Thanks to bodegas, tax-dodging bars, and street vendors, cash has been successfully fending off extinction for quite some time. But now that Tim Cook and Apple have decided to wage war on our nation’s payment systems cash might only be used by people who need a stable untraceable currency (shoutout to Bitcoin!).
It’ll be a shame if it vanishes, because cash has a history of cool designs that reflect the times. Looking back on the cash of yesteryear, it’s clear that we’ve been in a decline for a while. The largest denomination you can get these days is the $100, which is pretty boring.
Things used to be a little more fun. Check it out.
The $10,000 Bill (1878)
2014 Equivalent: A $230,000 bill
This was the big kahuna for anyone trying rob a train, since it could buy you a loot-storing safehouse to celebrate in after. Maybe not a sweet one, but a decent one in a fine neighborhood in the heartland of America. It was the largest legal tender bill ever made, intended for public usage, unlike a gold certificate.
The $1,000 Bill (1928)
2014 Equivalent: A $13,000 bill
While the early big bills were cool, they don’t exactly look like money today. But in the 1920s, things started to look like today’s cash. The $1,000 bill, worth about a Smartcar in today’s dollars, featured Grover Cleveland and his phenomenal mustache. Back then, it was still redeemable in gold.