Obsolete denominations of United States currency

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The United States has produced several coins and banknotes of its dollar which no longer circulate or have been disused. Many of these were removed for specific reasons such as inflation reducing their value, a lack of demand, or being too similar to another denomination.

Treasury notes[edit]

The U.S. Dollar has numerous discontinued denominations, particularly high denomination bills, issued before and in 1934 in six denominations ranging from $500 to $100,000. Although still legal tender, most are in the hands of collectors and museums. The reverse designs featured abstract scroll-work with ornate denomination identifiers. With the exception of the $100,000 bill, these bills ceased production in the 1940s, and were recalled in 1969. Of these, the $100,000 was printed only as a Series 1934 gold certificate and was only used for internal government transactions. The United States also issued fractional currency for a brief time in the 1860s and 1870s, in several denominations each less than a dollar.

Denomination Obverse Reverse Portrait
3 cent note George Washington
5 cent note Thomas Jefferson
10 cent note William M. Meredith
15 cent note Bust of Columbia
25 cent note Robert Walker
50 cent note William Crawford
$500 bill William McKinley
$1,000 bill Grover Cleveland
$2,000 bill Various historical figures
$5,000 bill James Madison
$10,000 bill Salmon P. Chase
$100,000 bill Woodrow Wilson


There have been numerous coins throughout the United States dollar's history that no longer circulate. Some, like the half-cent coin were removed due to inflation reducing their value while others such as the two-cent piece were removed due to a lack of demand.

Note that this table shows the latest status before the coin denomination was rendered obsolete.

Denomination Obverse Reverse Weight Diameter Material Edge Issued
Half cent
5.443 g (0.1920 oz) 23.5 mm (0.93 in) 100% Cu plain 1793–1857
Large cent
10.89 g (0.384 oz) 29 mm (1.1 in) 100% Cu plain 1793–1857
Two-cent piece
6.22 g (0.219 oz) 23.00 mm (0.906 in) 95% Cu, 5% Sn and Zn plain 1864–1873
Three-cent nickel
1.94 g (0.068 oz) 17.9 mm (0.70 in) 75% Cu, 25% Ni plain 1865–1889
0.8 g (0.028 oz) 14 mm (0.55 in) 90% Ag, 10% Cu plain 1851–1873
Half dime
1.24 g (0.044 oz) 15.5 mm (0.61 in) 90% Ag, 10% Cu Reeded 1792–1873
Twenty-cent piece
5 g (0.18 oz) 22 mm (0.87 in) 90% Ag, 10% Cu Plain 1875–1878
Gold dollar
1.7 g (0.060 oz) 14.3 mm (0.56 in) 90% Au, 10% Cu Reeded 1849–1889α
Quarter eagle
4.18 g (0.147 oz) 18 mm (0.71 in) 90% Au, 10% Cu Reeded 1795–1929α
Three-dollar piece
5.01 g (0.177 oz) 20.5 mm (0.81 in) 90% Au, 10% Cu Reeded 1853–1889
Half eagle
8.36 g (0.295 oz) 21.6 mm (0.85 in) 90% Au, 10% Cu Reeded 1795–1929β
16.7 g (0.59 oz) 26.8 mm (1.06 in) 90% Au, 10% Cu Reeded 1795–1933β
Double eagle
35 g (1.2 oz) 34 mm (1.3 in) 90% Au, 10% Cu Reeded 1849–1932γ


Some Early United States commemorative coins were minted in this denomination.
Some Modern United States commemorative coins are minted in this denomination.
The United States government claims that it never officially released the 1933 double eagle. Examples of the coin were minted in that year, but were never released to circulation following Executive Order 6102.