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Old Canadian Banknotes That Are Worth Close To Face Value

Updated: Feb 3, 2021

Lately on social media, many articles have appeared with amazing titles like “Your Old $1 Bill Might Be Worth Thousands”.

While the title is not false per se, it is also not completely honest. Most readers would infer that this means that “their” $1 bill is worth thousands... and while all lottery ticket buyers might be millionaires this week, we know that 99.99999% of them will not be.

The following are Canadian bills that we regularly either return to the bank, or sell in bulk lots at a very modest premium, just to cover our operating costs, and are not “rare” or very valuable.

1937 - All damaged notes with pieces missing, or big tears

1954 - All notes in used condition NOT signed by J. E. Coyne.

Those signed Coyne are usually worth a premium.

1954 - $1,000 bills signed Lawson-Bouey

1967 - All $1 notes in used condition. New ones we buy for $1.50 each.

1973 -1979 $1-$100 in used condition. Perfect condition ones we do buy at a small premium.

1986 -1990 $1-$1,000 in all conditions

Are there exceptions to the above? What is that $1 Bill that is worth thousands?

Here are things that can make some of the bills listed above have a higher collector value…

  • Fancy serial numbers. If you have # 0000001, or # 88888888, or something extremely cool like that... there is lots of collector demand, and they can be worth many hundreds of dollars more than a regular note.

  • Condition. It is easy to find perfect condition notes dated from the 1960’s to 1980’s...but much harder to find perfect (no folds ever, sharp corners, fresh look like it was just printed) notes from the 1930’s to 1950’s and these older notes in new condition are worth more than used ones.

  • Replacement Notes. Some notes from 1954 to 1970’s have a little “*” before the serial number. These are notes produced to replace ones that were damaged in the printing process. Depending on which “Prefix” (the letters before the numbers) the note has...some (NOT ALL JUST SOME) replacement prefixes are rare...and this is how you could have a very valuable note. For example 1 dollar 1973 notes starting with *MD can sell for $10,000 in new condition...but ones with *MC in new condition would be $25.

  • Errors. With printing errors it is all about extremes. Minor variances are not worth extra, but big mistakes are. Examples of valuable errors; No printing on one side, part of a second note still attached, serial numbers that do not match on each side, etc. Examples of not valuable errors; off center printing, bills with pieces missing, minor printing variations.


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