With the ever-growing digital option for cashless transactions: PayPal, Square and Venmo, wallets are often found sans greenbacks. But as of now, cash is still king — until that denomination gets discontinued.
While we can choose from a rich array of singles, fins, sawbucks and Benjamins (and one day maybe Tubmans), there have been a number of forgotten money that the U.S. Treasury has discontinued. Ironically, one of the bills had a familiar face on it, that of Alexander Hamilton, who is slated to be removed from the $10 in a few years. (What does the U.S. Treasury have against Hamilton?)
The $10 switch-up debate aside, here are the most notable discontinued bills:
Aside from the years between 1966 to 1976, the $2 bill has been printed since the Civil War. For those who come across the bill, it is still something of a whimsical sight. Its sporadic production makes it a rare treat. The reverse side features one of the most famous paintings in American history: “Declaration of Independence” by John Trumbull.
Most years the Bureau of Engraving and Printing produces zero $2 bills, often less than 1% of the bills that roll off the presses are $2 bills.
The $500 Bill
The most recent $500 bill featured President William McKinley. The last $500 was hot off the presses in 1945, and cold and no longer printed by 1970. Though the bills remain legal tender to this day, most businesses return the currency for smaller denominations — which is a big mistake on their part. The market value of the discontinued currency averages about 40% above its face value.
The $1,000 Bill
The $1000 bill has something in common with the $10 bill: the original featured Alexander Hamilton only to be swapped out for someone else.
The $1K was discontinued in 1969, but is worth more in 2015 than 1969 due to inflation. With The Consumer Price Index at 36.8 in 1969 and at 231 now, the bill was worth less than $160 in ‘69. It was no Summer of Love for the $1000.
So with that tidbit of knowledge revealed, hold onto a $1,000 bill if it happens across your palm, there are only 165,372 of them still in existence. And Hamiltons seem to be targeted for discontinuation.