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What is the worlds rarest dollar bill?

10 Rarest Types of Dollar Bills

Money is a fickle thing. Save enough and you’ll be rich, but then it becomes worthless sitting in a bank. Spend it all and give it worth, but also have nothing left to fall back on. The only straightforward thing about money, it seems, are the values listed on it. You can say with confidence that a one dollar bill is worth less than a $20 one. Or, can you? As it turns out, the serial number on a dollar bill can be the difference between a buck and $7,000. At their most basic, the randomly selected pattern of eight numbers and two letters on a banknote serves as a way to track the dollar from production to circulation. For collectors, these serial numbers can enhance the value of any tender, given that they have the right pattern. Read the list below to discover the rarest serial numbers that give a real bang for your buck.

Odds of finding one: 1 in 8,749
Number of occurrences in 9,999,999 run: 11,430
Worth: $10 – $50

Binary Dollar Bill
photo source: Flappity via

Binary serial numbers consist exclusively of the numbers one and zero. The value of a binary dollar depends on the pattern, with some collectors seeking particular combinations over others. In total, all binary dollars are worth some amount of money as they are generally rare. Some collectors consider two repeated numbers that are not one and zero to be binary as well, but most define these dollars as “repeaters.”

Did you know

Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase was the first person whose visage was on the paper dollar.

Odds of finding one: 1 in 10,010
Number of occurrences in 9,999,999 run: 9,990
Worth: about $100

photo source:

A repeater is fairly self explanatory. It describes a note that has a serial number with any sort of repetitive pattern. These patterns can include any kind of numbers in any sort of arrangement, as long as they meet the basic qualifications. As a result, repeater notes aren’t worth very much because, although rare, they are a lot easier to come by. With that said, they’re still considered collectibles.

Did you know

The dollar sign was developed in 1785 based on the Spanish American version of the sign for pesos, which was a P with a tiny s next to it.

Odds of finding one: 1 in 10,010
Number of occurrences in 9,999,999 run: 9,990
Worth: about $25, but could be more

photo source:

A radar is a note with a serial number that reads the same backwards and forwards; it’s a numerical palindrome, so to speak. The term radar itself is also a palindrome, hence the name. While it only shows up once every 10,000 times, collectors don’t consider it rare in comparison to other serial patterns. However, radars were less common pre-1958 so a radar bill dated from that time might be worth a bit more. In general, seek out radars with other interesting elements to get more money from collectors and auctions

Did you know

The Massachusetts Bay Colony was one of the first groups in America to use paper dollars. Several other colonies followed suit and the British government imposed restrictions on such notes.

Odds of finding one: 1 in 138,889
Number of occurrences in 9,999,999 run: 720
Worth: up to $500

Seven-of-a-Kind Dollar Bill
photo source: Virtualnetwork via Ebay

A seven-of-a-kind serial number has seven numbers repeated. It is significantly rarer than the 01 binary with only 0.7 percent of dollar bills with this pattern. Five-of-a-kind dollar bills are also worth some money, but significantly less at only around $20 to $30. The number seven is considered lucky in several cultures and religions, which could also play a role in its value.

Did you know

The number seven comes up in Christianity, Confucianism and the Quran.

Odds of finding one: 1 in 555,556
Number of occurrences in 9,999,999 run: 180
Worth: About $200

photo source: Worthopedia

In contrast to a dollar with a seven-of-a-kind serial number, seven-in-a-row must have a repeated number without any breaks. So, for example, instead of 77717777, it would have the one either at the beginning or end of the series. Since serial numbers are determined randomly, the likelihood of finding a dollar bill with seven of the same numbers all in order is quite low. One seller managed to impress even further, finding a twenty dollar bill with seven sevens all in a row.

Did you know

Paper money isn’t made from paper at all, but a fabric blend of cotton and linen.

Odds of finding one: 1 in 1,111,111
Number of occurrences in 9,999,999 run: 90
Worth: Inconclusive

Double Quad
photo source:

With the double quad, the dollar bill enters more patterned territory. Unlike a binary serial number, which can have two numbers in any random arrangement, a double quad has one number repeated at the beginning and a different number repeated at the end. Due to the specificity required for this particular serial number, double quads are extremely rare. The range in values for this type of dollar bill is astronomical with some Ebay sellers asking for $20 and others asking for $999.

Did you know

Almost half of the dollar bills made are worth one dollar.

Odds of finding one: 1 in 1,111,111
Number of occurrences in 9,999,999 run: 90
Worth: About $94

Radar Repeater
photo source:

A radar repeater is a combination of the radar and the repeater serial number combinations. In essence a radar repeater serial number has a pattern that’s repeated in the first four and last four digits. Examples include: 98899889, 72277227, etc. These could also double as binary dollar bills if the patterns involve one and zero.

Did you know

Martha Washington is the only woman to be featured on a US note. This might be changing, however, as the government pushes to replace Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.

Odds of finding one: 1 in 1,111,111
Number of occurrences in 9,999,999 run: 90
Worth: About $80

Super Radar
photo source:

The super radar is a subcategory of the radar. In this pattern, the first and last digits match and sandwich six repeating and/or patterned numbers. For example, 20000002 and 8455548 are both super radars. Interestingly, you have a similar chance of finding this type of bill as you do a radar repeater and a double quad. This shows a possible pattern within patterned serial numbers.

Did you know

The penny is the only coin where the figure, in this case, President Abraham Lincoln, faces right.

Odds of finding one: 1,111,111
Number of occurrences in 9,999,999 run: 90
Worth: About $100

Super Repeater
photo source: Thomasodel8l4-4 via Ebay

In a super repeater, the first two digits in a serial number are repeated throughout the sequence. Super repeaters, like most repeaters, range a lot in value. Some repeaters aren’t worth much, while others can cost hundreds of dollars. This shows that, although rare, these kinds of dollars are still not the rarest possible. Either way, though, they’re definitely more valuable than their intended price!

Did you know

There are approximately 38 million bills printed each day. Some of these add to the money currently in circulation while others replace worn out dollars that are no longer viable.

Odds of finding one: 9
Number of occurrences in 9,999,999 run: 1 in 11,111,111
Worth: $500, but can go into the thousands

photo source: Happyalways4 via Ebay

Solid serial numbers are extremely rare and cost at least $500. A dollar with a solid pattern has the same number repeated in the serial number. Their value increases as the number does. So, for example, a solid serial number of nines is more valuable than one with repeated twos. In fact, solid nines are the most valuable version of the solid because modern serial printing only goes up to 96000000. A buyer might pay even more if the letters in the serial number match as well.

Did you know

Before currency was established and run through the federal government, American banks had the right to create, design and produce their own tenders. As a result, there were about 7,000 unique notes in circulation.

Odds of finding one: 1 in 16,666,667
Number of occurrences in 9,999,999 run: 6/1
Worth: $5,000 +

photo source:

The ladder dollar bill is the rarest dollar ever. There are two categories within the ladder serial number because a true ladder is so rare, only occurring once in every 96 million notes. A ladder is a serial number that follows the standard numerical pattern of one through eight. A true ladder is 12345678 and, as noted, difficult to find. Variations of the ladder pattern include numbers in order that don’t start with one such as, 00123456 or 034567. Additionally, ladders can be backwards so the numbers are in reverse order. Both of these variations are more common and less valuable than the real thing.

Did you know

There are also “scattered” ladders in which the numbers from a series are jumbled. While these might be worth more than the bill they’re on, most collectors don’t consider them on par with true or reverse ladders.

Alvin Goodley

Head of Content at

United States two-dollar bill

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The United States two-dollar bill ($2) is a current denomination of United States currency. A portrait of Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States (1801–1809), is featured on the obverse of the note. The reverse features an engraving of the circa 1818 painting Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull.

Throughout the $2 bill’s pre-1929 life as a large-sized note, it was issued as a United States Note, National Bank Note, Silver Certificate, Treasury or «Coin» Note, and Federal Reserve Bank Note. When U.S. currency was changed to its current size in 1928, the $2 bill was redesigned and issued only as a United States Note. Production continued until 1966 ( 1967 ) , when United States Notes were phased out, and the $2 denomination was discontinued until 1976, when it was reissued as a Federal Reserve Note with a new reverse design.

As a result of banking policies with businesses that have resulted in low production numbers due to lack of use, two-dollar bills do not circulate as widely as other denominations of U.S. currency. This comparative scarcity in circulation, coupled with a lack of public knowledge that the bill is still in production and circulation, has also inspired urban legends about its authenticity and value and has occasionally created problems for those trying to use the bill to make purchases. The apparent scarcity of the $2 bill, in spite of its production figures, also indicates that large numbers of the notes are removed from circulation and collected by many people who believe the bill to be rarer and more valuable than it actually is. [3]

Denomination overview [ edit ]

Authorized under an act by the United States Congress, the first two-dollar bill was issued in March 1862 [4] and the denomination was continuously used until 1966; by that time, the United States Note was the only remaining class of U.S. currency to which the two-dollar bill was assigned. In August 1966, the Treasury Department discontinued production of the $2 and $5 denominations of United States Notes. While the $5 denomination had been issued simultaneously as a Federal Reserve Note, a United States Note and a Silver Certificate, the $2 denomination was not immediately reassigned to the Federal Reserve Note class of United States currency, thus was fully discontinued. The Treasury cited low usage of the two-dollar bill as the reason for not immediately resuming use of the denomination. Production of the two-dollar denomination was resumed in December, 1975, and the two-dollar bill was finally reissued in the spring of 1976 as a Federal Reserve Note with a new reverse design featuring John Trumbull’s depiction of the drafting of the United States Declaration of Independence, replacing the previous design of Monticello. The two-dollar note has remained a current denomination of U.S. currency since that time. [5] As estimated at the time, if two-dollar notes replaced about half of the one-dollar notes in circulation, the federal government would be able to save about $26 million in 1976 dollars ( $124 million adjusted for inflation) [6] over the period from 1976 to 1981, due to reduced production, storage, and shipping costs. [7]

However, due to their limited use, two-dollar notes are not printed as frequently in a new series as other denominations, which are produced according to demand. [8] Most bill acceptors found in vending machines, self checkout lanes, transit systems, and other automated kiosks are configured to accommodate two-dollar bills, even if the fact is not stated on the label. [9] Although they are generally available at most banks, two-dollar notes are usually not handed out except upon specific request by the customer, and may require the teller to make a trip to the vault, or order the desired amount if not present at the branch. [10]

Rarity [ edit ]

Printing $2 bills is half as expensive for the government as printing $1 notes, since they both cost the same amount (6.2 cents per bill) to manufacture, [11] but the public has not circulated them as widely. During the Great Depression, few Americans had enough money to require $2 notes. In the middle of the 20th century, $2 bills were often used for betting on horse racing, tips at strip clubs, and allegedly for bribery when politicians were seeking votes (though this is possibly an urban legend), and supposedly acquired a negative reputation. During World War II and later, US servicemen were frequently paid with $2 bills, and as a result, the notes often were used at USO clubs, post exchanges, commissaries, and canteens. [12] Many people believe that the 1976 series $2 note with its unusual reverse design was a special, limited issue produced for the United States Bicentennial; this, combined with the earlier discontinuation of the denomination, gave the impression these notes might be valuable as collector’s items, and contributed to hoarding. Today, the general public is still largely unfamiliar with the notes because they are not widely circulated and continue to be hoarded. [13]

The common misconception that the $2 note is no longer being produced also remains, [14] though $2 notes have been printed since 1862, except for a 10-year hiatus between 1966 and 1976. The U.S. Treasury reports that $1,549,052,714 worth of $2 bills were in circulation worldwide as of April 30, 2007. [14]

Unusual serial numbers (example: A11111111A) and replacement notes (known by collectors as «star notes» and designated by a star in the serial number) can raise the collector value of some bills. «Collectible» or «enhanced» two-dollar bills, commemorating America’s national parks and other places, people, and events, have been made and sold by coin dealers and others in recent years merely by adding color, special graphics or color printed plastic overlays onto regular-issue $2 notes by using computer printers. The creators and marketers of many of these notes unscrupulously imply that they are authorized or issued by the federal government; however, no «collectible» or «enhanced» two-dollar bills have been authorized by the United States Treasury, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, nor any other government agency and the bills have no value above their $2 face on the collectors’ market. [15]

Certain conventions and tourism/convention bureaus capitalize on the scarcity of $2 notes in circulation, encouraging convention attendees and tourists to spend the bills to illustrate to the host communities the economic impact that the conventions and tourism bring. Sometimes known as «SpendTom» campaigns, the $2 bills linger in the community as a constant reminder. Some campaigns encourage people to participate in a hunt for the bills to win prizes. [16]

History [ edit ]

Large-sized notes [ edit ]

( approximately 7.4218 in × 3.125 in ≅ 189 mm × 79 mm )

In March 1862, the first $2 bill was issued as a Legal Tender Note (United States Note) with a portrait of Alexander Hamilton; the portrait of Hamilton used was a profile view, different from the familiar portrait in use on the small-sized $10 bill since 1928.

By 1869, the $2 United States Note was redesigned with the now-familiar portrait of Thomas Jefferson to the left and a vignette of the United States Capitol in the center of the obverse. This note also featured green tinting on the top and left side of the obverse. Although this note is technically a United States Note, TREASURY NOTE appeared on it instead of UNITED STATES NOTE . The reverse was completely redesigned. This series was again revised in 1874; changes on the obverse included removing the green tinting, adding a red floral design around WASHINGTON D.C. , and changing the term TREASURY NOTE to UNITED STATES NOTE . The 1874 design was also issued as Series of 1875 and 1878, and by 1880, the red floral design around WASHINGTON D.C. on the United States Note was removed and the serial numbers were changed to blue. This note with the red floral design was also issued as Series of 1917 but with red serial numbers by that time. [17]

National Bank Notes were issued in 1875 and feature a woman unfurling a flag and a large sideways ‘2’ («Lazy Duce») on the obverse. The reverse has the king of England smoking tobacco and an eagle with a shield. [18] In 1886, the first $2 silver certificate with a portrait of United States Civil War General Winfield Scott Hancock on the left of the obverse was issued. This design continued until 1891 when a new $2 Silver Certificate was issued with a portrait of U.S. Treasury Secretary William Windom in the center of the obverse. [19] Two-dollar Treasury, or «Coin», Notes were first issued for government purchases of silver bullion in 1890 from the silver mining industry. The reverse featured large wording of TWO in the center and a numeral 2 to the right surrounded by an ornate design that occupied almost the entire note. In 1891, the reverse of the Series of 1890 Treasury Note was redesigned because the treasury felt that it was too «busy», making it too easy to counterfeit. More open space was incorporated into the new design. [20]

In 1896, the «Educational Series» Silver Certificate was issued. The entire obverse of the note was covered in artwork with an allegorical figure of science presenting steam and electricity to commerce and manufacture. The reverse of the note featured portraits of Robert Fulton and Samuel F. B. Morse surrounded by an ornate design that occupied almost the entire note. By 1899, however, The $2 Silver Certificate was redesigned with a small portrait of George Washington surrounded by allegorical figures representing agriculture and mechanics. [21] Large-sized Federal Reserve Bank Notes were issued in 1918. Each note was an obligation of the issuing Federal Reserve Bank and could only be redeemed at the corresponding bank. The obverse of the note featured a borderless portrait of Thomas Jefferson to left and wording in the entire center. The reverse featured a World War I battleship. [22]

The Infamous Two-Dollar Bill

two dollar bill

In honor of Two’s Day, we encourage you to spend a $2 bill, also known as a «Tom!» While the $2 bill is in circulation today, it has always been somewhat scarce. Therefore, presenting a $2 bill for payment may elicit confusion, nostalgia, or even a smile or happy story!

Fun Facts about the Two-Dollar Bill

  • Nicknamed the “Tom” because they feature Thomas Jefferson’s portrait on the face
  • Has been linked in the past to bribery, election rigging, gambling, prostitution, and bad luck in general
  • Used by Clemson University, Geneva Steel, and 2nd Amendment proponents
  • Originally printed between 1862 – 1966, then printing resumed in 1976 for the Bicentennial
  • Printing $2 bills is twice as cost-effective as printing $1 notes
  • Are still in circulation today and occasionally printed

Timeline and Use

Front and back of two dollar bill - 1914 battleship, 1963 monticello, and 1976 bicentennial

In 1862, the Federal Government began printing the very first paper bills which included the two-dollar bill. Paper money took a while to catch on, as coin was the preferred currency at the time. Considering that at the turn of the century most Americans were earning less than $15 per month, a $2 bill was a large bill at that time.

Even after inflation began to bring the value of paper money down, most people preferred to use coins. From 1929 to 1941, the country experienced the longest and deepest economic downturn to date, the Great Depression. During that time, most goods and services were less than a dollar, making paper currency impractical to use.

As need and use declined over the years, the Federal Reserve stopped printing $2 bills in 1966. Ten years later, in 1976, the Federal Reserve brought back the $2-dollar bill with a new and beautiful picture depicting the presentation of the Declaration of Independence to the Continental Congress on the back of the bill. Thomas Jefferson was one of the men credited with penning the Declaration, therefore the image on the back of the new bill was very fitting. They thought the reprinting should increase the use and interest in the bill, but it had the opposite effect. Many Americans thought the newly designed bill, which was produced for the United States Bicentennial, was going to be a special printing; therefore, the bills were saved as collectors’ items – tucked away in safe deposit boxes, drawers, and keepsake boxes, for a hope of future value.

The Dirty “Tom”

One of the reasons the $2 bill was never widely circulated is thought to be due to its negative reputation.

The poor “Tom” couldn’t catch a break! The public didn’t want to use these bills, so the Federal Reserve found a way to recover the cost of printing. From World War II until at least the 1980s, you could find sweet old “Tom” getting a workout in Military pay envelopes, USOs, Post Exchanges, commissaries, and wherever you find soldiers.

Clemson University $2 Dollar Bill Tradition and “SpendTom” Campaigns

Clemson University two dollar bill with orange tiger paw stamp

For many years, Clemson University Tigers and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets had a football rivalry, playing annually in Atlanta, on the Yellow Jacket’s home turf. In 1977, Georgia Tech threatened to stop playing Clemson University. That year, Clemson University’s Athletic Fundraising Organization, called IPTAY, urged fans who made their way to Atlanta for the Tigers game to use $2 bills. The goal was to show local merchants, such as hotels and restaurants, what an impact the Clemson Tigers had on the local economy. The executive secretary of IPTAY, George Bennett, urged fans to use these rare bills for every expenditure. While the exact impact Tigers fans had on Atlanta’s economy that weekend in 1977 is unknown, the tradition was born. To this day, some Clemson fans still stock up on $2 bills, some stamped with tiger paws, when they head to an opponent’s town to let everyone know that the Tigers are in town. Learn more at

This tradition is not unique to the Clemson Tigers. Some conventions and tourism bureaus also leverage the scarcity of $2 bills. By urging attendees and tourists to spend rare bills during their visits, they can illustrate the economic impact such activities have on their host communities. These types of campaigns are known as “SpendTom” campaigns.

Similarly, Geneva Steel used the $2 bill to show their economic impact by paying their employees’ bonuses with $2 bills in 1989.

Proponents of 2nd Amendment rights often use the rarely seen bills to show their support for the law.

A $2 Dollar Love Story

Originally printed in The New York Times is the Story of Myrta Gschaar and her husband, Robert. In 1980, and with a very small income, Robert couldn’t afford an engagement ring, so he and his bride-to-be exchanged $2.00 bills. They folded the bills and kept them in their wallets to remember each other’s commitment before their marriage.

Years later, Robert was a victim of the September 11 attacks. Four years after the attack, Robert’s remains had yet to be recovered. The Special Property recovery unit at the Police Department notified Mrs. Gschaar that it had recovered remains at ground zero, including a wedding ring and a wallet containing a neatly folded $2.00 bill.

Get Yours!

While the $2 dollar bill has quite an interesting past, it is still in circulation and is occasionally printed. Visit one of CNB’s area branch locations today and ask for $2 bills in your change! Be sure to let your teller know if you plan to spend it or hold onto it as a keepsake. Happy Two’s Day from CNB!

About the Author

Mary Piles historian and archivist at CNB St. Louis Bank in front of bank vault

Mary Piles is the Historian and Archivist at CNB St. Louis Bank. Mary has worked at the bank since 1977 and has held a variety of roles in her 40+ years of loyal service. Piles currently serves as the receptionist at our main branch in Maplewood, MO. She was appointed as the Bank’s Historian and Archivist in 2020, and since has been working diligently to research and preserve the Bank’s rich history. Learn more about the Bank’s 100+ year history here.

  • 2-72 What the Deuce? (2015, September 24). Retrieved from College of Curiosity:
  • Andres, T. (2015, January 9). Why are there so few $2 bills? Retrieved from Marketplace:
  • Bennardo, J. (2020, April 24). The Two Dollar Bill Documentary. Retrieved from YouTube:
  • Clemson University. (2022, February 15). The $2 Dollar Bill Tradition. Retrieved from Clemson Tigers:
  • The New York Times. (2014, April 1). Years After 9/11, Items Returned. Retrieved from The New York Times:
  • Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (2022, 02 15). Geneva Steel. Retrieved from Wikipedia:
  • Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (2022, February 15).United States two-dollar bill. Retrieved from Wikipedia:
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