These Rare $5 Bills Can Sell for Thousands

The $5 bill as we know it, with Abraham Lincoln on the front, got its start in 1914. But U.S. banknotes worth five dollars had been around long before that, beginning with $5 “demand notes” first issued in 1861. Since then, many different variations of $5 bills and notes have gone into circulation, and some of the rare varieties can fetch thousands of dollars on the collectibles market.

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As with most collectible coins and currency, the two main factors determining a $5 bill’s value are its rarity and condition. To command top dollar, they need to be both scarce and in top-graded condition.

Because $5 bills and banknotes have such a long history, those from the earliest years will hold the most value for collectors and dealers. But even $5 bills from the 20th century can fetch high prices. Here’s a look at a few different five-dollar bills that can sell for hundreds of dollars or more.

1861 $5 Demand Notes

Demand notes issued beginning in 1861 were the first widely circulated, federally issued notes since the Continental Currency notes of the late 18th century, according to Stacks Bowers Galleries. An 1861 $5 Demand Note produced by the American Bank Note Company using a patented steel plate process sold for $38,400, making it one of the most valuable $5 bills ever. The front of the note has an image of statue representing freedom as well as a portrait of Alexander Hamilton.

1869 Legal Tender $5 Bill

In 1869, $5 legal notes were redesigned with a portrait of Andrew Jackson on the front (or obverse) and a “vignette representing the Pioneer Family,” according to the Startup.info website. These bills were also known as “Rainbow Notes.” OldMoneyPrices.com estimates the average value of 1869 $5 Legal Tender banknote at $400, although uncirculated examples can fetch as much as $1,400.

1914 $5 Large-Size Federal Reserve Note

These bills were popularly known as “horseblankets” because of how big they were. Littleton Coin Company refers to the 1914 $5 Large-Size Federal Reserve Note as “one of the hottest collectible areas in the hobby,” and it recently listed one for sale in Very Good condition at $196.

1934 $5 Silver Certificate and Federal Reserve Notes

This marked the first year that $5 silver certificates were printed in a smaller size similar to $1 and $10 bills, according to CoinValueFinder. It was also the first year that the U.S. Treasury seal was moved to the right side of the notes. Four different seals were used for this note, and it was produced in five different series. Some of the most valuable bills in the series are listed below. The highest values are for “star” notes, which are replacement notes produced to replace misprinted or damaged currency before it gets into circulation.

  • 1934 A Hawaii $5 Dollar Bill (Brown Seal): Up to $6,000
  • 1934 A North Africa $5 Dollar Bill (Yellow Seal): Up to $1,850
  • 1934 A – D Blue Seal $5 Bill: Up to $425

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: These Rare $5 Bills Can Sell for Thousands

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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