The value of a U.S. Treasury issued dollar bill is supposed to be the same in each denomination. A $1 bill is fungible in that each $1 bill in circulation has exactly the same value and can be exchanged for any other, regardless of its condition. The value of printed currency is supposed to be fungible, and this matters in a world where non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrencies have garnered so much attention. Just do not dare change a $1,000 bill for the same $1,000 in other denominations.
One of the previously issued $1,000 dollar bills is not worth anywhere close to $1,000 any longer. They are no longer fungible. In fact, you would be considered insane or simply being an idiot if you traded in a $1,000 bill for ten $100 bills or for one-thousand $1 bills. While the actual market value of each example of $1,000 varies from day to day, based on many issues, a $1,000 bill in any condition is worth an exponential premium to the face value.
Collectors Dashboard evaluates high-end collectibles as an alternative asset class. This means collectibles are attracting the same capital that could have been invested into stocks or bonds. If coins and currency are trading at prices like this, it makes sense that collectors are competing directly against investors looking to make a buck or two.
(Image above by Heritage Auctions)
WHAT DRIVES $1,000 BILL VALUES
Before getting into the pricing trends that $1,000 bills have been commanding in 2021, there are some key observations. First and foremost, there is no set value that can be written in stone. Key features to notice are that low serial numbers and that light green ink will command the highest prices. The light green ink is a printing feature. Another factor is of course the condition, and whether or not a bill is graded or not. The higher the grade, the higher the price it will command.
The $1,000 bills with better features garner the most attention in relation to eBay sales. Another destination for $1,000 bill sales is Heritage Auctions.
Collectors and those who invest in collectibles should not be surprised that the more unique features (low serial numbers) and better conditions (ink and grading) command the highest prices. The same is generally true in all collectibles.
BACKGROUND OF THE $1,000 BILL
The United States used to issue the prized $1,000 bill that is so desirable to collectors. It has already been determined that the market price of each $1,000 bill is worth much more than the printed face value. Each bill’s market value depends on years, regional issue, serial numbers, condition, and other special designations (stars for one).
Series 1928, 1934, and 1934A $1,000 notes are unique in the currency-collecting realm. No bill of that size was printed after 1945. The Nixon administration put a halt on circulation of the $1,000 bill in 1969, citing its popularity with organized crime. The $1,000 bill did not fade away from society and circulation instantly. These bills continued to be found in circulation into the 1980s, and even when they would pop up at banks they really did not command much over face value. The physical size of the $1,000 bill is equal to any other denominated bill in your billfold.
Most of the $1,000 bills have been removed from circulation. The website CurrencyandCoin.com has noted that there were just 165,000 of $1,000 bills which remain in circulation or are still in private hands (as of 2009).
VALUES OVER TIME HAVE RISEN
Collectors Dashboard is not alone in noting that the purchasing power of all current notes in circulation diminishes in time due to inflation. The $1,000 bill is something else entirely. It has appreciated handily from the 1980s.
The Currency Dealer Newsletter’s volume 1 number 1 from September 1980 listed average circulated series 1928, 1934, and 1934A as something a dealer would only bid $1,020 dollars on. The asking (for sale) price would be $1,075 in a shop at the time, but the same series began to be noticed by collectors.
Examples that were uncirculated started to be valued $300 to $400 dollars above face value, as listed in the Grey Sheets as the publication is nicknamed. As grading has helped clear up the transparency of many aspects within collectibles, about uncirculated roughly translates to a PCGS 50 grade. Zoom forward in time and a 1934A note in the same condition sold for $4,499 dollars on March 7, 2021.
Low serial numbers and star notes command premiums today above notes that are certified by PMG. Otherwise, the three series are somewhat affordable and have consistent value. What must be understood by collectors and investors alike is the contrast in value by circulated and worn bills that did not command much value over face in the 1990s has risen handily since that time.
WHAT YOU CAN BUY NOW
The money and metals site APMEX sells $1,000 bills at the lower end of grading and ungraded for $2,895 to $2,995 per note. That said, most of the $1,000 bills in ungraded condition sell for $3,695 per bill.
On April 11, 2021 a 1934 series PMG graded note in Very Good condition sold for $2,395. The New York issued note is unremarkable and well worn in appearance but supported visually in its protective certified PMG case.
On March 12, 2021 a visually nicer and by all appearances a higher graded note issued by the same federal bank sold without PMG certification for just $1,800.
On February 17, 2021 a 1934 series Very Fine condition $1,000 dollar bill with a low serial number, which is a key feature of higher premiums, sold for $5,998.95.
RECENT EBAY & HERITAGE SALES
eBay has become a top selling destination for buyers and sellers alike within numismatics. With ample supply and a look that commands attention from all currency collectors, eBay will continue to be a destination for sales. And of course there is Heritage Auctions with many more sales than we have mentioned below.
We first looked at pricing and valuations in August of 2021, and now it’s time to zoom to December of 2021 as the year is coming to an end. Collectors Dashboard wanted to find what the base price range would be on a standard nondescript $1,000 bill. Any collector or investor who wants to own an ungraded $1,000.00 bill without much care about special characteristics and without demanding the higher conditions has had to pay anywhere from $2,300 or more and some ungraded examples can sell for over $4,000. Most sales of ungraded bills will be closer to the $3,000 mark, with weaker conditions sending the price lower and vice versa.
There was an eBay sale that went off for $2,300 (or best offer) in a bill that was somewhat mangled. We have decided to stick with sales from eBay which were auctions that were “sold” and almost all of the ones we tracked had at least 5 to 10 bids. Some bids were 50 or more total bids, which denotes high demand from buyers.
Here are the December 2021 analysis of the eBay sales in a rather long format going back into early 2021:
- PMG Graded AU 50 Cleveland, OH 1934A $1000 One Thousand Dollar Bill D00034175A sold for $4,350.00 on December 2, 2021 after 50 bids.
- 1934A Atlanta One Thousand Dollar Bill F00107025A ungraded sold for $4,450.00 on December 1, 2021 after 41 bids.
- 1934 Chicago One Thousand Dollar Bill 500 Fr.2211 G00056274A ungraded sold for $4,350.00 on November 28, 2021 after 51 bids.
- 1934A Atlanta One Thousand Dollar Bill F00058355A ungraded sold for $3,600.00 on November 28, 2021 after 51 bids.
- 1934A Washington DC One Thousand Dollar Bill L00076174A ungraded sold for $3,332.00 on November 28, 2021 after 21 bids.
- 1934A Boston One Thousand Dollar Bill A00041087A ungraded with visible stains sold for $2,830.00 on November 27, 2021 after 8 bids.
- PMG Graded Choice Uncirculated 63 EPQ 1934A Chicago One Thousand Dollar Bill G00268916A sold for $6,225.00 on November 27, 2021 after 28 bids.
- 1934A St. Louis One Thousand Dollar Bill G00042025A ungraded sold for $3,600.00 on November 27, 2021 after 36 bids.
- 1934A Chicago One Thousand Dollar Bill G00193953A ungraded sold for $2,553.00 on November 27, 2021 after 41 bids.
- PMG Graded 45 EPQ 1934A Chicago One Thousand Dollar Bill G00242300A sold for $4,200.00 on November 26, 2021 after 13 bids.
- PMG Graded AU 55 EPQ 1934A Chicago One Thousand Dollar Bill G00234486A sold for $5,150.00 on November 25, 2021 after 35 bids.
- 1934A Cleveland One Thousand Dollar Bill D00033695A ungraded sold for $3,051.00 on November 25, 2021 after 32 bids.
- 1934A Chicago One Thousand Dollar Bill G00253025A ungraded sold for $4,000.00 on November 23, 2021 after 74 bids.
- 1934A Minneapolis One Thousand Dollar Bill G00042025A ungraded sold for $3,050.00 on November 15, 2021 after 39 bids.
- 1934A Cleveland One Thousand Dollar Bill D00040496A ungraded sold for $2,950.00 on October 31, 2021 after 30 bids.
- 1934A Chicago One Thousand Dollar Bill G00177109A ungraded sold for $4,250.00 on October 30, 2021 after 41 bids.
- PMG Graded AU 55 EPQ 1934A Chicago One Thousand Dollar Bill G00196488A sold for $5,100.00 on October 24, 2021 after 56 bids.
- 1934 San Francisco One Thousand Dollar Bill L00000085A ungraded Light Green Seal sold for $5,150.00 on October 23, 2021 after 45 bids.
- 1934A Chicago One Thousand Dollar Bill G00244059A ungraded sold for $2,810.00 on October 17, 2021 after 63 bids.
- 1934 Chicago One Thousand Dollar Bill G00111715A ungraded sold for $3,851.00 on October 17, 2021 after 46 bids.
- PMG Graded VF 35 1934 New York One Thousand Dollar Bill B00280732A sold for $4,100.00 on October 17, 2021 after 37 bids.
- 1934 Chicago One Thousand Dollar Bill G00134930A ungraded sold for $3,950.00 on October 13, 2021 after 54 bids.
- 1934 Chicago One Thousand Dollar Bill G00104359A ungraded sold for $3,960.00 on October 11, 2021 after 29 bids.
- 1934A San Francisco One Thousand Dollar Bill L00097246A ungraded sold for $3,650.00 on October 10, 2021 after 23 bids.
- PMG Graded VF 35 1934A Chicago One Thousand Dollar Bill G00250472A sold for $4,050.00 on October 2, 2021 after 45 bids.
- 1934 Philadelphia One Thousand Dollar Bill C00015705A ungraded sold for $3,005.00 on October 1, 2021 after 9 bids.
- 1934A Kansas City One Thousand Dollar Bill J00048740A ungraded sold for $4,350.00 on September 28, 2021 after 31 bids.
- 1934 New York One Thousand Dollar Bill B00189081A ungraded sold for $4,250.00 on September 28, 2021 after 42 bids.
- 1934 Chicago One Thousand Dollar Bill G00045738A ungraded Light Green Seal sold for $5,100.00 on September 23, 2021 after 29 bids.
- 1934A Chicago One Thousand Dollar Bill G00245545A ungraded sold for $4,100.00 on September 22, 2021 after 38 bids.
- 1934A Kansas City One Thousand Dollar Bill J00040826A ungraded sold for $3,600.00 on September 20, 2021 after 45 bids.
- 1934 Boston One Thousand Dollar Bill A00019336A ungraded sold for $3,800.00 on September 20, 2021 after 16 bids.
- 1934 San Francisco One Thousand Dollar Bill L00054508A ungraded sold for $2,676.00 on September 20, 2021 after 23 bids.
- PMG Graded Choice UNC 63 1934 Chicago One Thousand Dollar Bill G00083569A sold for $5,200.00 on September 19, 2021 after 34 bids.
- 1934 Dallas One Thousand Dollar Bill K00033672A ungraded sold for $3,100.00 on September 15, 2021 after 61 bids.
- 1934A San Francisco One Thousand Dollar Bill L00092322A ungraded sold for $2,900.00 on September 15, 2021 after 52 bids.
- 1934 Chicago One Thousand Dollar Bill G00045738A ungraded Light Green Seal sold for $8,300.00 on September 14, 2021 after 42 bids.
- 1934A St. Louis One Thousand Dollar Bill H00047692A ungraded visible stains sold for $2,991.00 on September 13, 2021 after 26 bids.
- PMG Graded AU 50 1934 Minneapolis One Thousand Dollar Bill I00006467A sold for $4,902.00 on September 12, 2021 after 36 bids.
- Rare High Grade 1934 Atlanta $1000 One Thousand Dollar Bill Fr.2211 sold for $2,676.00 on August 1st, 2021 after 38 bids.
- 1934 $1000 One Thousand Dollar Chicago Federal Reserve Note sold for $2,676.00 on July 4, 2021 after 41 bids.
- 1934 A $1000 Federal Reserve Note, Middle Grade, Original One Thousand Dollars sold for $2,700.00 on August 8, 2021 after bids.
- New York 1934 $1000 One Thousand Dollar Bill 500 Fr.2211 B00148194A sold for $2,700.00 on June 10, 2021 after 23 bids.
- Chicago 1934A $1000 One Thousand Dollar Bill Fr.2212 G00242848A sold for $2,772.00 on June 12, 2021 after 16 bids.
- $1000 dollar bill, 1934 A, Chicago sold for $2,800.05 on July 5, 2021 after 11 bids.
- New York 1934 A $1000 One Thousand Dollar Bill 500 Fr. 2211 B00422511 A sold for $2,851.00 on August 4, 2021 after 9 bids.
- 1934-A $1000 One Thousand Dollar Bill Fr.2212-A A00038175A VF sold for $2,850.00 on June 9, 2021 after bids.
- 1934 $1000 One Thousand Dollar Dallas Federal Reserve Note Fr#2211K sold for $2,874.00 on June 21, 2021 after 9 bids.
- 1934 $1000 dollar bill sold for $2,900.00 on August 1, 2021 after 25 bids.
- 1934 $1000 One Thousand Dollar Bill San Francisco Note PCGS VF 20 sold for $2,900.00 on May 28, 2021 after 18 bids.
While we did not conduct the same review for Heritage Auctions, the highlights from October 8, 2021 showed many high-end examples sold. In fact, one of those sales is automatically the most important $1,000 bill (Image provided by Heritage Auctions) most of us will ever see. Guess which one of them was the highest below. Here are those key Heritage Auction sales:
- PMG Graded VF 25 1934 San Francisco One Thousand Dollar Bill Serial Number 1 sold for $126,000.00 after 9 bids.
- PMG Graded VF 30 1928 Philadelphia Star Note One Thousand Dollar Bill C00000188* [The Asterisk Represents The Star In The Serial Number] sold for $25,200.00 after 11 bids.
- PMG Graded Choice Uncirculated 64 1928 Cleveland One Thousand Dollar Bill D00006352 sold for $10,200.00 after 9 bids.
- PMG Graded About Uncirculated 50 1934 New York Star Note One Thousand Dollar Bill B00000511* sold for $12,000.00 after 5 bids.
ELSEWHERE & LOOKING FORWARD
While the base price range for owning one of these notes is closer to $2,700 to $3,000 it is obvious that the sales can go much higher. Much higher.
Collectors Dashboard would warn all buyers (and sellers) that certification is a necessary process to maintain the value and to certify authenticity of most valuable collectibles. That said, ungraded samples of these bills still manage to command a premium to the stated value. Either way, an ungraded $1,000 bill just does not have the same provenance as a graded example even if the ungraded bill is in better condition.
A copy of the 6th edition (2014) of Warman’s Coins and Paper Money Identification and Price Guide listed the prices as low as $2,000 in XF condition for the 1934 notes and a range of $2,500 and $3,000 in CU condition.
In 2017 and 2016, Heritage Auctions had multiple PMG graded $1,000 bills sell for under $3,000 each.
As with all high-end collectibles, assuming they are in-demand, scarcity matters. The website CurrencyandCoin.com site is offering a $1,000 bill starting at $4,990 as of last look.
DO NOT REDEEM IF YOU FIND ONE!
A U.S. $1 bill states “THIS NOTE IS LEGAL TENDER FOR ALL DEBTS, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE.” A sample of the $1,000 says the exact same but it further adds “AND IS REDEEMABLE IN LAWFUL MONEY AT THE UNITED STATES TREASURY, OR AT ANY FEDERAL RESERVE BANK.”
If you happen to find a $1,000 bill hiding when you are cleaning out an old relative’s house, do not dare redeem it at face value.
There are also U.S. denominated bills at the $5,000 and even the $10,000 mark from the same period. Those command even higher premiums, but that is another issue entirely.
Categories: Coins & Money