$10,000 US bill sells for $750k at Texas auction

A rare $10,000 banknote minted during the Great Depression has sold at auction for a record-breaking price.

The unusual bill, issued in 1934, features the face of late US president Abraham Lincoln’s treasury secretary, Salmon P. Chase.

It was graded by Paper Money Guarantee (PMG), a third-party organisation that assesses and certifies paper money, and was found to be in the highest-grade condition.

“Large-denomination notes always have drawn the interest of collectors of all levels,” said Dustin Johnston, vice president of currency at Heritage Auctions, which hosted the expo.

“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.”

The bill sold for US$480,000 (A$748,700) at the Long Beach Expo currency auction in Dallas, Texas on Friday.

It was the largest amount for which a 1934 $10,000 bill has sold, beating the previous record of US$384,000 set in September 2020, a spokesman for the auction house said.

Mr Johnston 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 banknote ever to circulate publicly in the US, with the now-defunct $100,000 bill only used to transfer funds between Federal Reserve banks, according to the Museum of American Finance website.

Previously, $500, $1000, $5000 and $10,000 notes were in circulation in the US. Although they are still legal tender, these high-denomination bills were last printed in 1945 and officially discontinued in 1969 due to “lack of use”.

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

Parallel to Heritage Auction’s banknotes auction was a coins auction, where a rare 1899 double eagle $20 gold coin was the star of the show.

The coin, which featured a portrait of the head of Lady Liberty, of New York’s Statue of Liberty, fetched US$468,000 (A$729,600) on Thursday.

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.

He added that the coin was an “exceptional rarity” and carried the highest grade out of all the ones still surviving.

A $5000 note from 1934 also sold at the auction for US$300,000 (A$467,700).

By the end of the weekend, the event pulled in a total of US$15,545,589 (A$24,251,818).

Get in touch — chloe.whelan@news.com.au

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