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Following the Great War, maps were redrawn and the global financial system experienced tremendous change. The United States saw a fivefold increase in its national debt, which stood at some $27 billion by 1919. The success of the Liberty Loans paved the way for the emergence of a growing liquid market for Treasury securities.  The Second Liberty Loan Act provides the framework for the Treasury, under debt authorizations from Congress, to continue to issue bonds to this very day. In the interwar period, America experienced an economic boom and bust cycle. The resulting financial collapse lead to the Great Depression of the 1930's, the effects of which were felt around the world and helped contribute to the Second World War. 


As the 20th Century progressed, Congresses consecutively authorized massive increases in the issuance of debt. U.S. Treasury Bills are short-term debt obligations of the federal government, with maturities ranging from a few days to 52 weeks.  Known colloquially as T-Bills, these securities were first introduced in 1929 during the Hoover administration.  Unlike other marketable federal issues, T-Bills are zero-coupon securities. Their discounted price reflects the interest payment an investor receives upon redemption.  T-Bills are sold through an auction by the Treasury Department on a regular basis.  The global demand for these securities translates into a daily trading volume of just under $120 billion.

U.S. Treasury Bills were issued as bearer securities up until 1977, by which time all Bills were then book-entry only (BEO) securities going forward.  Unlike Treasury Notes and Bonds, T-Bills were never issued in registered form due to the short maturity dates they carried.  Today, Treasury Bills are some of the rarest pieces within numismatics.  There are currently six publicly known Treasury Bills: one $1000 denomination, two $100k denominations, one $500k denomination, and one $1 million denomination.  (The latter two observed are punch-marked with VOID cancelations.)  The Herbstman Collection is proud to feature two of the six known examples.

1969  one hundred thousand dollar Treasury Bill

Issued at a 7.34% Approximate Yield, Six-month Maturity


 $1.2 Billon Issued

Treasury Bills, also known as T-Bills, are short-term debt securities. Treasury Bills are a form of a zero-coupon bond.  Treasury Notes and Treasury Bonds, T-Bills do not have interest payments.  Instead, the debt is sold at a discounted value relative to their redemption or par value. This discount reflects the interest rate that the Bill carries.  An auction process determines the interest rate (discount) the bills will be sold at.  They are shortest duration security auctioned by the Treasury Department, and are typically sold in  4, 13, 26, and 52-week issues.


This example is one of two known of this denomination

1970 $1k T Bill.jpeg

1970  one thousand dollar Treasury Bill

Issued at a 7.76% Approximate Yield, Six-month Maturity


 $1.2 Billon Issued

This Treasury Bill is one of the very last $1,000 denominated securities issued.  In 1970, The

Treasury Department raised the minimum denomination for T-Bills to ten thousand dollars.

Possibly Unique

Copyright The Joe I. Herbstman Memorial Collection of American Finance 


All Rights Reserved

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