500 Dollar Bill & Its Hidden Collectible Value

500 Dollar Bill & Its Hidden Collectible Value
Posted on April 30, 2024 by BOLD Precious Metals
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Imagine having a $500 bill in your pocket. In 2024, you could not even purchase one ounce of pure gold with that bill.

However, if you get on a time machine and travel to the early 20th century, you can purchase a whopping twenty-four ounces of gold with the same bill! Additionally, you can buy a 500-dollar bill as a collectible from reputable dealers, retailers, or currency collectors.

Fascinating, isn’t it?The 500 dollar bill has had an interesting trajectory over several years. Even today, a well-preserved bill can get you much more than its face value. If you are an avid coin collector, you might want to venture into these rare bills, too.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let us have a smooth start and understand the state of large denominations in the US.

Understanding Large Denominations in the US

From $500 to $5,000, the US Government has issued several bills carrying large denominations since the 18th century. So far, the US has issued eleven currencies of large denominations (equal to or above $500) across twenty series dates.

This post will focus on the history and value of a 500 dollar bill. From understanding its basics to seeing how it helps you in bullion investment, we will dive a little deeper into the bill’s essence.

    The 500 Dollar Bill

Authorized by legislation, North Carolina issued the first 500 dollar bill on May 10, 1780. Since then, these bills have been making rounds across the country. While the design and people featured on the bills changed with time, they are still considered legal tender in the US.

Having said that, you should know that a 500 dollar bill carries a significant collectible value. You will find most of these bills with dealers and collectors across the globe. If you find an old bill in your treasury, you may want to keep it and get a good deal in the open market. It is common to see 500 dollar bills listed on platforms like eBay at impressive premiums.

    The 500 Dollar Bill Series

Learning about the 500 dollar bill is incomplete without knowing its two distinct series – Blue Seal and Green Seal.

1918 $500 Blue Seal Series

1918 $500 Blue Seal Series

Issued first in 1918, this 500 dollar series is known for carrying the portrait of John Marshall on the obverse side. John Marshall was the fourth Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, serving from 1801 to 1835. On this bill’s reverse, you will find the Spanish conquistador named Hernando De Soto discovering Mississippi in 1541.

The 1918 $500 Blue Seal series was soon replaced by the Green Seal series.

1928 and 1934 $500 Green Seal Series

1928 and 1934 $500 Green Seal Series

Also known as Federal Reserve notes, these 500 dollar bills replaced the portrait of John Marshal with that of the 25th US President William McKinley. McKinley served one full term and was unfortunately assassinated six months into his second term.

Here is a quick comparison of the two 500 dollar bill series:

Currency and SeriesSeries YearFeatured PortraitBack Vignette
$500 Note (Blue Seal)1918John MarshallDeSoto Discovering the Mississippi in 1541
500 Dollar Bill (Green Seal)1928 & 1934William McKinleyCountry Name: United States of America $500 (In Text and words)

Collectible Value of a 500 Dollar Bill

If you wish to know how valuable a 500 dollar bill is as a collectible, let the popular show Pawn Stars do the talking:

The episode features a seller with a $500 and a $1,000 bill willing to sell them at a pawn shop. By the end of the negotiation, he made $5,500 by selling both his bills.

    What Makes the Collectible Value of a 500 Dollar Bill High?

From high denomination to old mint dates, many factors increase the collectible value of a 500 dollar bill. However, the most important factor remains the people featured on the bills – John Marshal and Willian McKinley.

Let us have a quick look at these towering personalities adding value to 500 dollar bills:

John Marshall

Jon Marshall was the fourth Chief Justice of the United States and served from 1801 until his demise in 1835. He is also remembered as one of the Founding Fathers of America. John Marshall is the fourth-longest serving justice and longest-serving Chief Justice of the US to date.

William McKinley

William McKinley was the 25th US President who served from 1897 until his assassination in 1901. A respected Republican leader, he played an essential role in industrialization and restoring property following a deep depression. He was also the last US President to serve in the Civil War.

Current Value Of The 500 Dollar Bill

The current value of a 500 dollar bill is way more than its face value. This is why, despite the bills being legal tender, it is better to either invest in them or sell them at a premium.

As of now, a 500 dollar bill’s value can range from $1,500 to over $5,000. From popular precious metals dealers to eBay, you can visit multiple sites to ascertain different bills’ values and choose the one you wish to purchase. If you wish to sell one of these bills, seek professional help to get the best deal on your $500.

    How Much Gold Could You Buy with a $500 Bill Throughout History?

From 1792 until now, the official US Government gold price has changed only four times. Starting at $19.75/t oz, the price of pure gold increased to $20.67/t oz in 1834. It further went up to $35/t oz in 1934, $38/t oz in 1972, and $42.22/t oz in 1973. The market price of gold has been free to fluctuate since 1968 due to the two-tiered pricing system.

Starting from 1900 up to 2024, here is how much gold you could buy with a 500 dollar bill throughout history:

YearsGold Spot PriceHow much gold could be bought with a $500
1900 - 1934$20.6724.19 Ounces of Pure Gold
1934 - 1971$35.0014.19 Ounces of Pure Gold
1972$38.0013.16 Ounces of Pure Gold
1973$97.395.13 Ounces of Pure Gold
Note: A two-tiered pricing system was created in 1968, and the market price for gold has been free to fluctuate.
2024$2266.700.22 Ounce of Pure Gold
Note: Based on when the article was initially published. (April 2024)

    How Much Silver Could You Buy With A 500 Dollar Bill Since 1900?

Starting from 1900 up to 2024, here is how much silver you could buy using a 500 dollar bill:

YearsSilver Spot Price (Avg.)How much silver could be bought with a $500 (Ounces)In Kilograms
1915$0.51980.39 Ounces30.49 kg
1920$1.03485.44 Ounces15.10 kg
1930$0.381315.79 Ounces40.92 kg
1940$0.351428.57 Ounces44.43 kg
1950$0.74675.68 Ounces21.01 kg
1960$0.92543.48 Ounces16.90 kg
1970$1.92260.42 Ounces8.10 kg
1980$20.1724.79 Ounces0.77 kg
1990$05.2395.60 Ounces2.97 kg
2000$05.3293.98 Ounces2.92 kg
2010$30.9316.17 Ounces0.50 kg
2020$28.5617.51 Ounces0.54 kg
2024 (April)$27.9117.91 Ounces0.56 kg

    The Role of Government and National Financial Authorities

While the amount of gold and silver you can purchase with a 500 dollar bill has reduced with time, you should know that the Government and related authorities always try to maintain a balance in the economy with time to run a nation seamlessly.

While $500 could get you 24 ounces of gold in 1900 and 14 ounces of gold from 1935 to 1970, it is important to note that earning $500 was not easy at the time. Back then, the average salary of an American citizen was around $200 to $400. So, if the prices of gold and silver are on the rise, so is the purchasing power of the citizens.

Despite inflation and increasing bullion metal prices, you should know how much gold you should own and how such investments will help you during financial crises. For

more information on making wise investments, you might want to have a look at our 2024 goldand 2024 silver investing guide.

The Final Word

Gone are the days when 500 dollar bills circulated freely across the American economy. In 2024, these currencies have become valuable collectibles that help their bearers earn a fortune. If you want to sell such a dollar, get it appraised and understand its value in the open market.

If you want to purchase this 500 dollar bill, get in touch with the right dealers or professionals who know that these dollars are more than aesthetic pieces of paper!


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