Did you know there are rare dollar bills worth a lot of money? When I was a kid my parents owned a little market, and every now and then, my dad would get really old bills from the grandmas and grandpas who shopped in our store.
The Real Way to Invest (Hint: It’s Not With Rare Bills)
- I remember my dad showed me a dollar bill that was from the early 1900s and it looked something like this:. Then, a few years ago, my dad gave me $200 worth of old bills he had been holding on to for many years.
- Most of the bills were from the early 1900s. He said he thought it could be worth some money but neither one of us knew to scan the serial numbers on the bills.
- The research I did basically told me that the bills weren’t worth much. So, without looking at the serial numbers, I deposited them at Chase.
- Yes, I did that, and now I’m wondering if I threw away a fortune! To make myself feel better, I’ll assume that finding rare serial numbers is like winning the lottery. According to Business Insider, the statistics of winning the Powerball Lottery are 1 in 175 million, so it’s safe to say those bills weren’t worth anything beyond the value of its denomination.
In This Article. Can You Get Rich from Old Bills?
Don’t make the same mistake I did. If you happen to have dollar bills that are old, check the serial numbers.
The bill’s condition is also important. These special serial numbers are called “fancy serial numbers” and Cool Serial Numbers has an explanation of the breakdown of numbers within them.
They also have a list of what bills are the most in demand. Here are some fancy serial numbers you need to watch out for on your $1 bills.
The names are very unique:. Seven repeating digits in a row (i.e. 09999999, 77777776). Seven of a kind (i.e., 00010000, 99999099). Super repeaters (i.e., 67676767).
Double quads (i.e.
Check The Serial Numbers on Your Dollar Bills
There are eight numerical numbers on a serial. The letters on the front of a bill mean it came from a specific U.S. Federal Reserve Bank. The second refers to the number of times that serial number has been used.
There are 12 Federal Reserve banks in the U.S. The series year doesn’t necessarily mean that’s when the bill was printed.
It actually means it was the last time there was some kind of change to the design of the bill or when a Secretary of the Treasury was appointed.
Philadelphia C 3. Minneapolis I 9. Kansas City J 10. San Francisco L 12.
Mistakes on a bill mean there was some kind of error when the bill was printed.
These mistakes actually make them more valuable.
Misprints on dollar bills are noted by a star next to the serial number.
When bills are misprinted, the “error notes” are replaced with star notes because the government doesn’t allow two bills within the same series to be made with the exact same serial number.
However, according to Quora, you can have the same serial number for different denominations.
The $500, $5,000, and $10,000 Federal Reserve Notes
Examples of misprints affect the appearance of the bill, including:. Upside down serial numbers. A dollar bill with a yellow, red, or blue seal. Cuts and orientations that are non-uniform. OldCurrencyValues.com says the more obvious the mistake, the more valuable it is.
8. Trinary Bills
What Are Serial Numbers?
Unlike antiques or even old coins, the age of a bill isn’t crucial when it comes to misprints. So a bill from the 1960s would be worth the same as a 2006 misprinted bill.
If you happen to have a misprinted bill, find out how to sell it right away. Misprints happen all the time, so holding on to it for as long as possible won’t increase its value.
In short, probably not. People who collect things most likely do it for the love of the items and not because they think it’ll help them retire.
Of course, there are those who collect in order to build wealth and see their collection as an investment.
My guess is that these are the people who hope to turn a large profit from their collection. For the rest of us, however, it would take a lot of time and energy to do that.
A quick search on eBay turned up lots of old bills but they aren’t worth as much as I had thought they would be.
For example, a dollar bill from 1934 was selling for $11. Tip: If you want to make extra money on the side, check out our popular article about the best ways to earn a side hustle.
Raise your hand if you like TV shows like “Pawn Stars,” “Storage Wars,” “Antiques Roadshow,” or “American Pickers.” (My hand is raised.) It’s fun to watch hopeful treasure hunters either on the lookout for a rare collectible item or looking to sell one.
Top 10 Collectible Items That Could Be Worth It
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from these shows about collectible items is that it’s really hard to make money.
Whatever the collector thinks he will make vs.
what he actually ends up with is almost never aligned. Remember the Beanie Baby craze? What about first-edition books or original Star Wars figurines that are still boxed?
Frequently Asked Questions
How about an amazing wine collection? Maybe you or someone you know feels passionately enough about something to collect it.
But is it really worth it? Should you pop open those bottles of wine and enjoy them? Is your Luke Skywalker figurine better off being played with instead of collecting dust on a shelf?
For collectibles, it’s all about supply and demand. If the item is rare, it has a better chance of being worth something than if it was mass produced.
A big reason why a lot of collectibles don’t do well is because they weren’t created with that intention in the first place.
15 Types of Valuable Serial Numbers
eBay handles roughly $3 billion a year in collectible sales alone and according to their site, these are the top 10 most collectible items.
(Federal Reserve notes were nowhere to be found on this list, although coins took the number three spot.).
Vintage electronics. Dolls and action figures. Because collector’s items are all about supply and demand, the $500, $1,000, and the rare very $10,000 notes are worth a pretty penny.
If you’re holding on to a $10,000 bill, you’re in the possession of a true collector’s item. As of 2009, Wikipedia asserts there are less than 336 in circulation, which means it might be even fewer today.
What Do Serial Numbers Mean?
Collectors are willing to pay upwards of $140,000 for this bill, given that it’s in good condition.
A poor condition $10,000 may still be worth $30,000. The $500 and $1,000 bills are more common, and as of 2009, there are 342 remaining $5,000 bills, around 165,000 remaining $1,000 bills left.
High denomination bills were discontinued in 1969 due to a number of reasons (technology being one of them).
They were mostly used for large financial transactions from banks and the Federal government. When electronic money (digital form, rather than physical) was introduced, the need for such large bills went away.
How to Look Up Serial Numbers
Marketplace.org reported that it wasn’t cost efficient to produce such large denominations when so few would be created anyway.
Will they ever bring back the $500, $5,000, and $10,000 bills? Sorry to say, but this won’t be happening, as the government has no plans to bring these bills back into circulation.
These are some estimates from Heritage Auctions regarding the value of these high denomination bills and what they would be worth if they are in your possession.
(Note: The value also depends on the condition of the bill.). $500 — 1934 Series notes are worth $500 to $800 (if it’s from the 1928 series, you may fetch 10 to 20 percent more).
$1,000 — 1934 Series notes are worth $1,000 to $1,400. Uncirculated $500 and $1,000 are high in demand and can get you two times the value.
The ROI (return on investment) on the $5,000 and $10,000 notes are very poor compared to other types of investments, such as saving each month.
The Year Isn’t Important for Misprinted Bills
Plus, the chances of you having a rare bill in your possession isn’t likely anyway. Saving money with the power of compound interest will help you accumulate wealth better than any rare bill can.
6. Solids and Near Solids
What Large Denomination Bills are Worth
Let’s say you decided to invest $5,000 with an average interest rate of 6 percent. Over 30 years, that money can grow to over $76,000.
(Use the compound interest calculator from Investor.gov to do your own.). Of course, this is a simplified calculation and doesn’t account for inflation.
Can You Get Rich from Old Bills?
The point is that the return would be way better with compound interest on your side.
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There are several rare dollar bills that are worth some serious money. Check your safe or piggy bank to see if you have any of these dollar bills right away.
Where to Sell Your Paper Money
Pull any bill out of your wallet. See the dark green numbers on the top-left and top-right corners?
They could mean your bill is worth much more than its face value. If a serial number’s digits are unique or interesting, collectors might be willing to pay big bucks —hundreds or even thousands of dollars — for your bill.
You’ll make the most profit off a $1 bill with a fancy serial number, since its face value is lower than, say, a $20 bill, but it’s worth scrutinizing all your cash.
Who knows what your $100 bill could actually be worth?
Knowing what your paper money might be worth is all in the serial number.
Serial numbers are eight-digit-long codes that are unique to each bill. They are accompanied by other identifying letters and numbers that tell us which series year the bill is from and where it was printed.
They are found on the front of U.S. currency and are always printed twice.
Categories of U.S. Paper Money
On bills worth $5 and up, each serial number begins with a letter, which tells us the series year of the bill.
The years are represented by letters A-P as follows:. The series year is also printed separately on the currency, in between the portrait of the historical figure (such as Lincoln on the $5 bill) and the Secretary of the Treasury’s signature in the bottom right part of the bill.
What Makes Certain Collectibles Worth More Than Others?
You can check on a bill you have at home to see how these match up. On dollar bills (and $2 bills), the series year only appears in the bottom right quadrant.
Additionally, each serial number has a letter and number that shows us where the currency was printed.
Be on the Lookout for Misprints on Your Bills
Federal Reserve has 12 banks, and each bank has a letter and number combination associated with it. The identifiers are as follows:.
C3: Philadelphia. I9: Minneapolis.
J10: Kansas City. L12: San Francisco. On $5 bills and up, the bank identifier appears separately from the serial number, though the letter also appears next to the series year letter before the actual serial number.
On $1 and $2 bills, the letter preceding the serial number will match the bank where the bill was printed (such as K for Dallas) and the number portion of this identifier appears separately on the currency.
How Do You Check Serial Numbers on Money?
There are several different categories of paper currency in the U.S., and some are more collectable than others.
Silver Certificates are bills issued between 1878 and 1964 in denominations ranging from $1 to $1,000.
They are typically worth between $2-$20 for $1 bills, $10-$12 for $5 bills, and $30-$5,000 for $10 bills.
Gold Certificates are bills issued between 1863 and 1933 in denominations ranging from $10 to $10,000.
Worn bills could be worth $100 or more for $20 bills, $250 or more for $50 bills, $1,000 or more for $100 bills, $2,500 or more for $500 bills, and $2,000 or more for $1,000 bills.
Confederate Issues are bills issued during the Civil War (1861-1865).
4. Star Notes
They are typically not sought by collectors. Federal Reserve Notes are bills issued between 1914 and the present in denominations ranging from $1 to $10,000.
The worth of a modern bill depends on its serial number and how unusual it is.
We’re a Culture That Loves to Collect
Collectors look for several different types of fancy serial numbers that stand out from the crowd. Want to see if your paper currency is worth way more than $1 or $5?
Here’s what to look for. Collectors love bills with low serial numbers, such as those below 1,000 or 100 (eg.
OneBay, these kinds of bills can sell for anywhere from $20 to $100. The lower the serial number, the more valuable the currency is considered to be; a bill with the serial number 00000001 could be worth $15,000,according to SavingAdvice.com.
People also enjoy collecting currency with high numbers, and these can be even more valuable than lower numbers since there are fewer in circulation.
Bills marked with 99999900 and higher are especially prized. Aflipper is a note whose number can be read right side up or upside down.
Such as, 0069000. On eBay, flippers range from $15-45 apiece. Some bills have a star instead of a letter at the end of their serial number.
5. Repeaters and Super Repeaters
Known as star notes, these bills are replacements issued when the original bill had a printing error.
Because it’s against policy to produce a dollar’s serial number more than once, the mint simply adds a star to the end.
These printing errors aren’t common, so there aren’t many star notes in circulation. You’ll see $1 star notes on eBay for $5 and up.
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Blocks of repeating digits (such as 27527527) are sought after, with $1 repeaters starting around $3 or $4 on eBay.
A two-digit repeating number, like 45454545, is called a super repeater and is even more valuable.
Some eBay listings start at over $1,000. A solid serial number is one where every digit is the same, like 55555555.
Only about one out of every 11 million notes is a solid, and they can be worth $500 or more.
Since these notes are so rare, people also collect near-solids, where only one digit differs, like 55555575.
These will usually bring in less money than a solid, but you’re more likely to find one. Binary bills have serial numbers with only two numbers, such as 29299299.
A near solid would count as one of these binary notes, since it only includes two numbers. On eBay, somebinary notes can go for more than $800.
Because of the rarity of binary bills, some collectors even ask for trinary notes, which contain three unique digits in various combinations (e.g.
When the serial number ascends (e.g. 12345678) or descends (e.g. 8765431) in order, collectors call it a ladder.
You’ll also find “near ladders,” where one or two digits break up the ladder.
Ladder notes sell for anywhere from a few dollarson eBay to an unspecified (but high) price for a note marked 12345678 toOld Currency Values.
Some collectors want notes with a specific year or date in the serial number, perhaps a famous date or one meaningful to them.
For example, 02162006 might be valuable to a collector whose child was born Feb.
A serial number that just includes the year is also desirable, such as 10901985 or 10002010.
A radar serial number reads the same backwards and forwards, like a palindrome.
For example, 06288260. A good condition, uncirculated $1 radar could sell forabout $25. If only the end two digits are different (like 27777772), you’ve got a super radar, which is much more rare and valuable.
Even a $1 bill with this type of serial number can sell for $70 and up on eBay.
When you have two or more separate notes with consecutive serial numbers, like 25348793 and 25348794, you have one of these series.
2. High Number
14. Double Quads
They’re not uncommon, since you can get consecutive bills at any bank, but can be valuable if they also fit into another category on this list. Doubles occur when a serial number includes pairs of numbers, such as 24459387.
U.S. Federal Reserve Bank Identifier
What is the Value of Paper Money?
1. Low Serial Number
The most valuable type is called a quad double, when a serial number has four sets of doubles (e.g.
While technically they’re a version of a quad double, notes whose serial numbers consist of two sets of four of the same number are called double quads.
(Confusing, isn’t it?).
For example, 77776666 is a double quad.
How Do I Know if My Dollar Bill is Worth Money?
11. Radars and Super Radars
These bills are rarer and more valuable. When the serial number has the same two or three digits on both ends, it’s called a bookend.