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1934 series note
serial number, paper composition, signatures
Woodrow Wilson, value
State title, value
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The 100,000 dollar bill is a banknote of the United States that was printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing from 1934 to 1935. It was never publicly circulated and was only used for transactions between Federal Reserve Banks. With a face value of 100,000 dollars, it is the highest-denominated piece of paper money ever produced by the United States. The note technically still holds the status of legal tender, but has not seen circulation since the 1960s.
History and status
The note was used as a form of gold certificate. It was printed from December 18, 1934 to January 9, 1935, and was issued by the Treasurer of the United States to Federal Reserve Banks only against an equal amount of gold bullion held by the Department of the Treasury. As the note was only intended for transactions between Federal Reserve Banks, no examples were ever put into circulation for the general public. Initially intended to facilitate larger money transfers between banks, use of the 100,000 dollar bill eventually ended in the 1960s, partially due to the advent of wire transfers. Since that date, many of the 42,000 examples printed were destroyed by the government, and as a result, only a few specimens are known to exist today. All of the surviving notes have been accounted for, and are currently in the hands of the United States Government; thus, private ownership of a legitimate example is illegal. Forgeries are relatively common, and have sometimes been known to come with fake certificates of authenticity. A handful of real examples, including an uncut sheet of twelve specimen notes, are currently on display at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Smithsonian Institution, and Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
Many of the elements on the obverse of the note are printed in black ink, although some objects are orange to yellow in color. A portrait of Woodrow Wilson (1858–1924), who served as the 28th President of the United States from 1913 to 1921, is featured in the center, with a curved ribbon bearing the name "WILSON" directly below the likeness. To the left of Wilson's portrait is the seal of the United States Treasury — consisting of an image of a shield with a balance, chevron with thirteen stars, and a key in the center of a circle with the text "THE DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY" around the circumference above and the date "1789" near the edge below. The seal, printed with orange ink, is superimposed by the text "GOLD CERTIFICATE". The latter of the two words is arched slightly downward, and there is a sizable gap between "GOLD" and "CERTIFICATE". Between this space is the text "THIS CERTIFICATE IS LEGAL TENDER IN THE AMOUNT THEREOF IN PAYMENT OF ALL DEBTS AND DUES, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE", written on three separate lines in black ink. Above the seal and the text superimposing it is the letter that represents the Federal Reserve Bank that printed the note, and between the seal and the image of Wilson is the text "SERIES OF 1934", with the words "SERIES OF" arched upward and on a line separate from the series date "1934". The note's serial number is printed in orange-colored ink underneath the depiction of the seal, and below that is the signature of Treasurer William Alexander Julian (1870–1949), captioned by the text "Treasurer of the United States" in italic typeface. The numerical value "100,000" is written in gray ink to the right of Wilson's portrait, with the orange-colored serial number printed once again above. Below the first few digits of the value, "WASHINGTON, D.C." is printed in black ink above the text "SERIES OF 1934", which is black in color and is relatively small in size. The Federal Reserve Bank letter is displayed once again below the final "0" in the value, and below it in turn is the signature of Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr. (1891–1967) and the caption "Secretary of the Treasury" in italics. An ornate abstract border decorated at areas with plants surrounds all of the aforementioned elements. The denomination is written once again in each of the four corners of the obverse, with those in the upper corners being part of the border and those in the lower corners being surrounded by separate rectangular borders. The text "THIS IS TO CERTIFY THAT THERE IS ON DEPOSIT IN THE TREASURY OF" is written in small print inside a rectangular border at the very top of the note, and the concluding part of the phrase, "THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS IN GOLD PAYABLE TO BEARER ON DEMAND AS AUTHORIZED BY LAW", is printed on three lines in larger font at the very bottom of the bill.
All of the printed elements on the reverse of the 100,000 dollar bill are orange in color. The numerical value "100,000" is written in the middle of the note, superimposed over beams of light and a dollar sign ($) with two vertical lines (similar to a cifrão) instead of one. Above the indication of the value is the state title "THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA", with "THE" written on its own line and the rest of the title printed on another. Below the denomination the value is written out as "ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS", and is shown separated onto two lines between the words "THOUSAND" and "DOLLARS". Like the obverse, much of the contents on the reverse are surrounded by an ornate border around the sides of the note. At each of the corners of the bill, inside the border, is the numerical value "100,000" displayed inside an oval-shaped frame.
It was the last small size note to be printed in color until the new 20 dollar bill in 2003.
- Large denominations of United States currency on the English Wikipedia
- $100,000 Gold Certificate 1934 Real or Fake?