You won’t see too many $10,000 bills floating around. Not because your poor and not because the local gas station doesn’t have the capability to break a $100,000 bill. The main reason is that the Government has instituted a number of banking reporting requirements and controls that require financial institutions to report on transactions that exceed $10,000. In fact recent changes over the last few years, also require car dealers and other groups to report large transactions that can include amounts or combinations of amounts in the $2,000 – $3,000 range.
So if the treasury department were to print off a large number of these big bills, it would make it easier for certain nefarious types to exchange funds without having to go through a financial institution where a record can be made and reported up the chain.
Now on the other hand, if the US were to undergo a period of severe inflation or hyper inflation that resulted in a $10k dollar bill being worth what a dollar bill is worth today, they might have to print some of these bills off a little faster, so that you wouldn’t have to feed 50,000 $1’s into a change machine to wash your car.
(Not a real likely situation in the world today)
That scenario isn’t likely to happen as easily as it might have 90 years ago. As we have moved off the gold standard, it makes it easier for commodities prices to fluctuate with the fluctuation of the value of the dollar. However, during a time of severe destabilize such as was seen in Germany around the turn of the 20th century, it could be possible.
Never the less, its interesting to see one of these bills. Pictures of this one are floating on yahoo’s most viewed photos page .