Freehold, New Jersey
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How can a $10 bill be worth $500,000? March 29, 2017

Freehold, Monmouth County
How can a $10 bill be worth $500,000? , Freehold, New Jersey

American Coins & Gold – 6 Locations Across The Tri-State Area

How can a $10 bill be worth $500,000?  

A few years ago a Philadelphia collector was reported to be possession of a $10 bill valued at a half million dollars.

That bill is considered to be an antique national currency. A term used to describe American paper currency printed between 1862 and 1935. In 1862 the US Treasury introduced many of the features which we still see in today's currency. Features such as fine-line engraving, intricate geometric lathe work patterns, a U.S. Department of the Treasury seal, and engraved signatures to deter counterfeiting.  

The denominations from this period range from one to one thousand dollar notes.  Some of the most attractive and highly valued paper currency from this time period includes:

  • National Bank Notes - These notes were issued between 1863 and 1929 by over 12,000 banks. There were several different types of notes issued.

  • Large Size Currency - This currency was issued between 1861 and 1923. Collectors refer to any money larger than today’s money as large size currency.  This type of currency is divided into two groups.  The two groups are National Bank Notes and large size type.

  • Rare Modern -  In 1928 paper currency was changed to its current size. Modern currency is commonly referred to as "small size” notes.  There are some modern notes that are very rare. they are known as Start Notes. They are easily recognized by the star symbol at the beginning or end of the serial number. When an imperfect note is detected during the manufacturing process after the serial number has been printer the note must be replaced. The serial number of the imperfect note that was removed is not used again in the same numbering sequence making this note very rare.

The value of the currency is determined by the bank which issued the note,  serial number, date of issue, type of issue, the condition of the note and the current availability of similar notes in the marketplace.   Age does not necessarily increase the value and condition while important doesn't always affect the price.


The condition or "Grade" of the note is not an exact science and can varying from dealer to dealer. The condition (or "Grade") of the currency is based on a scale from 1 - 70, with 70 being pristine condition and 1 being terribly poor. Collectors commonly use the following terms to describe the condition of the note: Poor (0–4), Good, Very Good, Fine, Very Fine, Extremely Fine, About Uncirculated, Choice Uncirculated and Gem Uncirculated (6-70).

The largest paper currency grading services are PMG , PCGC and CGA. PMG and CGA allow anyone to  submit currency for evaluation. PCGS requires you to become a member before you submit currency to them.  Collectors generally consider PCGS to be more accessible because their graders and owners are former dealers.  On the other hand, PMG and CGA are known for having a quick turnaround.   

American Coins & Gold – 6 Locations Across The Tri-State Area

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