Why Your $20 Bill Could Be Worth Thousands
Life + Money

Why Your $20 Bill Could Be Worth Thousands


Your money could be worth more than you think, thanks to eight tiny numbers.

Most people don't even notice the serial number printed on their dollars. But currency collectors do—and some are willing to pay big bucks for an especially unusual number.

"Fancy" serial numbers can go for tens of thousands of dollars--depending on how rare the combination is.

"If you look at a dollar bill, the number can just jump out at you," Dave Undis, founder of CoolSerialNumbers.com, a website that buys, sells and trades fancy serial numbers, told The Boston Globe. "You see something like a super radar, and your head says you just gotta have it."

Common fancy numbers are often very low numbers like those found on newly released notes.

For example, the new $100 –to be released on Oct 8.--will have a serial number of 00000001 that, experts estimate, could go for $10,000 to $15,000.

But aside from low numbers, there are a variety of different combinations coveted by currency collectors.

Undis breaks down the different categories that makes serial number "fancy" on his website.


Solid numbers, for example, are made of the same digits- like 88888888—and can go for an upwards of $3,000. Then there are "ladders," or numbers going in sequence like 12345678. These can go for as much as $1,300. A "radar" is a palindrome, like 35299253, those only go for $20-40, and "repeaters" are notes with two blocks of the same four digits, like 41884188. 

Serious money mavens can buy sets of fancy serial numbers for thousands of dollars on websites like CoolSerialNumbers.com. For example, one three note set totaling $35 with the serial number K00000000A is priced at $16,500. And another set of nine $5 bills with serial numbers #E00000011 through #E000000099 is selling for $1,800.