$500 Dollar Bill: Know Your Money

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Ever wondered if there’s a dollar bill higher than the $100 bill we all know and love? Well, say hello to the $500 bill!

If you’re a passionate collector of U.S. Currency you may have already heard of it, but lots of people don’t even know these dollar bills ever existed! Either way, one thing is for sure, it’s not every day that you see someone walking around with a $500 bill!

So what do $500 dollar bills look like? Are they worth anything? Today, we’ll be answering all your questions about those high denomination bills.

Are $500 Bills Real?

Yes, they most definitely are! It’s just that you probably have never actually seen or touched one in real life. I mean technically, you can still use a $500 bill to do some hefty shopping, however, we’d strongly advise against that.

Why? Well, why would you go for its face value when you can get up to 20 times its worth depending on the version you own?

The $500 bill continues to be legal tender, although the last print of this bill was over 70 years ago. This means the bill is a rare one that’s considered a collectible, so save yours for an auction rather than blowing it for its face value.

How Many Series of the $500 Dollar Bill are there?

Basically, there are 4 different series of the large size $500 dollar bill out there. These notes were first released in the 19th century, particularly the second half of it.

1862 / 1863

The oldest versions are the ones issued in 1862 and 1863. We’ll count them as a single edition since both bills show a picture of the same person: James Madison, the 4th U.S. president.


In 1869, another $500 bill was printed that features John Quincy Adams on the right side. Quincy is the 6th president of the United States.

All of the 19th century $500 notes are considered highly rare and valuable bills. The ones from 1874, 1875, 1878, and 1880 are said to exist as a mere handful.


The following $500 bill belongs to the 1918 series. On the front side of this note, you can see a blue seal next to a portrait of John Marshall. He served as the 4th Chief Justice of the U.S. from the year 1801 to 1835, the longest out of any other Chief Justice.

When you flip the 1918 $500 bill, an image of de Soto discovering the Mississippi River should be on display.

1928 / 1934

The last printed series of the $500 dollar note has a portrait of the 25th president of the United States, William McKinley. It also shows a green seal on the side of the picture. This was the design of both the 1928 and 1934 $500 bills.

The backside features nothing special, it just reads out a “Five Hundred Dollars” statement.

Why Did They Make $500 Bills?

$500 dollar bills were never meant for the public to deal with, so why was it even made in the first place?

The reason behind the issuing of such a large denomination bill was to make transactions easier within the federal government itself and across other agencies such as banks.

Why Did They Stop Making $500 Dollar Bills?

Of course, they don’t issue such bills anymore. The reason? Well, there are actually two!

The last print of the $500 note, as we mentioned, was in 1948, but the distribution was stopped in 1969 under the Nixon Administration. This was decided due to the growing use of these bills in illegal activities such as organized crime, drug trafficking, and counterfeit.

The second is, of course, the technological advancement that introduced electronic money systems into the banking world, eliminating the need for large denominations.

Do Banks Accept or Give out $500 Bills?

Yes and No. While banks do accept $500 bills for deposits, you’ll most definitely lose the note since they have orders to send in such discontinued bills for disposal. Naturally, you won’t be able to get one from them either.

How Much are $500 Dollar Bills Worth?

Compared to their face value, $500 dollar bills are much more valuable. The actual worth depends on the edition and the condition of the bill you got on your hands.

The 1934 $500 note is the most common among all versions, so it’s worth the least sum of money. Such a bill can get you about $1000 to $1,500, but ultimately, it’s up to the point of view of collectors.

The 1918 $500 bill series is much rarer, and so, it’s way more expensive. Some money collectors are willing to pay as much as $10,000 dollars for this note.

Wrap Up

If you happen to own a $500 dollar bill, don’t let go just yet! Follow up with our article to check how rare your note is, it might just be your lucky day!

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Hi, I'm GP. A personal finance expert with a mission to help Entirely Money readers break free of money worries. Combining a finance-focused education background (B.S. in Finance and MBA with Finance focus) with over 15 years of personal and corporate finance experience to help you achieve your financial best life!