How much space to store a million dollars (cash)

how about being paid in bearer bonds?

Hmmm…probably not for this particular deed. Gold would be harder to move discreetly, and diamonds would likely have to be fenced at a discount. The people hiring my protagonist will be able to move the cash without much problem, and once he gets it, he has a plan to stash it away safely. There will be some degree of deception on all sides, of course. He will do, or at least attempt, the deed as hired, but he will not be using the planned escape route, etc…

Now there’s an idea. Easier to store than cash, almost as fungible. But also somewhat easier to trace than cash. Hmmm…I’ll give that one serious consideration. Thank you.

This transaction will take place outside the U.S., for other reasons important to the plot.

If you’re setting this in 1963, then the $500, $1,000, $5,000 and even $10,000 bills were still in circulation. (That ended in 1969.) So you use 100 $10,000 bills, for a tidy package only 1cm thick. This could easily be put in a money belt, or even carried in a pocket.

These were used mainly for inter-bank transfers, in the days before secure electronic funds transfer systems. So they weren’t very much “in circulation”, especially the $5,000 and $10,000 ones. But the smaller ones were available. I remember my father, in a small midwestern town, once having a $1,000 bill in his posession. (It was nearly 3 months of his annual income at the time.) But not that many – you would probably have trouble obtaining a thousand of them without attracting notice. (A bank officer mentioned to my father that their bank had 25 of those $1,000 bills; 22 were in the bank vault, 3 had been withdrawn by bank customers. And he knew which 3 customers.)

Even just using $1000 bills would be only 10 bundles on 100 bills each; the total stack being about 5 inches thick – could easily fit in a womans purse.

So in 1963 this would be much more feasible than today.

Interesting. Thousand dollar bills would be awkward for spending, and perhaps attract unwanted attention after the deed is done, but would ease the transportation issue.

The thing is, if my protagonist is going to survive, he has to pretty much disappear after the deed is done. The people that hired him have some motivation to see him dead, and certainly the victims will as well. I’m thinking of having him use a numbered swiss account–it’s cliche, but effective for my purposes. Fortunately for him, he’s in a position to demand payment in full up front. Might just have him require payment to be made in Switzerland, so he can handle the banking part without worrying about clearing customs when he goes elsewhere. He can travel with a non-reportable amount of cash that would be plenty to carry him through his business and fund the escape, and then access the funds by wire transfer later…

Still, all these ideas are helpful, and appreciated. Even if this project never sees the light of day, it’ll be good to have the details right.