High Denomination, High Value Banknotes

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DOC
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High Denomination, High Value Banknotes

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This posting describes high denomination, high value notes printed by banks for inter-banking transactions rather than for general circulation. An example is the US $100,000 bill issued in 1934. This note was not intended for general circulation but was used as an accounting device between branches of The Federal Reserve. It is illegal to own one but an example is available for viewing at, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.
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USA 100,000 Dollars 1934 Series.jpg
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Re: High Denomination, High Value Banknotes

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Here is an example of a 1924 $50,000, Dominion of Canada banknote that was recently sold by Heritage Auctions. This note is known as a "bank legal" or "bank special" and intended only for transfer between banks. The Canadian bank specials were payable to the bearer, but only banks established under the Bank Act of Canada. The images shown are proof notes, with front and back printed separately. The pair commanded much interest and sold for $36,000.
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Dominion of Canada 50,000 Dollars Proof Front 2nd Jan. 1924.jpg
Dominion of Canada 50,000 Dollars Proof Front 2nd Jan. 1924.jpg (135.07 KiB) Viewed 9755 times
Dominion of Canada 50,000 Dollars Proof Reverse 1924.jpg
Dominion of Canada 50,000 Dollars Proof Reverse 1924.jpg (115.64 KiB) Viewed 9755 times
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Re: High Denomination, High Value Banknotes

Post by Mac »

The Bank of Ireland issued notes denominated up to £500, by far the highest denomination note issued by an Irish bank.
These notes were likely used for bank transfers in place of moving heavy actual gold sovereigns around.

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Re: High Denomination, High Value Banknotes

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Mac, that is an impressive note when you consider that £500 in 1869 would have an estimated purchasing power today of more than £45,000 or 50,000 euro ! It is unlikely that any individual would have a need for such a high denomination and such notes most likely resided within the banking system.
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Re: High Denomination, High Value Banknotes

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£500 in 1869 actually had a far different ‘psychological’ buying power when we compare wages, prices and the cost of living.

Let’s just say probably much closer to €150,000.
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Re: High Denomination, High Value Banknotes

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Seems like I was too conservative there. A note with extraordinary buying power !
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Re: High Denomination, High Value Banknotes

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One of the highest denomination notes ever produced, Zimbabwe 100 Trillion Dollar note!

Zimbabwe_100_trillion_dollars.jpg
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Re: High Denomination, High Value Banknotes

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That is an interesting inflation note. I think it is the highest denomination ever issued in which the denomination is given in numerals. When issued in 2008, it was estimated to be worth only about 40 US cents but since then it has appreciated considerably in value due to collector interest. These days, examples fetch more than 50 US dollars on ebay in UNC condition. A good investment for those with the foresight to buy them when first issued :)
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Re: High Denomination, High Value Banknotes

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Here are 1 million pound specimen notes known as “Giants” issued by The Bank of England. They are used within the UK banking system to back notes issued by banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is made clear that they are intended for internal use only and not by members of the public. !
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Bank of England 1 Million Pounds Specimen 1968 Fforde.jpg
Bank of England 1 Million Pounds Specimen 1968 Fforde.jpg (102.27 KiB) Viewed 9418 times
Bank of England 1 Million Pounds Specimen ca.1993 Kentfield.jpg
Bank of England 1 Million Pounds Specimen ca.1993 Kentfield.jpg (84.86 KiB) Viewed 9418 times
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Re: High Denomination, High Value Banknotes

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Here is an example of an extraordinary high denomination note issued by the Bank of England for 100 million pounds. These notes are known as ‘Titans’ and like the ‘Giants’ are used to back the note issues of banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
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Bank of England 100 Million Pounds Specimen ca. 1993 Kentfield.JPG
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Re: High Denomination, High Value Banknotes

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Here is an attractive $10,000 Dollar Malaya & British Borneo Specimen note dating from 1953. Even today, the face value of an issued $10,000 note is in excess of €2,100. In 1953, this was a considerable sum of money, so these notes were probably used for inter-bank transfers and not for general circulation.
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Malaya & British Borneo 10,000 Dollars Specimen 21st March 1953.jpg
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Re: High Denomination, High Value Banknotes

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Here is an example of an earlier $10,000 Malaya specimen note from 1943.
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Malaya 10,000 Dollars Specimen 1943.jpg
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Re: High Denomination, High Value Banknotes

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I live in that region, and $10,000 at the pegged rate of M$60 / £7 equates to £1,166.67 or £1,166:13:8. Lets just say it was 20 years wages for a Rubber Tapper. You could buy 3 houses in the centre of Singapore with one.
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Re: High Denomination, High Value Banknotes

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Interesting insight into the local buying power of this denomination. :)
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Re: High Denomination, High Value Banknotes

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That was serious money then—I wonder if either the 1,000, or 10,000 notes ever entered circulation.
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Re: High Denomination, High Value Banknotes

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Here is an issued example of the $1,000 note but I have not seen an issued example of the $10,000.
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Malaya 1000 Dollars 1st Jan. 1942.jpg
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Re: High Denomination, High Value Banknotes

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Now, that's a note to have in a collection!
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Re: High Denomination, High Value Banknotes

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"That was serious money then—I wonder if either the 1,000, or 10,000 notes ever entered circulation"

1,000's circulated, certainly in Malaya - I do know that much, but you'd only see the Upper Middle class in possession of these. 10,000's circulated in Singapore mainly for Shipping transaction purposes.

Even by the time of the late 1990's when Malaysia withdrew the RM500 & RM1,000 denominations, they were relatively scarce. Their only real use was for Real Estate transaction, Car purchases, and the likes.
Last edited by Vellakare on 16 Aug 2020 14:39, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: High Denomination, High Value Banknotes

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Here is an example of a $10,000 1934 Federal Reserve Note, Boston District. This was the highest denomination note issued for general circulation in the USA and as such highly sought after by collectors. However, it would cost a small fortune to buy one.
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USA 10,000 Dollars 1934 Series Boston.jpg
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Re: High Denomination, High Value Banknotes

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Here is an impressive 10,000 shillings (£500) note issued by The East African Currency Board in 1921. This is the highest denomination of the Series and one of the highest denominations issued anywhere in the world at that time. The enormous value of the note would have restricted its use to inter-banking transactions although a few did make it into private hands most likely for large scale purchases such as land deals.
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East Africa Currency Board 10,000 Shillings 15th Dec. 1921.jpg
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East Africa Currency Board 10,000 Shillings 15th Dec. 1921 Reverse.jpg
East Africa Currency Board 10,000 Shillings 15th Dec. 1921 Reverse.jpg (126.85 KiB) Viewed 1672 times
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