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Yes, Santa Claus, this $5,000 Bill Is Real

by Heritage Auctions

Published on December 25, 2020

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Most people do not realize that $5,000 bills were ever printed in the United States. They actually were and are very scarce and popular with collectors today. Heritage will be offering one such piece in the January FUN Auction #3581 that is expected to sell for $100,000+!

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There are relatively few $5,000 bills available to collectors today because many were removed from circulation at some point. Not only did they stop being printed after the series of 1934, but then the Federal Reserve recalled some of the remaining notes in 1969. Supposedly, President Richard Nixon wanted to crack down on money laundering and organized crime, so he felt that removing large denominations such as $1,000 and $5,000 bills from circulation would make it harder for criminals to take part in these activities. The few surviving notes are legal for collectors to own now and are very popular at auction.

With a grade of AU58 but with excellent color or eye appeal, this note from the Norman Tsacalis Collection will be a fabulous acquisition for the connoisseur who loves the idea of having an attractive $5,000 bill but does not want to pay $250,000 or more. Another aspect that makes this note neat is its low serial number. As number 00000233, it was only the 233rd note produced in this run! Even more appropriate for Heritage, this note was created for our hometown Federal Reserve branch in Dallas.

While this note just came in and is not entered yet, you can find the same lot here from when we offered it in 2017:

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Comments (1)

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    Bob Jacobson Reply

    This is a lovely note, and anyone who obtains it in the low $100K range will be doing well. However, I believe some background is warranted regarding the serial number. I purchased Stephen Sullivan's informative book “Small Sized High Denomination Notes” a few years ago, and I've been adding the serial numbers and other details of as many additional notes as I can. Sullivan lists 27 Series 1934 $5000 notes from the 11-K Dallas FRB, and I have identified 7 more for a total of 34, and of these notes, 24 have two-digit serial numbers with the remaining 10 having three. Therefore, #233 couldn't really be considered “low”--in fact, only 2 of these 34 have higher numbers. Of the original 2400 printed for the Dallas district for Series 1934, over 41% would be expected to have serial numbers of three digits or fewer. Surprisingly, from all 11 districts for which Series 1934 was printed, I'm only aware of 21 notes, out of the 165 in my database, having four-digit serial numbers, and from the 9 districts for Series 1928, only 2 out of 26 have four-digit numbers—were all the higher numbers still within the FRB vaults and thus destroyed without seeing circulation? In any case, three-digit serial numbers are essentially the norm for the $5000 notes still remaining, and this also would be true for the $10,000 notes if the Binion “hoard” (with serial numbers ranging from 2021 to 3740) didn't exist. I recall having read that for these ultra-high denominations, a serial number must have no more than two digits to be considered “low”--but unfortunately, I cannot recall the source. However, I believe collectors who are used to thinking in terms of the lower denominations should remain aware that the ultra-highs were printed in far fewer numbers, with the entire run of the Series 1934 2-B $5000 notes and the Series 1934 2-B $10,000 notes each including only 11,520, representing the maximum printings of any district for each series of each denomination.

    Saturday, December 26, 2020 11:41 AM EST

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