Friedberg 1133: The Elusive 1918 $1000 Federal Reserve Note

How elusive? VERY. This classic rarity in United States Currency is highly sought after and rarely sold. Anytime one comes up for auction, it immediately makes headlines, inspiring awe and wonder in those lucky enough to see it. For those that have the bankroll to buy one, well, they would feel “ecstatic”, but that word isn’t quite good enough to properly define the feeling.

As it turns out, currently has one Fr. 1133 1918 $1000 Federal Reserve Note for sale, offered by Jhon E. Cash – Click Here, a noted high denomination collector and dealer. At $52,500 this one may seem like a bit pricey but actually is a very good buy given the rarity and condition of the note:

Status as of 6/19/2011: For Sale – $52,500

Cash’s note is a very respectable Extremely Fine example. So where are all the New/Gem examples of this note, and who might have them? That’s actually not very clear. Apparently, some examples of this note in higher grades have made their ways overseas, not making it likely that they’ll appear back on US shores soon. (…You never know, however…)

The last time anything approaching Gem came up for sale (publicly) that we can find was the 2008 Heritage Long Beach California Auction, during which a PCGS PPQ 64 Very Choice New hammered at $97,750. As indicated on the PCGS jacket, the note is from the Rickey Collection, although it traded hands a couple times before landing in the Taylor Family Collection.

Status as of 6/19/2011: Sold in 2008 – $97,750

There are only 4 known Cleveland 1918 $1000 Federal Reserve notes, which definitely helped amplify the price of this example.

Don’t worry: if you’re dying to have one but don’t have $100,000 to spare, there are notes for sale now at reasonable prices. is selling one right now with a solid Very Fine grade:

Status as of 6/19/2011: For Sale – $37,500

Not to be outdone, has its own $1000 FRN up for grabs, with a PCGS 20 Very Fine grade:

Status as of 6/19/2011: For Sale – $25,000 also lists a Fr. 1133 from Chicago, graded Very Fine 35 by PCGS. This example is a bit nicer than Hokanson’s note, and perfect for collectors who enjoy collecting high denomination notes from the Chicago district (*Important: This note is listed as for sale on the website, although the individual page listing it is dated 2009 – contact the website for further information):

Status as of 6/19/2011: For Sale – $49,500

So there you have it: Super rare, Super Cool, and Super expensive 1918 $1000 Federal Reserve Notes that would make the perfect centerpiece to any collection.

One other thing to remember: Fr. note 1133a with Burke-Houston signatures and Fr. note 1133b with White-Mellon signatures are even rarer, hardly ever seen in recent memory. Getting one example of all three signature combinations would be a very expensive and protracted process. Be prepared to wait for the mega-collections of today’s USA currency lovers to make it to auction before you even dream of owning these notes.

Good Luck!