One of our latest news items has chronicled the amazing tale of a daring fraudster who attempted to cash in two fake million dollar bills at a bank in the United Arab Emirates.
The notes in question were not legal tender, and were actually novelty commemorative notes created in America specifically for collectors.
Of course, to most people this story must drift into the realm of the ridiculous, clearly a bank note for one million dollars could not be real, in fact for me it evokes fond memories of a classic episode of The Simpsons, where miserly millionaire Mr Burns comes under investigation for stealing a trillion dollar bill that the US government created to give to France back in 1945.
However, there is air of truth to the creation of seemingly impossibly large bank notes. Countries are often known to create one-off, or extremely limited amounts of, certain high value bank notes for internal matters such as currency support and economic reasons, these notes rarely see the light of day and are usually transferred from the mint to government offices or directly to banks.
With that in mind let’s have a look at some of the biggest bank notes known to be created.
Singapore has the honour of having the most valuable bank note in current circulation, its $10,000 bill, worth a little under £5,000.
This attractive yellow note, adorned with the picture of Encik Yusof- Singapore’s first president, is primarily used for bank-to-bank transactions although it is legal tender so if you somehow came across one you could indeed use it to make a purchase, but only in Singapore.
The second highest value note in current circulation is the CHF (Swiss franc) 1,000, which equates to around £650. This note is recognised as tender around the world.
Over the years the United States have been known to create some incredible bank notes, at the moment their biggest bank note is the hundred dollar bill, but that was certainly not the case in years gone by. During 1940s and 50s America was known to have a number of high-sum notes in circulation, with a $10,000 floating about until it was discontinued in 1969. Despite an end to its production it still remains legal tender to this day and there are thought to be around 336 $10,000 notes still in existence, most likely in the hands of collectors.
One of the world’s most widespread currencies is the controversial Euro. Created in 2002, the Euro is used in 11 different EU nations, and its largest note is the €500, worth just under £420. In the UK the Euro wasnt adopted but many places will accept it as a form of payment, however the €500 Euro was banned in the UK earlier this year after worries that the note was being used by criminals as an easy way to transport large sums of illicit cash.
Another bank note that was implicated in the transfer of criminal funds was Canada’s C$1,000. The note was created in 1992 but lasted less than a decade after Mounties, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, requested its discontinuation due to suspicions that it was being used in criminal circles to move around large sums of money.
Finally, the largest bank note ever denominated is the Zimbabwe $100 billion note. The note was created during a period of economic meltdown in Zimbabwe, inflation was at a shocking 231,000,000% and the Z$100 billion was actually worth virtually nothing. Soon after Zimbabwe’s currency was suspended and foreign currency was used.