In the movies, people trying to keep the authorities from noticing $1 million will put it into a suitcase, all of it in paper bills of the same denomination — yet the characters always make it look like it weighs a lot less than it actually does.
In case you were dying to know how much $1 million actually weighs, here’s a breakdown of what it would in six different uniform denominations.
How Much Does $1 Million Weigh?
- All $1,000 bills: about 2.2 pounds
- All $100 bills: 22.05 pounds
- All $20 bills: 110.5 pounds
- All $10 bills: 220.5 pounds
- All $5 bills: 441 pounds
- All $1 bills: 2205 pounds
- All pennies = Over 550,000 pounds
Now what the weights above leave out is how much $1 million weighs when in gold format — a little over 51 pounds.
Why Move That Much Cash?
Obviously, no one thinking clearly should have a reason to carry that much money around. In addition to the risk of theft, at a certain point its legality becomes dubious.
If you try to move $10,000 or more via check or electronically, the bank has to notify the feds about your payment. So people dream about putting cash in their suitcase when they travel to places like Switzerland or the Caymans — and then opening a bank account over there, where you benefit from anonymity.
However the flaw of this thinking is that you’re supposed to declare in customs if you’re carrying out of the country U.S. cash amounting to $10,000 or more. Not doing so is illegal.
But if you tried to defy the law by putting $1 million in cash bills into a suitcase, you just might have to check that bag — and introduce the risk of theft.
Now this discussion of how much $1 million weighs was intended to be lighthearted and nothing more. But we apologize nonetheless if it has spoiled your ability to suspend disbelief the next time you watch a movie in which crimials try to move that amount of money in a suitcase.