Rare and Valuable Banknotes from Around the World –
For most banknote collectors, coming across one of the rare and valuable items on this list would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The world’s most valuable banknotes include misprints and other production mistakes, notes printed hundreds of years ago and impossibly rare versions of existing notes.
In this two-part blog series, we’ll look at some of the rarest and most valuable notes from around the world. Worried you may never get your hands on one of these priceless artifacts of numismatic history? Noticing the shared characteristics of valuable and rare notes might help you predict the next addition to this list while it’s still affordable – a great investment!
The United States $10,000 Note
It might seem bizarre, but the United States has a history of printing high valued notes and one such note has become one of the most valued and coveted by collectors around the world. The United States $10,000 note was last printed in 1945, and there may be as many as 350 remaining in circulation in the USA today. At the time of its release, the $10,000 note would have had nearly $107,000 worth of purchasing power based on today’s economy – it was a whopping sum for the time where a bag of chips cost just $0.05. Today, the notes are a collector’s item and are valued at much more than $10,000 – although they are still legal tender.
The 1891 United States Red Seal $1000 Note
Most USA residents have never seen a bill larger than $100 – but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. When the nation stopped printing $10,000 bills in 1945, it also discontinued $1000 and $5000 bills that were in circulation previously. This note, printed in 1891, sold at an auction in 2013 for just over $2.5 million, making it one of the most expensive bank notes ever sold. The note, which depicts Major General George Gordon Meade, is over 100 years old and is thought to be one of only two still in existence.
The 2007 Canada $1m Coin
The next piece we’re highlighting isn’t a bank note – but it deserves to be included because of how infrequently someone produces a 100kg gold coin. The year 2007 marked the 140th anniversary of Canadian Confederacy, and the Royal Canadian Mint marked the special occasion by creating a 100kg coin of 99.99% gold and which depicts Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse face and the leaves of the maple tree on the reverse. Despite its face value of $1m, the coin fetched roughly $4.1m at auction.
The Zanzibar 1908 20 Rupees Banknote
This banknote was sold as part of a small collection at a public auction in 2011, fetching a sale price of $225,000 USD. Although it was printed just over 100 years ago, the specimen is officially the world’s most expensive African banknote. Twenty rupees was a lot of money when the notes were printed, and today, collector’s value these specimens for their age, rarity, and intricacy of design.
Brunei’s $10,000 Banknote – The Most Expensive Still in Circulation
Brunei may not be selling any of its notes at auction for millions of dollars, but the nation does boast the most valuable bank note currently in print. Freshly redesigned in polymer in 2006, the $10,000 note shows no signs of being discontinued. Unlike other nations that print high-denomination currencies when their money is weak, Brunei’s $10,000 note is worth a whopping $7,122 at market. A couple of them could buy you a car, or you could save 3 or 4 and put a down payment on a house.
We hope you’re loving our look at bank notes that are known especially for their rarity and value – stay tuned for part two of this series where we’ll keep exploring some of the rarest, oldest, and most valuable bank notes from around the world.