How much cash can you cram into a cereal box?

# How much cash can you cram into a cereal box?

July 24 2009 4:52 PM

# Somebody Call Officer Crumb!

## How much cash can a corrupt politician cram into a cereal box?

Federal agents arrested 44 people on Thursday, including five New Jersey politicians and five rabbis, as part of an investigation into corruption, organ sales, and bank fraud. One of the many shady deals involved the passing of \$97,000 in cash stuffed into an Apple Jacks cereal box. How much U.S. currency can you fit into an Apple Jacks box?

\$9,050,000. In order to stuff that much money into a box of Apple Jacks, you'd have to use a mix of high-denomination bills that have been taken out of circulation and a 21.7-ounce family-sized package. That calculation is based on three assumptions: 1) that the box, which is 321 cubic inches, could hold 4,658 bills, each of which is 6.14 by 2.61 by 0.0043 inches; 2) that you would lose no space to air or the unavoidable folding of bills; and 3) that you have access to all of the highest-denomination bills currently in circulation.

The highest-denomination bill ever available to the public was the \$10,000 note, which the Bureau of Engraving and Printing stopped producing in 1945—along with \$5,000, \$1,000, and \$500 bills. (There were also \$100,000 notes printed in 1934 and 1935, but they were only issued to the Federal Reserve Banks as part of the government's buyout of banks' gold supplies.) If you could fill up your Apple Jacks box with \$10,000 bills, you'd have \$46,580,000. But the Federal Reserve began taking the high-denomination bills out of circulation in 1969, and as of May 30, 2009, there were only 336 of the \$10,000 bills left on the market. Once you put all those into your cereal box, you'd have to get the 342 remaining \$5,000 bills, and then finish up with some of the 165,372 \$1,000 bills still being used. That gets you the total of \$9,050,000 listed above.

If you did stuff a cereal box with rare bills, its actual value would far exceed the face value of the notes. Collectors will pay anything from \$40,000 to \$140,000 for an authentic \$10,000 bill at auction, depending on the bill's condition. The \$5,000 notes are worth between \$20,000 and \$100,000, and the \$1,000 bills between \$1,500 and \$5,000. So a currency enthusiast with an unlimited bankroll might spend as much as \$101,140,000 for your 21.7-ounce box full of cash.