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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Eighty Million: 1914

Eighty Million: 1914

Washington, D.C., 1914. "Treasury Department Office of U.S. Treasurer. Reserve vault cash room packages seen in picture contain over 80 million dollars." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

It's not $1.6 trillion today

the 2008 dollar is worth about 2.5% of the 1914 dollar. Thus about 40 times less, so this is in the region of $3 billion dollars of today's money. It is approximately the U.S. government debt prior WW1.

[The $1.6 trillion thing: That was, like, um, a joke. - Dave]

The Box

It's not the money that interests me, it is the box. It appears to be of simple construction, a simple key lock, two curious things that look like window locks (and they may be secured with wire), and there is the funny thingy on top...spool of wire? No obvious handles on the sides or top, so it must not be heavy when full, or not meant to be moved. Two metal loops that look like they may be used for wire and seals. Maybe this is the box used to transport those big-denomination bills.

$10k, $100k

It's not too hard to check your facts before posting this stuff. Paging Wikipedia, hello Google ...

Money Money Money

One is only able to count what one can see, which knocks out what's in the box and what's behind the two boxes of $10,000 bills.

The denominations over $100 were meant almost exclusively for bank transfers - it was easier to transfer a $10,000 Gold Certificate than $10,000 in Gold. There were even $100,000 bills - that one featured the image of Salmon P. Chase. There's no image on these bills just the words stating the denomination.

For many years Binion's Golden Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas had their "Million Dollar Wall" - one hundred $10,000 bills. Visitors could have their pictures taken in front of it. This was eventually sold off to collectors during the disastrous management of Becky Binion Behnen.

[The $100,000 bill had Woodrow Wilson's portrait. Salmon P. Chase was on the $10,000 bill. - Dave]

That's more like it.

$500, $10,000 bills. Those were the days. Back when a c-note was chump change.

"We're in the money C'mon my

"We're in the money
C'mon my honey
Let's lend it, spend, send it rolling along!"

I may have completely screwed up the numbers, but that's over 1.6 trillion dollars adjusted for inflation.

Door No. 1

Also, the perspective makes it impossible to see what (if anything) is behind the two bundles of 10,000s on the top shelf.

Not Quite

If my calculations are right there isn't quite $80,000,000 in this picture. Assuming that the bundles behind the $20 Silver Certificates are the same denomination I make the count $76,640,000 broken down as follows:
$40,000,000 in $10,000 Gold Certificates in one box of 4,000 $10,000 (top shelf)
$30,000,000 in $10,000 Gold Certificates in one box of 3,000 $10,000 (top shelf)
$640,000 in $20 Gold Certficates in 8 boxes (top shelf)
$1,200,000 in $50 Silver Certificates in 6 boxes (top shelf)
$1,600,000 in $50 Silver Certificates in 6 boxes (bottom shelf)
$2,000,000 in $500 Gold Certificates in 1 boxes (bottom shelf)
$1,600,000 in $100 Gold Certificates in 4 boxes (bottom shelf)

[Plus whatever's in the box. I'll bet it's not paperclips. And there are no Silver Certs on the bottom shelf. That's six boxes of $50 gold certificates, worth $1.2 mil. - Dave]

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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