What is the denomination of the largest legal tender note the US has ever had in circulation?

The highest denomination issued by the United States for public circulation is “$10,000” while the highest denomination ever printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is the “$100,000 Series 1934 Gold Certificate” featuring the portrait of President Wilson.

The “$100,000” notes were printed from December 18, 1934 through January 9, 1935 and were distributed by the Treasurer of the United States to Federal Reserve Banks only against an equal amount of gold bullion held by the Treasury Department. The notes were used only for official businesses between Federal Reserve Banks and were not circulated among the general public.

The present denominations of the U.S. currency in production are “$1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100”. The purpose of the U.S. currency system is to serve the needs of the public and these denominations meet that goal. Neither the Federal Reserve System nor the Department of the Treasury has any plans to change the denominations in use today.

Your local convenience store may not accept bills larger than $20, but once upon a time you could have paid for your gum with a nice fresh $10,000 bill. What's the story behind the large-denomination bills that the government used to issue? Learn more at Mentalfloss.com.

LOOK: An Actual $100,000 Bill

Updated on Monday, March 30 2015 at 11:32AM EDT
Collection: denomination