KIDSGAZETTE

$2 bills, $10,000 bills, half dollars and more: Uncommon currency throughout U.S. history

(AP Photo/Press-Register, John David Mercer)
(AP Photo/Press-Register, John David Mercer)
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$500 bills weren’t always just Monopoly money. Until 1969, the U.S. issued several high-value bills, including $500, $1,000 and even $10,000 bills.

Different types of coins and bills have come in and out of fashion through U.S. history. Here are a few you might someday find in your wallet.

$2 bill

The $2 bill was first introduced in 1862, and featured a portrait of Alexander Hamilton on the front. But soon, Hamilton was replaced with Thomas Jefferson, and $2 notes created between 1869 and 1963 feature a portrait of Jefferson (one of Hamilton’s enemies). These bills were unpopular, according to the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and many people think they are even unlucky.

Sacagawea Golden Dollar Coin

Sacagawea was a teenage Shoshone girl who helped guide Lewis and Clark, the explorers, on their expedition across the Louisiana Purchase. In her honor, the U.S. Mint began issuing the Sacagawea Golden Dollar in 2000. The golden coin features an image of Sacagawea and her baby son on one side, while the other side shows an eagle and 17 stars, the number of states in the Union when Sacagawea guided Lewis and Clark.

Silver half dollar

Silver half dollars were meant to be worth 50 cents but, because they are more than 90% real silver, many are worth much more. The very first half dollar coin issued by the United States was minted in 1794. In 1948, an image of Benjamin Franklin started appearing on the front of the coin with the Liberty Bell on the back. In 1964, the U.S. started producing the Kennedy Half Dollar, which features the image of President John F. Kennedy, who was killed in 1963.

$10,000 bill

This was the largest value ever placed in a single bill that publicly circulated in the U.S., according to the Museum of American Finance. A portrait of Salmon P. Chase, Abraham Lincoln’s treasury secretary, was on the front. Very few people used this bill (wouldn’t you be nervous? What if you lost it?) and the government stopped printing them and many other huge bills in 1969. The largest bill the U.S. uses now is the $100 bill.

Comments: molly.duffy@thegazette.com

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