The folks at Five Hundy’s most recent podcast talked about how Binion’s is putting up $1,000,000 up on display, much like they used to have back in the old days. It’ll be stacks of $100s, $20s, and smaller bills. What’s interesting is that the $1,000,000 that Binion’s used to have on display used to consist of $10,000 bills.
$10,000 bills? Yep. I’ve never seen one either.
So I did a quick search and sure enough, there’s some really neat photos of the large denomination bills that were created back in 1918 that the public really and truly could own. Apparently, the original $10,000 bills from Binion’s were auctioned off by the last owner of Binion’s for as much as $160,000. Sick. Really sick. (http://www.moneyfactory.gov/document.cfm/5/42/160.)
But why not $100,000 bills or some other denomination? Well, $100,000 was the largest denomination ever created in the U.S. and I seem to remember there being something illegal about owning a $100,000 bill and sure enough, I was right. In 1934 they printed these bills and they were used explicitly between Federal Reserve Banks. And yes, it’s illegal for even collectors to own them. (http://www.moneyfactory.gov/document.cfm/5/42/1359)