folds.

Extremely Fine:
This is a note which has been circulated lesser. This note will show the original crispness and will be as bright as day. There are absolutely no stains or tears or discoloration in it but may have minor folds.

MS 63 Uncirculated:
This is the note which is not circulated even once. This not have the original crispness. It doesn’t have any of the folds, stains, tears, or discoloration in it.

Why aren’t $1000 dollar bills used anymore?

While they’re still legal tender, high-denomination bills like the $1000 dollar bill were last printed in 1945. Then, in 1969 the Federal Reserve Bank officially discontinued them due to “lack of use”.

Originally the purpose of high-denomination bills was to help banks and the federal government make large transactions. With the introduction of the electronic money system, the use of the high-denomination paper money and large bills disappeared. Along with the higher potential for counterfeiting and use for illegal activities, it’s very unlikely that high-denomination bills are ever going to come back into circulation.

Another reason that the $1000 dollar bill was discontinued is that it wasn’t very cost-efficient. In fact, it was cheaper to print a bunch of $1 bills to match the value of the $1000 treasury note.

In the 21st century, it’s much safer and easier to carry around a credit card than a large bank note. It’s really no surprise that the Federal Reserve discontinued large size paper money. Most high-denomination bills are purely collectibles now.


To summarize:

  • Yes, a $1000 dollar bill exists and is still technically considered legal tender.
  • It’s now worth much more than a thousand dollars because of how rare the note is. It’s valued at upwards of $20,000.
  • Alexander Hamilton’s and Grover Cleveland’s faces grace the two different $1000 dollar bill series.
  • Its original purpose was to help facilitate large transactions between banks and U.S. government institutions.

Interested in other high denomination bills and banknotes?

Did you know there exists a $500 dollar bill, a $5,000 dollar billa $10,000 dollar bill, and even a $100,000 dollar bill? Imagine having one of these bad boys grocery shopping during the pandemic, you could buy out ALL the toilet paper!


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