Face value is what value you believe something has at first look. It's the apparent value of an object.

Face value is judging books by their covers.

In the Fixed Income markets, face value is the redemption value of the instrument in question. Typically for US Government bonds, bills, and notes this is $1,000. In other markets - those, for example, dealing with Corporate or Municipal bonds this may be $5,000 or $10,000.

Face value is important since the coupon payment received by the investor is calculated as a percentage of it.

For example, the owner of a US Government 6% bond would receive coupon payments of $30, twice a year; in other words, 6% of $1,000.

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