What’s In Your Wallet? 15 Bills Worth Way More Than Face Value
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 for it -- hundreds or even thousands of dollars. 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 scanning all your cash.
Want to see if any of your bills are worth way more than $1 or $5? Here’s what to look for.
1. Low Numbers
Collectors love bills with low serial numbers, such as those below 1,000 or 100 (eg. 00000100). On eBay, these kind of bills can sell for anywhere from $20 to $100.
The lower the serial number, the more valuable the note is considered to be; a bill with the serial number 00000001 could be worth $15,000, according to SavingAdvice.com.
2. High Numbers
People also enjoy collecting the high numbers, and these can be even more valuable than lower numbers since there are fewer in circulation. Bills with serial numbers 99999900 and higher are especially prized.
4. Star Notes
Some bills have a star instead of a letter at the end of their serial numbers. 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 too many star notes in circulation. You’ll see $1 star notes on eBay for $5 and up.
5. Repeaters and Super Repeaters
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!
6. Solids and Near Solids
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, according to Old Currency Values, 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.
7. Binary Bills
Binary bills have serial numbers with only two numbers, such as 29299299. A near solid would count as one of these binary bills, since it only includes two numbers. On eBay, some binary notes can go for more than $800.
8. Trinary Bills
Because of the rarity of binary bills, some collectors even ask for trinary notes, which contain three unique digits (e.g. 29329939).
When the serial numbers 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.
Some collectors want bills 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 February 16, 2006.
A serial number that just includes the year is also desirable, such as 10901985 or 10002010.
11. Radars and Super Radars
Radar serial numbers read the same backwards and forwards, like a palindrome. For example, 06288260. A good condition, uncirculated $1 radar could sell for about $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 dollar bills with this type of serial number can sell for $70 and up on eBay.
When you have two or more separate bills with consecutive serial numbers, like 25348793 and 25348794, you have one of these series. 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. The most valuable type of this bill is called a quad double, when a serial number has four sets of doubles (e.g. 55998833).
14. Double Quads
While technically they’re a version of a quad double, bills 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. 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. Three-number bookends, like 36584365, are more valuable than two-digit bookends, like 36829736. Prices start around $3 for a $1 bookend on eBay.
Your Turn: Do you have any of these bills, and would you sell them to a collector?
Disclosure: We have a serious Taco Bell addiction around here. The affiliate links in this post help us order off the dollar menu. Thanks for your support!
Maryann Akinboyewa is a social media strategist and writer.