Federal Reserve Notes: A World Standard Emerges

Federal Reserve notes are the sole currency issued today. All U.S. currency issued since the first paper money was issued by the U.S. government in 1861 remains fully redeemable at face value. Federal Reserve notes were originally issued in denominations ranging from $5 to $10,000, although the primary purpose of the $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 notes was to facilitate bank transfer payments. The largest bank transfer note printed was the $100,000 note, which features a portrait of President Woodrow Wilson, who signed the Federal Reserve Act in 1913. This note was never circulated among the general public. The $100 note has been the largest denomination printed since 1969. The $1 denomination was added in 1963; the $2 denomination was added in 1976.