The $100,000 bill is one of the largest denominations of U.S. currency ever printed. Naturally, its rarity and high value make people wonder – just how many of these bills are out there? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the history, circulation, and current existence of $100,000 bills.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: only 336 $100,000 bills were ever issued for circulation by the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Today, there are likely less than 200 of these notes still in existence.

History of the $100,000 Bill

When the $100,000 bill was first issued

The $100,000 bill, also known as a Gold Certificate, was first issued by the United States government in 1934. However, it was not meant for general circulation and was only used for official transactions between Federal Reserve Banks.

In fact, the bill was never available to the public and was only transferred between financial institutions.

Why the $100,000 bill was created

The main purpose behind the creation of the $100,000 bill was to facilitate large financial transactions between Federal Reserve Banks. It was primarily used for interbank transfers and settlements, making it easier for the banks to move large sums of money quickly and securely.

The bill’s high denomination helped streamline the process and reduce the need for physical transportation of cash.

When production of the bill ended

The production of the $100,000 bill was discontinued in 1945, and it was officially withdrawn from circulation in 1946. The decision to cease production was mainly driven by the advancements in electronic banking and the increasing use of wire transfers, which made the physical transportation of large amounts of cash less necessary.

Furthermore, concerns over counterfeiting and money laundering also played a role in the decision to discontinue the bill.

Today, the $100,000 bill is considered a rare and highly sought-after collector’s item. Only a few examples of the bill exist, and they are mainly held by museums and private collectors. The bill serves as a reminder of a bygone era when cash transactions played a more prominent role in the economy.

Details About the $100,000 Bill

Design and features of the note

The $100,000 bill, also known as a Gold Certificate, was printed in the United States in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Although it was never intended for circulation among the general public, it holds a unique place in American currency history.

The front of the bill features a portrait of President Woodrow Wilson and the back showcases an image of the Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

This bill is much larger than the standard dollar bills we are accustomed to, measuring approximately 8.5 inches by 15.5 inches. Its size and distinctive design make it instantly recognizable among collectors and currency enthusiasts.

Security measures

Given the high value of the $100,000 bill, it was equipped with several security features to deter counterfeiting. One such feature is the use of fine-line engraving, which creates intricate patterns on the bill that are difficult to reproduce.

Additionally, the bill incorporates a unique watermark that can only be seen when held up to the light.

Moreover, the bill includes a special security thread that runs vertically through the note. This thread is embedded within the paper and contains microprinting, making it nearly impossible to replicate. These security measures ensure the authenticity and integrity of the $100,000 bill.

Who was pictured on the bill

On the front of the $100,000 bill, you will find the portrait of President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson served as the 28th President of the United States from 1913 to 1921 and is widely known for his leadership during World War I and his advocacy for the League of Nations.

The decision to feature President Wilson on the $100,000 bill was a fitting choice, as he played a crucial role in shaping American history during a time of significant global change. His inclusion on this rare denomination serves as a tribute to his contributions to the nation.

It is important to note that the $100,000 bill was never widely circulated and was primarily used for transactions between Federal Reserve Banks. Today, these bills are considered collector’s items, and their rarity and historical significance make them highly sought after by currency enthusiasts.

Circulation of $100,000 Bills

The rarity of $100,000 bills in public circulation

When it comes to $100,000 bills, rarity is the name of the game. These bills are not commonly found in public circulation and are considered highly collectible by numismatists and currency enthusiasts.

In fact, the chances of stumbling upon a $100,000 bill in your everyday transactions are extremely slim. Their scarcity adds to their allure and value in the eyes of collectors.

How many $100,000 bills were issued

The Federal Reserve Bank of the United States did, in fact, issue $100,000 bills. However, these bills were never intended for public use. They were primarily used for transactions between Federal Reserve Banks and were often associated with large-scale financial transactions among the banks.

These bills were issued in the early 1930s and were primarily used for interbank transfers. Their purpose was to facilitate the movement of large sums of money quickly and efficiently.

Fun fact: The $100,000 bill featuring President Woodrow Wilson is the largest denomination ever printed by the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

Where the existing bills are today

While the $100,000 bills are no longer in circulation and were officially withdrawn from use in 1945, some of them still exist today. However, they are extremely rare and are mostly found in the hands of collectors and museums.

These bills are considered highly valuable due to their historical significance and scarcity.

Interesting fact: The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco currently holds two $100,000 bills in its museum collection, which are publicly displayed for visitors to admire.

For more information on the history and rarity of $100,000 bills, you can visit the official website of the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing at

Value and Ownership of Surviving $100,000 Bills

Estimates for how many bills still exist

Although the $100,000 bill is no longer in circulation, it still remains a fascinating piece of U.S. currency history. The exact number of surviving $100,000 bills is difficult to determine, as the U.S. Department of the Treasury does not release specific figures on the number of bills still in existence.

However, experts estimate that there are only a few hundred of these bills left.

These bills were mainly used for transactions between Federal Reserve Banks and were never intended for public circulation. As a result, they were not widely distributed, making them extremely rare and highly sought after by collectors.

Some of the surviving $100,000 bills are held by private collectors, while others are housed in museums or held by the U.S. government. Their rarity and historical significance contribute to their high value on the collector’s market.

Who owns the remaining $100,000 bills

The ownership of the remaining $100,000 bills is a mix of private collectors, financial institutions, and government entities. Private collectors who have a passion for U.S. currency and its history often acquire these bills through auctions or private sales.

Financial institutions, such as banks or credit unions, may also have $100,000 bills in their possession. These institutions may acquire these bills through various means, including inheritance or as part of their currency reserves.

Additionally, some of the remaining $100,000 bills are held by government entities, such as the Federal Reserve or the U.S. Treasury. These bills are typically kept for historical purposes or as part of their collections.

Record sales prices for these notes

The rarity and historical significance of $100,000 bills have led to record-breaking sales prices in the collector’s market. In recent years, these bills have fetched prices well above their face value.

One notable example is the sale of a 1934 $100,000 bill at an auction in 2019. The bill, known as the “Binion Hoard,” was part of a collection owned by the late casino owner Benny Binion. It sold for a staggering $2.04 million, setting a new record for the highest price ever paid for a U.S. banknote.

These record-breaking sales prices highlight the immense value placed on these rare $100,000 bills by collectors and investors alike. It’s a testament to their scarcity and the fascination they hold for those interested in U.S. currency history.


In summary, the $100,000 bill occupies a unique place in U.S. currency history. While only a few hundred were ever printed, these banknotes remain highly coveted by collectors to this day. Their exceptionally limited supply and demand makes $100,000 bills a true rarity in the world of money and numismatics.

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