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.