Wall Street Times

Rare $10,000 Great Depression-Era Bill Fetches $480,000 at Auction

Image commercially licensed from: DepositPhotos

An Exceptional Find

In a remarkable and historic turn of events, a seldom-seen $10,000 bill dating back to the Great Depression era has recently been sold at auction for a staggering $480,000. This extraordinary piece of American currency not only holds substantial monetary value but also carries with it a rich history that provides us with a unique glimpse into a bygone era.

A Glimpse into History

This Federal Reserve note, which hails from the year 1934, is no ordinary banknote. It is a certified gem in the world of numismatics. It has received the prestigious certification of Paper Money Guaranty (PMG) and boasts an Exceptional Paper Quality (EPQ) grading. The handling of this significant transaction fell into the capable hands of Heritage Auctions, a renowned Dallas-based auction house known for its expertise in rare and valuable collectibles.

The Boston Note Breaks Records

The bill itself is a historical masterpiece, featuring the distinguished face of Salmon P. Chase, who served as the Secretary of the Treasury during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. This rare piece of currency achieved the remarkable feat of claiming the top spot at the Long Beach Expo currency auction conducted by Heritage Auctions. In doing so, it not only secured its place in the annals of history but also shattered records, leaving collectors and enthusiasts in awe of its significance.

Depression-Era Bill: A Collector’s Delight

Dustin Johnston, the vice president of currency at Heritage Auctions, expressed, “Large-denomination notes have always drawn the interest of collectors of all levels.” This statement underscores the enduring appeal of such rare and valuable currency in the world of collecting. The $10,000 bill, in particular, has a special place in the hearts of collectors due to its historical significance and scarcity. Its acquisition is akin to acquiring a piece of history itself.

A Bill of Remarkable Rarity

Prior to this groundbreaking sale, the highest known sale price for a 1934 $10,000 bill was $384,000 in September 2020. However, this recent sale not only eclipses that figure but also sets a new and remarkable record for any 1934 bill. It signifies not only the increasing appreciation of rare currency but also the continued interest in historical artifacts that connect us to our past.

An Elite Club

Johnston further revealed that PMG has graded only four other small-sized $10,000 Federal Reserve notes as equal to or better than this particular specimen. A mere five bills scored higher, making this note an undisputed treasure among treasures. Its exceptional quality and rarity elevate it to a category of collectibles that few ever have the privilege of owning.

A Unique History

Remarkably, this $10,000 bill holds the distinction of being the highest denomination note ever intended for public circulation. Its larger counterpart, the $100,000 bill, was solely used for fund transfers between Federal Reserve banks, as documented by the Museum of American Finance website. This historical context adds layers of intrigue to the bill’s story, making it not just a piece of currency but a fascinating artifact.

A Pristine Piece

It’s worth noting that the bill auctioned had never seen circulation, as confirmed by Heritage Auctions. Due to its lack of use, currency notes in denominations of $500 or higher were discontinued in 1969, according to the US Bureau of Engraving & Printing website. This piece’s immaculate condition and pristine history make it all the more remarkable.

The New Face of High Denominations

Since then, the $100 bill has been the highest denomination issued by the US. In a parallel coin auction held in conjunction with this historic bill’s sale, a rare 1899 double eagle $20 gold coin, featuring a Liberty portrait, achieved an equally impressive sum of $468,000. This coin, of which only 84 were ever issued, is an exceptional rarity, with approximately 30 still believed to exist. Todd Imhof, the executive vice president at Heritage Auctions, described it as an “exceptional rarity” that carries the highest grade out of all the surviving coins of its kind.

In conclusion, this extraordinary $10,000 bill and the rare 1899 double eagle coin serve as reminders of the enduring allure of history and the fascinating world of numismatics, where every artifact tells a story. These recent record-breaking sales not only represent substantial financial transactions but also moments where the past and the present converge, enriching our understanding of the world through the lens of collectibles.