July 19, 2017 10 Comments

This post was updated on August 2019

It’s time to turn in your old Canadian money– starting January 1, 2021, you will no longer be able to use these discontinued Canadian bills in transactions: $1, $2, $25, $500, and $1,000. The government is removing their status in an effort to reduce counterfeiting since these particular bank notes are old and lack the security features that the current in-print ones have.

The Bank of Canada will still honour the value of old paper money – all you have to do is return them to a financial institution – but what if one of them is rare and ends up being worth more than its face value?

If you have old banknotes lying around in drawers or boxes stuffed in away in closets, you might be wondering whether or not you should bring them to the bank or if just maybe some of them are rare and valuable. That's where we come in: a trusted Canadian brand like Muzeumcan easily identify the worth of your old money for you. But if you want to save yourself a trip, here are some things to look out for when sorting through them – you might just find a rare one that ends up being worth thousands of dollars.

SORRY, THOSE $2 BILLS ARE WORTHLESS 

Let's first dispel a common misconception which became popular in 2014: you might have heard that the discontinued $2 Canadian bill is worth $10,000, but that's wrong. Indeed, a $2 paper note at auction did sell for $10,000, but not because it was $2. Rather, the signatures of the wrong officials were on it. The 1986 $2 notes with the AUG, AUH, and AUJ serial numbers should include the signatures of Bank of Canada governor Gerald Bouey and deputy governor John Crow, but some instead had the signatures of Bank of Canada governor John Crow and deputy governor Gordon Thiessen. These misprinted notes are actually the ones worth any money.

A quick glance on eBay for people selling regular $2 bills comes up with a not very sunny picture for hopeful sellers: they’re going for just a little over their face value, and most never get any bids anyway.

The Lucrative $1,000 Bill

One of the most valuable and rarest Canadian paper money is the $1,000 billwhich was discontinued in 2000 at the request of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Apparently, this hefty bill was being used mainly within criminal organizations. The 1992 notes were dubbed “pinkies” because of their red-pink colour, and it’s believed that they were still used by criminals even after its discontinuation.

old Canadian bank note

You can find $1000 bills in runs from 1935 (like the one pictured above), 1937, 1954, and 1992. The 1935 and 1937 are considered collectibles and are always worth bringing in. When it comes to the 1954 note, value is determined by the signature, serial number, and condition of the item. As for the 1992 note, it isn’t currently worth much but maybe in the future after the status changes set in.

That said, according to the CBC, it was announced back in 2018 that the government would remove the legal tender status of these notes. which means they can no longer be used in cash transactions. The Bank of Canada defines the banknotes it issues as “legal tender,” meaning that it can be used as official money in a transaction.

The good news here is that, even when they lose legal tender status, banknotes do not necessarily lose their value – they just can’t be spent. They can, however, be considered valuable due to their rarity among other factors. Suffice to say, $1000 bills are rich in value and history.

Found a Canadian 1 Dollar Bill?  Take a Closer Look 

One of the most exciting finds you can have as a Canadian paper money collector is coming across a rare Canadian 1 dollar bill. Since dollar bills were discontinued in 1989, they are exceedingly unique and can fetch up to $350. As with all collectibles and antiques, the value depends on its condition and rarity. So you’ll want to ensure any 1 dollar bills you have aren't yellowed, dog-eared, or torn.

There is a major notable $1 note in Canada that will fetch you even more value than the regular one. Launched in 1954, this notorious print is dubbed “The Devil's Face” bill due to some people thinking that the Queen's hair depicted looked sort of like a devil's face. They were taken out of circulation but a few still remain in Canada. We paid $3,500.00 for the 1954 Bank of Canada $1 Devil’s Face Asterisk note pictured below – which is not too shabby! 

Old Canadian Bank Note

Even more interesting is that the Devil's Face replacement bank notes are themselves a worth a pretty penny – so to speak. According to some specialists, the 1954 run of these notes can be worth as much as $7,000 (for the $20 bill) and as low as $3,000 (for the $1 bill). Talk about a valuable find for notes that don't even contain a devil's face!

Do You Have Any Valuable Old Canadian Money on Your Hands?

If you have any of the following bills, they are more than likely worth more than their face value:

Bank of Canada (anything issued in print runs 1954, 1937, or 1935)

  • All Dominion of Canada
  • All The Royal Bank
  • All Bank of Montreal
  • All Bank of Toronto
  • All Bank of Nova Scotia
  • All Imperial Bank of Canada
  • All Union Bank of Canada
  • All Canadian Bank of Commerce
  • All Molson Bank of Canada
  • All United States Silver Certificates
  • All United States Bank Notes
  • World notes dated 1950 and earlier

And many more, including this 1935 Bank of Canada $1 note which we paid $575.00 for:

Old Canadian Bank Note

As well as this 1934 Imperial Bank of Canada $5 bill worth $180:

Old Canadian Bank Note

How to Determine the Worth of Your Old Dollar Bills 

When you discover an old collection of money whether it be yours or handed down from a relative, the common question that people ask themselves is “how much is this worth?” Sure, an old 2 dollar Canadian bill looks cool – but how much money can you actually get for that old paper money? 

There are a few factors that go into determining if your old money is really worth anything. 

Rarity: How many of these banknotes are still in circulation? Do your research – if 1000 other people have the same old dollar bill than you, chances that it’s not worth as much as if you have a bill that’s only had a handful of printings.

Quality: A rare Canadian 1 dollar bill may be worth big bucks, but if it rips into two, its value is cut in half too. If you suspect that your old paper money is worth something, it’s important to protect it – keep it in a binder, in a plastic sleeve etc so that you can preserve it and protect it from any damage.

The quality of bills is usually rated on a spectrum: Good, Very Good, Fine, Very Fine, Extremely Fine, About Uncirculated and Uncirculated. The higher the quality, the more it’s worth!

Going Rate: A good way to assess how much your paper money is worth is to see what others are selling it for either in-store or online. If most online sellers are pricing it at the same price point, that’s a good indication of its current value. 

Dig Up Your Old Canadian Money Today! 

The next time you find yourself wondering are old bills worth anything just remember these examples of Canadian banknotes that were (and weren’t) found to be valuable. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, or if you have any questions, then drop by our store and bring in your old Canadian money for a free evaluation. Our experts will make sure you’re getting the most value for your old bills. 

Interested in selling gold in Toronto? We also evaluate and buy your gold coins, bullion, and jewellery, all at unrivalled prices. All evaluations are done right in front of you with testing methods that measure precious metal content as well as purity. Prices are determined on what we find as well as the current market value which we display openly on our website.

The next time you’re clearing out your drawers and closets of old bills and coins, be sure to bring your collection to Muzeum so that we can take a look and see whether you actually have a rare find on your hands.

Wondering what your paper money, coins or gold are worth? Send an e-mail with pictures to info@muzeum.ca or give us a call at 1-800-746-0902.


10 Responses

Derek Hall
Derek Hall

January 18, 2018

Hi, I have a 1954 Canada $1 bill and has Ottowa 1954 on it as well, and I think its one with the devils head, also in perfect condition, Would this be worth anything??? Thank you!!

Lesia
Lesia

January 15, 2018

Is the 1937 King George $20 bill worth anything?

Avril
Avril

January 10, 2018

I received an 1986 $5 note from a store as change after I purchased something. I went online to see how much it is worth but the prefix numbers given on the website are different to the prefix numbers on my note for the signatures on the note. My note was signed by Thiessen and J.W. Crow but the prefix starts with GNF, does this mean that it is a fake?

Mike
Mike

January 04, 2018

Wondering if my 1937 1$ bill is worth anything
Gordon and towers narrow top VF condition
Indexed M/M

colleen
colleen

November 24, 2017

is a $20.00 1954 worth anything ?

Poonam
Poonam

November 23, 2017

I have one $1 with Devil’s face in excellent condition as I am very careful with old money. Can you tell me how much is it’s worth.

Daniel Thomas Kostuch
Daniel Thomas Kostuch

November 14, 2017

I have a $20 bill from 1979 how much is it worth

Carol
Carol

November 06, 2017

I have a 1954 10.00 bill with the Devils face it has some folds in it and a counting mark with a circle like they used to do at stores for keeping track of how much you have in a bunch its signature is like the one on the thousand dollar bill the serial number is D over D 7525729 can you give me a price that I could expect to get for it thank you

Shirley Rojas
Shirley Rojas

August 30, 2017

I have a $20, $10, $5 and a $1 all from 1954. Excellent mint condition as I am careful with old money. No folds, crease, stain or torn corners.

Goly
Goly

July 24, 2017

I have $10 Bill

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