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$10,000 bill from Great Depression era sells for $480,000 at auction

Amarachi Orie, CNN

(CNN) — A rare $10,000 bill dating back to the Great Depression has sold for $480,000 at auction.

Issued in 1934, the Federal Reserve note was certified by Paper Money Guaranty (PMG) and was Exceptional Paper Quality (EPQ) graded, according to Dallas-based auction house Heritage Auctions.

The Boston note, which features the face of President Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P. Chase, topped the house’s Long Beach Expo currency auction after selling for the record-breaking figure on Friday.

“Large-denomination notes always have drawn the interest of collectors of all levels,” said Dustin Johnston, vice president of currency at Heritage Auctions, in a press release Monday.

“The $10,000 trails only the $100,000 gold certificate issued in 1934, and of the 18 examples graded by PMG, this example is tied for the highest-graded,” he continued.

The most a 1934 $10,000 bill had sold for previously was $384,000 in September 2020, a spokesman for the auction house told CNN Wednesday, adding that this sale “sets the record for a 1934 bill.”

Johnston added in the release that PMG has graded only four other small-sized $10,000 Federal Reserve notes equal to this one, and only five higher.

He called the note “an absolute prize that will command a share of the spotlight in its new collection home.”

The $10,000 bill was the highest denomination note to ever circulate publicly — with the $100,000 bill only used to transfer funds between Federal Reserve banks, according to the Museum of American Finance website.

However, the particular note that was auctioned was never in circulation, according to Heritage Auctions.

Due to lack of use, currency notes in denominations of $500 or higher were discontinued in 1969, according to the US Bureau of Engraving & Printing website.

The $100 bill has since been the highest denomination note issued by the US.

Topping the house’s parallel coins auction was a rare 1899 double eagle $20 gold coin featuring a portrait of the head of Liberty. It fetched $468,000 at auction on Thursday, according to the release.

Only 84 coins of its kind were issued, and only about 30 are thought to still be around, according to the auction house.

“It takes an extraordinary coin to rise to the top of an auction with such consistent high quality, and this 1899 double eagle is that kind of coin,” said Todd Imhof, executive vice president at Heritage Auctions, in the release.

He added that it is an “exceptional rarity” that carries the highest grade out of all the ones still surviving.

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