7 $100 Bills Worth Money: Are You Sitting on a Fortune?

Imagine this: you’re sifting through a stack of old birthday cards from Grandma and, tucked between the pages, you find a crisp $100 bill. Exciting, right? But what if I told you that $100 bill could be worth thousands, or even tens of thousands, of dollars? It’s safe to say that $100 bills worth money are, naturally, a hot property.

In this blog post, I’m going to show you how to spot $100 bills that are worth way more than their face value. Whether it’s rarity, condition, or unique serial numbers, certain hundred-dollar bills can bring in big bucks. 

And, as I’m sure you’ve come to expect, there’s a video too: 

$100 Bills Worth Money: What Makes them Valuable? 

Finding a valuable $100 bill can be an exhilarating experience. Take, for example, the story of a lucky lottery winner who, upon receiving their prize money, discovered a rare bill worth thousands.  

Or consider the countless anecdotes of collectors who have stumbled upon treasure troves of valuable currency hidden in plain sight. These stories highlight the thrill and potential windfall that comes with identifying valuable bills. 

Criteria for Value 

To understand what makes a $100 bill more valuable than its face value, you need to know the three main criteria: 

Rarity  

The fewer bills printed in a given year or series, the more desirable the bill becomes. 

Condition 

A bill that looks crisp, new, and pristine is far more valuable than one that appears worn and torn. 

Unique or Fancy Serial Numbers 

 Serial numbers can significantly increase a bill’s value. Numbers that form patterns, repeat, or are otherwise unique are highly sought after by collectors. 

The Hall of Fame: Seven $100 Bills Worth Money 

Now that we understand the criteria that make $100 bills valuable, let’s take a look at seven specific examples of $100 bills that have fetched eye-popping prices at auction. These bills didn’t just exceed their face value; they blew it out of the water, often by tens of thousands of dollars. 

1. The Exquisite Condition Binary Radar Note 

Our first bill combines two critical criteria: condition and a fancy serial number. Graded a 65 EPQ (Exceptional Paper Quality) out of 70, this bill is in near-perfect condition. What truly sets it apart is its serial number, a binary radar note.  

Binary radar $100 bill

This means it uses only two digits (1s and 0s) and reads the same forwards and backwards, like a palindrome. This combination made it sell for an astonishing $4,320 at Heritage Auctions. Imagine turning a 2006 $100 bill into over 40 times its face value! 

$100 bills worth money

2. The 2013 Ladder Note 

Next up is a bill from the 2013 series, which you might still find in circulation today. This bill, graded a 66 out of 70, features a “ladder” serial number where the digits are in ascending order: 12345678. 

Ladder note $100 bill

 This striking pattern made it worth $4,560. Always keep an eye out for those orderly sequences! 

2013 ladder $100 bills worth money

3. The Solid Serial Number Note 

The third bill is known for its solid serial number, where all digits are the same. For example, a serial number like 88888888 is not only visually appealing but extremely rare.  

$100 bill solid serial number

This particular bill sold for $5,640, making it well worth checking your cash for such unique sequences. 

serial number $100 bills worth money

4. The Specimen Note 

Our fourth example combines all three criteria: rarity, condition, and a fancy serial number, albeit in a unique way. This bill, graded a remarkable 68 out of 70, has an ascending ladder serial number starting from 2 and ending at 9. What makes it even more special is the red “specimen” stamp, indicating it was used as a sample by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.  

100 dollar bill specimen

Specimen notes are rare because they were never intended for general circulation. This rarity boosted its value to over $7,000. 

100 dollar bill specimen value

5. The Serial Number One Note 

This 2013 bill is exceptional due to its serial number: it’s the very first bill in its series, marked with the serial number “1.”  

100 dollar bill - "1" serial number

Even though such bills are printed every year, each series only has one bill with this number, making it incredibly rare. This rarity helped it sell for a whopping $15,600. 

100 dollar bill "1" serial number value

6. The 1934 Star Note 

The sixth bill is a star note from 1934. Star notes are replacements for misprinted or damaged bills and are marked with a star next to the serial number.  

$100 star note

This bill, although ungraded, is in excellent condition and combines its rarity with historical significance, fetching $19,550. 

$100 star note value

7. The 1928 Philadelphia Federal Reserve Note

Finally, we have the oldest and rarest note on our list, a 1928 Philadelphia Federal Reserve note in spectacular condition. Its rarity and pristine state made it a collector’s dream, and it sold at auction for an incredible $28,200. This example shows that even older bills can still be found in excellent condition and be highly valuable. 

$100 bills worth money

Each of these examples demonstrates how $100 bills can become treasures worth far more than their face value. By understanding and identifying the criteria of rarity, condition, and unique serial numbers, you might just discover a hidden gem in your wallet. 

Beyond the Obvious: Additional Value Factors 

While rarity, condition, and unique serial numbers are the primary criteria that determine a $100 bill’s value, there are other factors that can also increase its worth. Understanding these additional aspects can help you become a more savvy collector and potentially uncover even more valuable $100 bills worth money.

Bills from historically significant periods or events can carry added value. For example, currency issued during wartime, economic crises, or major political changes can be more valuable to collectors. These bills serve as tangible pieces of history, providing context and connection to the past. 

Historical Significance 

Printing Errors 

Printing errors can make a bill extremely valuable. These errors include misalignments, incorrect serial numbers, missing elements, or overprints. Collectors find these anomalies fascinating, as they are rare and often unique. For instance, a $100 bill with a double-printed serial number or a missing seal could be worth significantly more than its face value. 

Star Notes 

As mentioned earlier, star notes are replacements for misprinted or damaged bills and are identified by a star symbol next to the serial number. These notes are generally rarer than standard bills, especially in high denominations like the $100 bill. Collectors prize star notes for their scarcity and the unique story they tell about the printing process. 

Misprinted Serial Numbers 

Serial numbers that contain errors, such as mismatched numbers or sequences that deviate from the norm, can also be valuable. Collectors are particularly interested in these bills because they are often one-of-a-kind errors that escaped the rigorous quality control process of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. 

Unique Signatures 

Currency signatures can vary based on the Treasurer of the United States and the Secretary of the Treasury at the time of printing. Bills with signatures from notable or less common officials can attract interest from collectors. For example, a bill signed by a short-term or historically significant official may hold additional value. 

Federal Reserve Bank Designations 

Each bill is marked with a Federal Reserve Bank designation, indicated by a letter and corresponding number. Some designations are less common than others, making bills from those banks more desirable. For instance, bills from the Dallas or San Francisco Federal Reserve Banks might be less common than those from New York or Chicago, adding an element of rarity. 

By paying attention to these additional value factors, you can enhance your ability to identify valuable $100 bills. Collectors often seek out these nuances, and having knowledge of them can give you an edge in the competitive world of currency collecting.  

Keep an eye out for historical significance, printing errors, star notes, misprinted serial numbers, unique signatures, and rare Federal Reserve Bank designations to maximize your potential finds. 

Finding Your Fortune: Discovering Valuable $100 Bills 

Now that you know what makes certain $100 bills valuable, it’s time to learn how you can find these treasures in your own wallet or through other means. Here are some effective strategies for discovering valuable $100 bills. 

Bank Strap Searching 

One of the most effective methods for finding valuable bills is bank strap searching. This involves withdrawing a large number of $100 bills from your bank, carefully examining them for the criteria we discussed (rarity, condition, unique serial numbers), and then redepositing the ones that aren’t valuable. Here’s how to do it: 

Withdraw Cash 

Visit your bank and withdraw a substantial amount of $100 bills, preferably in a fresh stack

Examine Each Bill 

Carefully look through each bill for signs of rarity, excellent condition, and unique serial numbers. 

Set Aside Valuable Bills 

If you find any bills that meet the criteria, set them aside for further evaluation. 

Redeposit the Rest 

Deposit the remaining bills back into your account to minimize risk and maintain your liquidity. 

This method allows you to potentially discover valuable bills without any financial risk since you’re simply recycling the cash through your bank account. 

Utilizing Online Auctions and Marketplaces 

Online platforms such as Whatnot provide excellent opportunities for collectors to find rare and valuable $100 bills. Whatnot is a live video auction platform where bidders and sellers interact in real-time, making it a dynamic and exciting way to discover collectibles. Here’s how you can make the most of it: 

Download the Whatnot App 

Use my link to download the app and get $15 in credit. 

Explore Auctions 

Browse through the various auctions, focusing on currency, coins, and other collectibles. 

Participate in Live Auctions 

Engage with sellers and bid on items in real-time. Use your $15 credit to get started without any initial investment. 

Guide to Authentication and Grading 

Once you believe you’ve found a valuable $100 bill, the next step is to get it authenticated and graded. Professional grading services can provide a precise assessment of your bill’s condition and value. Here’s a quick guide: 

Research Reputable Grading Services 

Look for well-known and respected grading services like PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service) or PMG (Paper Money Guaranty). 

Submit Your Bill 

Follow the submission guidelines provided by the grading service. This typically involves filling out a form and securely shipping your bill. 

Receive Grading Results 

Once graded, you’ll receive a detailed report on your bill’s condition, along with an official grade. 

Understand the Grading Scale 

Familiarize yourself with the grading scale used by the service. For example, a grade of 65 EPQ means the bill is in exceptional paper quality, which is highly desirable. 

Authentication and grading not only validate your bill’s value but also make it more attractive to potential buyers, ensuring you get the best price if you decide to sell. 

Where to Buy & Sell $100 Bills Worth Money 

Finding and selling valuable $100 bills can be an exciting and profitable venture. Here’s a guide on where to buy and sell these prized collectibles. 

For a more detailed overview, check out my buying guide.

Where to Buy Valuable $100 Bills 

Auctions 

 Heritage Auctions: One of the premier auction houses specializing in currency. They regularly feature rare and valuable bills, providing detailed descriptions and professional grading. 

Stack’s Bowers Galleries: Another reputable auction house known for high-quality currency auctions. Their catalogs are rich with historical notes and unique serial numbers. 

Online Marketplaces 

 eBay: A popular platform where collectors and sellers list rare currency. Always check seller ratings and reviews before making a purchase. 

Whatnot: This live auction platform connects buyers and sellers in real-time, offering a dynamic and engaging way to acquire rare bills. Use the link whatnot.com/invite/silverpicker for a $15 credit. 

Currency Dealers 

Specialized Dealers: Many dealers focus exclusively on currency. Look for dealers with good reputations and memberships in professional organizations like the Professional Currency Dealers Association (PCDA). 

Collector Shows and Expos 

Coin and Currency Shows: Events like the American Numismatic Association (ANA) shows are excellent places to find rare bills. These shows bring together collectors, dealers, and experts in one place. 

Where to Sell Valuable $100 Bills 

Auctions 

Heritage Auctions: Selling through a reputable auction house like Heritage can attract serious collectors and competitive bidding. They handle all the marketing and auction details. 

Stack’s Bowers Galleries: Another excellent option for reaching a wide audience of collectors and achieving high sale prices. 

Online Marketplaces 

eBay: Selling on eBay allows you to reach a global audience. Ensure you provide high-quality images and detailed descriptions to attract buyers. 

Whatnot: Utilize Whatnot’s platform to auction your bills live. This interactive approach can generate excitement and higher bids. 

Currency Dealers 

Specialized Dealers: Selling directly to dealers can be a quick way to liquidate your valuable bills. Ensure you negotiate a fair price and consider getting multiple offers. 

Private Sales 

Collector Networks: Networking within collector communities can lead to private sales, often yielding better prices without the fees associated with auctions and marketplaces. 

Tips for Successful Transactions 

Authentication and Grading 

Ensure your bills are authenticated and graded by reputable services like PCGS or PMG. This adds credibility and can significantly increase their value. 

Research and Documentation 

Document the provenance and history of your bills, if possible. Buyers value well-documented items. 

High-Quality Images 

When listing your bills for sale, provide clear, high-resolution images. Highlight unique features and serial numbers. 

Detailed Descriptions 

Write comprehensive descriptions that include the bill’s condition, serial number details, and any special characteristics. 

By knowing where to buy and sell valuable $100 bills, you can make informed decisions and maximize your investment. Whether through auctions, online marketplaces, or direct sales, the key is to authenticate your bills and present them attractively to potential buyers.

Bottom Line: Are Old $100 Bills Worth Anything? 

We’ve explored various ways to buy and sell these valuable bills, from renowned auction houses and online marketplaces to specialized currency dealers and collector networks. Each method offers unique advantages, and choosing the right one depends on your specific needs and goals. 

So, check your wallet, dive into bank strap searches, and explore online auctions. Who knows? You might just uncover a hidden treasure worth thousands of dollars.  

 

 

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