Fancy Serial Number Lookup: How to Figure Out If Your Dollar Bill Is Valuable

Fancy Serial Number Lookup: How to Figure Out If Your Bill Is Valuable
Looking Up Fancy Serial Numbers

I love collecting fancy serial number currencies and I think that the banknotes and coins are very cool. We can even exchange them for real money at a bank. Check out this numerical palindrome:

I collected my first currency when I was 12 years old. It was a handwritten note from my uncle who lives in Russia. He sent me this note as a birthday present.

Serial numbers are an important feature of any currency. They make the coin unique and distinguishable from any other coin in circulation. Collecting fancy serial number currencies has been a hobby for some people for a really long time.

What started as a small interest of a few people has grown into a hobby that is practiced by thousands of people across the world. There are many different reasons why collectors love to buy and collect serial number currencies.

Collectors know that these coins have an edge over regular coins, which makes them even more lucrative to collect them with their specific serial numbers on it.

Many books and websites can help you determine if your bill is valuable, such as the Red Book (US) or Pick (UK). These books list the minimum values of bills. However, there is no definitive resource for how much a specific bill is worth. One person’s much worn $20 may be further less valuable than another person’s crisp, uncirculated $20. Many other factors affect the value of a specific bill.

Here’s a cool string of repeating 8s:

Unfortunately, even if you have an old bill with fancy serial numbers, it may not be worth all that much. There are some really rare fancy serial number bills out there, but most of them are only worth around $50. However, there are three things to look for in old bills that will increase valuable chances: color, condition, and serial number range.

How to Figure Out If Your Bill’s Serial # Is Valuable

Serial number range

The further apart each digit is in a serial number, the more desirable it becomes. For example, “19999999” or “23445678” are perfect serial numbers, while “54312343” or “76543210” are not.


Also, the older a bill is, the more valuable it becomes. So bills from before 1950 are worth more than bills created later. The oldest US paper money ever produced had unique designs for each denomination’s front and back, while newer bills have a new design and a picture of George Washington on the back. If your bill has older designs, you may have something precious.

Finally, the condition affects value significantly. A torn or stained bill will be worth much less than a nice crisp one. However, a good rule of thumb is to take the bill with the least wear and tear, fold in half lengthwise, then unfold it. If you have two bills of the same denomination, but one looks smaller than the other, use this trick to see which is worth more.


Did you know that the colors of some paper money can affect its value? If your bill happens to be an old, rare $2 bill printed in red on the back, it could be worth $10,000! And if your $1 bill is printed in blue on the back instead of green, you could have a $100 bill!

Types of Valuable Serial Numbers on dollar bills

Banknotes Serial Numbers

  • “Replacement” or “Specimen” serial numbers – These are serial numbers that replace the usual serial number. For example, replacement series 1950 $1 silver certificates have serial numbers beginning with A00000001A. From 1934 to 1956 were issued as specimen notes and started with B and C (for specific individual serial numbers).
  • Star notes – star replacement serial number on a Benji.
  • Low and high prefix notes – Prefixes of 000-AA to 999-ZZ. All notes from 1934 to 1963 have this variety unless it’s a replacement series from 1950 to 1997.
  • Low or High suffix note – Suffixes of A-44 to Z-89
  • Replacement notes – replacement serial numbers on any series note.
  • Blocked or unblocked – if all the serial numbers in a block of 100 are high for that particular year, then it’s considered unblocked. If there is one low number in the middle of the hundred, then it is considered blocked.
  • Series of 1934A notes – a regular note from the series of 1934 is worth up to $20. A star note or a replacement serial number increases the value by 5-10 times.
  • Notes with multiple stars – These notes have two stars instead of one, and they can be in any position on the face, either left or right. On the reverse, it can be above or below the seal. If there are two stars in all four positions, then it is considered very rare.
  • Solid star notes – A solid star note has a star in place of every number for serial numbers and seals, including backup serials. It is worth $100 if it has a solid star instead of the letter A in an alpha prefix or B through J for betta prefixes.
  • Doubled dies – these die errors that include doubling, tripled, and quadrupled printings on most letters and numbers, including backup serials. If there is one doubled printing, it’s worth $5; if there are two, then it’s worth $10; if there are three – $15. If the letters are tripled or quadrupled, then it’s worth about $20.
  • Solid letter notes – A note with a solid letter instead of the number in front is considered rare, and it can be collectible if not too familiar.
  • Solid back notes – If someone tries to erase the back printing and it’s still readable. Combinations of these 12 factors can determine a note’s value:

1 solid star note 2-solid letter prefix + 1 solid block letter suffix = $2000+

3 solid stars on $20, $50 and $100 bills

– $10000+

Star notes are the most common valuable serial number on old paper bills, worth up to $50 times its denomination. They are hard to find because the replacement process was limited. Common prefixes are more common on star notes than on regular bills and have a higher value. High prefixes are extremely difficult to find in star notes.

Where to Sell Your Paper Money

Where to Sell Your Paper Money

Once you have successfully identified a bill’s value, it’s time to cash in! There are many ways to sell your bills. You can post an ad on Craigslist or eBay or list them for sale at online auction sites like Bid4Notes and Paper Money Auctions. Sites such as and other communities might also be of use.

Coin Dealers page

The Coin Dealers page on Collectors Weekly is an excellent resource for finding dealers in your area who buy, sell, or trade paper money. Additionally, there are many local coin shows held every year where you can meet one-on-one with dealers to get the best prices possible. If you’re not sure whether a dealer is reputable, look at reviews of dealers on the Paper Money Buyer’s Guides.

Local dealer

local dealer

Selling your paper money to a local dealer rather than an online source will bring better returns. Dealers know what they are looking for and how much it is worth, and you’ll likely get a better price. You can also make arrangements with your dealer to trade your bills for ones you’d like to have in your collection.

Online source

If you decide to go with an online source, you’ll generally find the best prices on eBay and other auction sites.

These sites offer a much larger audience of potential buyers than just your local community, which increases the chances that someone will see your listing and be interested in buying it. However, be aware of potential scams. Never ship your bills with payment to an auction site; only pay via PayPal or other online payment methods that offer you protection.

You may also want to check for reviews or similar references about the Paper Money Buyer’s Guides dealer.


Serial Number lookups is a quick and easy way to figure out how much the bill you have may be worth. However, before attempting a fancy serial number lookup, the first thing you should do is to check if your bill has a “series letter” that gives it an extra boost in value. Once you have confirmed that your note does not have a series letter, then a fancy serial number lookup is for you!

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