Treasury Notes – Values, Information, & Sales

1890 & 1891 Treasury Notes

United States treasury notes were issued for 1891 and 1890.  Collectors sometimes refer to them as coin notes.  The basic design of each denomination from the two years is the same.  The only difference will be the seal size and type (which is sometimes different).  The back of the notes will always be different.  1890 examples have a dark and richly engraved green back.  The 1891 treasury notes have a plain back that is mostly green and white.  In most circumstances, the 1890 notes will be more valuable than the 1891 notes.  If you have a question about your coin note, don’t hesitate to ask.  I am an interested buyer.

The absolutely most common treasury note is the one dollar denomination.  1891 $1 treasury notes in uncirculated condition are available at will.  However, some 1890 types are very rare and difficult to locate.  Stanton is pictured on the front of each note as the long bearded fellow.

Everyone likes a two dollar bill.  The large size treasury note features a portrait of James McPherson. Once again, these were printed for the series of 1890 and 1891.  We have a guide for 1891 $2 treasury notes.

I feel like the five dollar denomination of the treasury note series is somewhat disrespected by collectors of today.  These notes are much more difficult to locate than the two lower denominations; however, they don’t command the prices of the higher denomination treasury notes.  Perhaps these are currently a good value.  George Thomas is on the front of each note.

The population of ten and twenty dollar treasury notes has been heavily skewed by the discovery of a hoard of these notes held at a Jacksonville, Florida bank in the early part of the 21st century.  The hoard was sold to a firm in California and then sold telemarketer style.  Today the prices are starting to reflect the actual availability of this issue.  The central portrait is that of Philip Sheridan.

The twenty dollar denomination of the large size treasury note is the highest denomination that is collectible.  Anything higher is prohibitively rare.  1890 $20 bills are expensive.  However, the 1891 examples are available and relatively affordable.  John Marshall is pictured on the left hand side of each bill.

Now this is a tough note.  There were no 1890 $50 bills issued.  1891 examples were printed, and they are rare.  William Seward is shown in profile at the center of each bill.

Series of 1890 $100 treasury notes might have the ultimate nickname in the world of collectible currency.  The back of these issues have an engraving that looks like two watermelons, ergo, they are called watermelon notes.  There are enough of these to be semi-collectible, but they are expensive.  The 1891 $100 bill does not have the same back engraving.  The famous Admiral Farragut is shown on the right hand side of each note.

The above $500 note is not currently known to exist as an issued type.  So the discovery of one of these would be important.  These were only issued for 1891 and there is an engraving of General Sherman on the each note.

1891 $1,000 treasury notes are actually rarer than 1890 one thousand dollar treasury notes.  The 1890 example is known as the grand watermelon.  Both notes are extremely rare and expensive.