Most people approach us with an old $5 bill thinking they’ve just hit the jackpot. While this is sometimes the case, most of the time it’s not. It’s strange, you’d think a bill from the 1800s would always be more valuable than one from the 1900s. We’ve paid thousands of dollars for a 1963 $5 bill with a rare serial number, and a few bucks for an old $5 bill from the 1800s. It really all depends on multiple factors we go over in this guide. Don’t let that discourage you, though. Contact us with a clear image if you think you have something rare.

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Determining the value of an old five dollar bill can’t be done with a google search, you must get a paper money expert involved.


Types of Old Five Dollar Bills


All the old $5 bills shown in this guide are small size bills with Abraham Lincoln’s portrait at the center. Many people approach us with $5 bills asking us for our opinion. We love dealing with the public and buying old $5 bills for our collection! 

Five dollar bills were printed in different types:

Green Seal Federal Reserve Notes

When trying to determine the value for an old $5 bill, it’s important to remember condition is always a very important factor to consider. However, there are instances where regardless of the condition your bill will be worth a lot of money. It honestly comes down to the combination of factors that determine value. If you don’t want to spend time learning, we understand. Contact us today and we’ll give you an answer right away.


$5 Green Seal Federal Reserve Notes (1928 – Present)


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The note pictured above is what collectors call a “numeral type” federal reserve note. Numeral, meaning number, because of the number located on the left side of the bill. If you pick a note out of your purse or wallet and look at it, you won’t see that number there. This is specific to the 1928 series banknotes, for every denomination.


$5 Red Seal Legal Tender Notes (1928 – 1963)



The red seal and serial numbers on legal tender notes is something that always appeals to collectors. The example above is especially special because it’s a serial number 1 $5 legal tender. Typically serial numbers 1 through 9 will always demand a large premium over their face value. 


$5 Brown Seal National Bank Notes (1929 & 1934)


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All small size, like pictured above, national bank notes will have brown seals and serial numbers. The value of these notes relies heavily on the state and issuing bank. Sometimes these notes can be worth $20, other times they’ll be worth thousands.


$5 Yellow Seal North Africa Notes (1934A)



North Africa paper money comes with a yellow seal to the right, a blue “5” left, and blue serial numbers. In high grade, these notes are hard to come by. We’re always looking to buy North Africa yellow seal bills. 


$5 Blue Seal Silver Certificate Bills (1934 & 1953)



Blue seal silver certificate $5 bills are typically pretty common and not worth much money. The example above is from 1953 and would typically be worth about $10 in that condition. However, the example above is special because it’s a serial number 1 which makes the bill worth thousands of dollars. 


Still can’t find your old $5 bill? Check out our full $5 value and price guide.


Values & Pricing


There are a few areas you need to focus on when determining the value of old five dollar bills.

Condition: I’ve paid $7 for an old beat-up five dollar bill that, if in perfect condition, I would have paid over $800 for. Condition is key when dealing with any collectible.

Popularity: For one reason or another, some old five dollar bills are simply worth more due to popularity. People may be willing to spend more money on a bill that’s popular regardless if they are common and in poor condition.

Rarity: Unfortunately, you cannot be told to “Google it” when it comes to the rarity of your $5 bill. Rarity is based on the number known to exist and number printed. The rarer your old five dollar bill is, the higher the chance it’s worth more money.

Market: This ties in with rarity. You could have the rarest 1853 $5 bill in the world but if there’s no demand in the market, it won’t be worth much. With how small the currency collectible community can be at times, some old bills aren’t worth as much as we’d like to imagine.

Provenance: This factor isn’t common but a $5 bill that was part of a famous persons’ collection should bring more value, simply for that fact. It’s good to know this typically only matters with lower value items. An old rare $5 bill in a mint condition worth $20,000 will probably not add much more value if it was part of a famous person collection.

Serial Number: This is one of my favorite value-determining factors. If you look at the first $5 bill picture on this page, you’ll notice the serial number: A00000001A also known as Serial Number 1. This factor alone will heavily impact value in a positive way. Another example would be if the serial number was A00001991A might be important for a person born in 1991. Some people like solid serial numbers like A88888888A as number 8 is also considered lucky in many cultures.

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If you have questions about your old $5 bill and are interested in selling it to us, or simply want to know its value, we would be happy to give our expert opinion on its value.