$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 authority of the legislation in North Carolina released the first $500 bulls. Shortly after, on October 16, 1780, Virginia also authorized printing the $500 and $1,000 bills. Then, on May 7, 1781, the US Government authorized the printing of $2,000 bills. 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, the Federal Reserve System discontinued the use of $500 and $1000 on July 14, 1969. They also demanded that the last high denomination bills be printed on December 27, 1945. When the Federal Reserve recalled large denomination bills, they also destroyed them. 

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 are still in public possession, which people still use as 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.