$500 US Dollar Bill 

Brief History

In the late 18th century, the United States was printing and using the large-denomination currency with a face value of more than $500. On May 10, 1780, the first $500 bulls were released by the authority of the legislation in North Carolina. Shortly after, on October 16, 1780, Virginia also authorized printing the $500 and $1,000 bills, and on May 7, 1781, the printing of $2,000 bills was authorized. During the American Civil War, Confederate states also printed and issued their own high-denomination currency of $500 and $1,000 bills. 

The first Federal banknotes issued on July 17, 1861, as authorized by congress included three-year interest-bearing high denomination notes of $500, $1,000 and $5,000.


Like many other high-denomination bills such as the $500 and $1,000 were discontinued by the Federal Reserve System on July 14, 1969, because of lack of use. The high denomination bills were also printed for the last time on December 27, 1945.

The Federal Reserve also recalled the large denomination bills, and the bills they collected were in turn destroyed. Larger denominations were also cost-ineffective to produce. 

Even though the Federal Reserve destroyed most of the $500 that was circulated, there are still several $500 that are still in public possession. The $500 bills that are still in public possession are still considered legal tender. Because of the $500 bill’s rarity, collectors are willing to pay large sums just to acquire the bills.

Another possible reason for the demise of the high-denomination bills was counterfeiting. High-denomination bills were more vulnerable to counterfeiting, and older bills usually lack the security features that we have today.

Will the $500 bill make a comeback?

The federal government mostly used these high-denomination bills for larger financial transactions. Today, however, high-denomination bills may not be able to make a comeback, mostly because of technological advancements such as electronic money systems. These electronic money transactions make it possible for large monetary transactions to happen without handling actual cash.