How much is an old fifty dollar bill worth?
|Years: 1861, 1862, 1863 Type 1, 1863 Type 2, 1864, 1864 Compound, 1869, 1874, 1875, 1878 Legal, 1878 Silver, 1880 Legal, 1880 Silver, 1882 Gold, 1882 National, 1891 Silver, 1891 Treasury, 1902, 1913, 1914 Red, 1914 Blue, 1918, 1922, 1929|
|Types: Federal Reserve Bank Notes, Legal Tenders, Silver Certificates, Gold Certificates, Treasury Notes, & National Bank Notes|
|Denomination: Fifty Dollar Bill|
Value of Old Fifty Dollar Bills
When trying to figure the value of old $50 bills its important to at least understand some basic concepts. Before you sell your old currency, whether it’s to us or someone else, you want to educate yourself so you don’t get ripped off when selling your bills. It’s easy to get cheated, that’s why we put together this guide so the public can become more educated.
If you don’t want to spend the time reading this in-depth guide, contact us with clear images of your banknotes and we’ll respond to you within 24 hours.
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The first year the Federal Reserve Bank of United States printed $50 bills was in 1862. These $50 bills were called large size legal tender bills, and today they can be very valuable if their condition is good. This guide covers $50 bills from 1862 all the way up to 1923. Five dollar bills from 1923 are called Porthole notes, and their value starts at a few hundred for poor conditions and thousands for great conditions. In some instances, bills with rare serial numbers will make the bills worth a lot more. We wrote a whole guide on fancy serial numbers you can view here.
Different years may come with different serial number colors and seal types. Please contact us directly if you’re interested in knowing the value of your $50 bank note or if you are looking to sell.
Below is a table that gives relatively good estimates when it comes to determining the value of modern-type $50 bills today. Prices range anywhere from $50 to over $20,000. In rare instances, we’ve paid over $40,000 for unique national bank note $50 bills. It definitely does happen.
|Series||Seal||Average Condition||Unc||Unc Star|
|1929||Brown||$75 – $100||$200+||$400|
|1928||Gold||$100 – $250||$300+||$1,500+|
|1928||Green||$75 – $150||$500 – $600||$1,000+|
|1934,A,B,C,D||Green||$50 – $75||$225||$550+|
|1950,A,B,C,D||Green||$50 – $80||$150||$450|
|1950E||Green||$75 – $125||$250||$300|
|1963A||Green||$50 – $60||$200||N/A|
In this guide, you will:
Know how much an old $50 bill is worth, see pictures of what a real $50 looks like, know when the $50 bill was discontinued and taken out of circulation, where you can sell vintage $50 bills, and where you can purchase old $50 bills.
It’s clear that antique $50 bills can be worth more than a dollar, oftentimes much, much more. Condition matters when determining any collectible currencies’ value. The goal of this page is to help you figure out what you have in your collection, and how much its really worth.
We’ve been dealing and collecting with collectible paper money for over 25 years and consider ourselves to be the strongest buyers across the entire United States.
While we are particularly specialized in high denomination bank notes, ($500, $1,000, $5,000, & $10,000 … yes they exist!) we have a strong understanding of market values for all types of paper money. Whether your bill has a red seal (Legal Tender), blue seal (Silver Certificate), gold seal (Gold Certificate), or green seal (Federal Reserve Note) we are here to help make sure you become educated about high denomination paper money.
With all this being said, you may still be unsure of how to get started. We know from a fresh perspective these concepts and “currency lingo” can be a little intimidating at first, and that’s why we’ve created this guide.
Disclaimer: Do not fall victim to selling your valuable collection to a local pawn or coin shop that will rob for what your paper money is really worth. Contact a paper money expert before selling any currency you own.
Every $50 Bill
History of your $50 Bill
Before we begin, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the factors which determine the value of your $50 bill. To get the most money for your vintage fifty dollar bill, if you’re like me, you’ll want to educate yourself a little bit before. If you don’t want to spend the time, you can always send us a picture of your bill and we’ll give you an exact value.
On top of that, I’m a huge history nerd… I completely nerd-out when it comes to the history behind old paper money. I truly love what I do.
If you’ve seen the hit television show on the History Channel, Pawn Stars, then you may have seen an old fifty dollar bill like these before. We’ve been fortunate enough to work closely with this popular shop’s currency department for years now, buying and selling collectible paper money with them.
This guide doesn’t show every single $50 bill ever issued, simply because there are some exotic fifty dollar bills that don’t exist in public hands.
If you’re unsure what you have, feel free to contact us, we’re happy to tell you what you have.
The First United States $50 Bill
The first $50 bill ever printed was on September 26, 1778, during the Colonial Period. These don’t look like your typical Federal Reserve notes you will see today, with the green seal and nice black engraved ink. This was during the midst of the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783) so you can only imagine what stressors were being dealt with whilst printing paper money.
After colonial and continental currency came the Confederacy and their paper money bills. The first confederate $50 bill was printed by the U.S. in 1861 issued in Richmond, Virginia.
Interestingly enough, the Confederate States of America printed much higher denomination paper money before the $50 bill, in 1861.
After the Civil War, many people destroyed Confederate Currency because it essentially had no value. However, some people saved them, which is why they’re so scarce today. Old fifty dollar Confederate notes are relatively easy to obtain, especially in poor quality.
If you have something similar to what’s pictured above, your bill may be fake. Counterfeiters during the Confederacy were a dime-a-dozen. The ability to fake one of these bills was easy. A lot of what we see today is modern replica money.
Fake notes look pretty obviously fake, but we’ll get more into spotting fakes a bit later in this post. If you’re uncertain, contact us and we’ll tell you if your old $50 bill is real or fake.
The transition from Confederacy into the more organized U.S. Treasury system you can see security features were put into place to deter the low barrier of entry into counterfeiting.
The Federal Reserve printing period, which began in 1861, Congress authorized the issuance of $50 bills. There were two types of bills printed close to 1861 which were the $50 national bank notes, printed and delivered to individual national banks around the U.S. and also 1862 & 1863 $50 Legal Tender Notes.
The “original” series $50 national bank notes are quite unique and values can range dramatically depending upon which bank issued them.
If you want to find more information about national bank notes, see this informative page where we list over 13,000 banks across the United States.
In some instances, we’ve paid over $85,000 for an old $50 bill like the one pictured above. It really comes down to a number of factors like condition, serial number, type, and place of issue. Feel free to reach out to us if you are interested in selling your old currency
During this same time period, $50 legal tender bills were also printed. These bills are the closest to confederate notes as you’ll ever see.
The paper is thin, the security features are limited (see the red seal and green ink in the picture above to see what I’m talking about).
But this was a huge step in the right direction to deter counterfeiting and make it that much harder to accomplish.
Legal tender $50 bills from 1869, also known as Rainbow Notes, are some of my favorite bills to collect from the series, simply because they’re so attractive.
The Federal Reserve focused heavily on increasing its security features by adding multiple colors and also adding fibers and partially blue paper.
The reason these rainbow notes are so popular is simply due to their stunning color. The red, blue, and green are usually vibrant and make for an exceptional conversation piece.
These fifty dollar legal tender rainbow notes generally cost between $5,000 for decent condition and better condition for around $9,500. We’ve paid over $25,000 for especially high-grade examples of this note.
If you have a legal tender note and want a full price guide, check out this page we wrote for a more in-depth look.
The image above is a real Large Size antique $50 Silver Certificate bill. Between 1869 and 1880 there are multiple different types of $50 bills. Below I will list every type, but in this brief history breakdown, I decided to skip them for now.
As you can see above the $50 1880 dollar bill has a large brown seal at the center. A very similar design was printed in 1878, but 1880 was the final year you will see this silver certificate design type.
Next came the 1891 $50 Treasury “Seward” Note. This bill only comes with a small red seal. Treasury notes were only printed in 1890 and 1891, but the fifty was only printed in 1891.
Almost all large size currency bills from the 1800s have taken on a nickname in the collector community.
The 1891 Treasury notes have simply been nicknamed “Seward” notes due to the person on the bill. William Seward is the man at the center of the bill.
Fifty dollar silver certificates from 1891 are very popular among collectors. Virtually no fake $50 1891 notes exist, so the likelihood of you having a real bill is high. We would love to see what you have, please contact us by email or phone today.
The value of 1891 fifty dollar silver certificates is based solely upon condition. These bills are often worth $1,500. However, we have paid over $7,000 for higher-grade examples. The 1891 $50 has a large value spread determined by its condition.
Quick tip: silver certificates were once legal tender, meaning you could bring them to the bank and get silver in equal value. Fifty dollar notes, in better condition, have collector value and bring much more than their face value.
Old bills with unique serial numbers will bring a higher premium in the marketplace. Serial number 1 notes almost always cost more money to buy.
If you want to learn more about rare serial numbers, check out this page we wrote all fancy unique serial numbers.
If you don’t see your bill pictured above, make sure to scroll through to see the rest of the fifty dollar bills printed by the United States.
Find Your Old Fifty Dollar Bill
Is My Fifty Dollar Bill Fake?
Good news, I’ll start by saying your $50 bill is likely real. If it’s fake, it’s worth $0. We’ve handled literally tens of thousands of old vintage $50 bills.
We have seen nearly every single fake counterfeit $50 bill under the sun. For us, they are pretty easy to point out, even from images over a computer screen.
We have worked for and with some of the best counterfeit paper money detecting experts in the industry for decades.
While it may be second nature for us to spot them out, we wanted to take some time and put together this guide to help you spot fake $50 bills and better educate yourself.
If your $50 bill is any/all of the following, your bill is fake:
- It’s laminated
- It’s black/white
- It feels like printer paper
- It’s smaller than paper money today
- It’s much bigger than paper money today
This is also one of the main reasons why the United States stopped printing $50 dollar bills, they didn’t want people to counterfeit them. This goes for any country in the world today that still prints paper money.
Fifty dollar bills are some of the least counterfeited money in the world. Why fake a $50 bill when you can multiply and fake a $100? The idea is the bigger you make the money, the easier it is to transport large quantities without detection.
$50 bills from 1900 and earlier have a higher chance of being a forgery. If you need help please send us a picture and we’d gladly determine the authenticity of your old $50 bill.
Selling your $50 Bill
1. Snap a Photo
(Send us a clear photo of your paper money)
2. Get a Price
(We will make you an offer straight away!)
(We pay you!)
An old $50 bill has been given to you from a friend or passed down from a family member and you don’t really care to keep it. You’d much rather have money in your bank account.
The absolute worst thing you could do is bring your $50 bill to a local bank. They will give you its face value of $50. The reality is some antique fifty dollar bills can be with up to $75,000 or more.
Find a Paper Money Expert
Paper money experts are different than your typical local Pawn or Coin shop.
Most experts are collectors themselves and truly love the hobby as a whole. Almost all local shops are almost required to rip-off the people they’re buying from. They do it in order to pay for renting a big building and having multiple employees.
I’ve been collecting coins and paper money almost my entire life. I have a secured, private office where I deal only with certain customers after setting up an appointment. I don’t have a walk-in, public shop. We have low overhead costs which allow us to pay top dollar for old $50 dollar bill paper money. If you ever want to meet for a local deal, we are located in Bradenton, FL.
Safely Shipping your $50 Bill
We insure all packages that come in and go out of our office. If you follow our easy shipping and packing instructions and the package somehow gets lost in the mail, no worries, our insurance will cover it.
Payment is sent via PayPal or checks when you sell your $50 bills to us. Once we receive the package we verify the banknotes and send your payment the same or next day. We have satisfied thousands of customers who have shipped us their $50 bills.
We Buy Old Currency
There currently isn’t anyone who can offer more money for your old $50 bills than us. Why?
We don’t have to pay hundreds of employees like others. This allows us to pay you more money than anyone else. We want to buy your old paper money collections and I assure you’ll be satisfied dealing with us. We’ve made the process extremely simple, contact us today we’d love to chat.
Old Money Prices
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We get hundreds of frequently asked questions each week via calls, emails, and text messages.
Before contacting us, we wanted to answer any basic questions you have about your antique $50 bill.
If you don’t see your question below or are interested in selling your $50 note to us, feel free to contact us today.
Old $50 Bill Questions
Who Is Pictured On The $50 Bill?: It depends. Most fifty dollar bills, both large and small size currency, will have Ulysses S. Grant on them. However, some old $50 bills have Benjamin Franklin, Edward Everett, Henry Clay, or Allegorical Figures.
Why Don’t I See My $50 Bill In Your Price Guide?: Our price guide only shows the more common $50 bills that most people encounter. We aren’t including some $50 large size proof bills in this guide due to their extreme rarity.
If you have a fifty dollar bill that’s not pictured in our guide, we highly recommend sending us a picture of it. That is the only way we’re able to identify and determine its value for you.
What Is An Error $50 Bill Worth?: Misprinted, or error, $50 bills are extremely scarce and when they do appear, the errors are super minor. Some errors like inverted backs, meaning the back is upside down, or missing seals, missing serial numbers, inverted seals, inverted stars, these can all bring a large premium with currency collectors we deal with.
What Is A Fifty Dollar Bill Star Note?: In short, they’re $50 bills that have a star symbol instead of the letter A at the end of the serial number. These bills have a bigger premium over the regularly issued antique $50 bills. Star notes are scarce, especially from series 1928 and earlier
What Is The Most Common Large Size $50 Bill?: Large size $50 bills aren’t common, to begin with, but you are most likely to see 1922 $50 gold certificates and 1929 $50 brown seal national bank notes. The value of these can be as little as $55. Better graded examples can bring $750 or more. Contact us with a picture if you need help determining the value of your $50 bill.
How Much Does A $50 Bill Cost?: This is a tough question because we’ve paid $55 for some common fifty dollar bills. Some are only worth $50 if they’re in very poor condition. In very rare instances your $50 bill could be worth over $75,000. It depends upon multiple factors including condition, issuing district, eye appeal, market demand, scarce varieties, and more.
Can I Get An Old $50 Bill From The Bank?: Yes. The chances you get a red seal legal tender, blue seal silver certificate, or yellow seal gold certificate, is slim to none. The reason being most of these will catch a bank teller’s eye and they’ll get taken out of circulation.
How Do I Know My $50 Is Real?: We touched on forgery $50 bills earlier in the guide. Essentially there are multiple factors that help determine the authenticity of your $50 bill. To learn more, find the section above that talks more in-depth about counterfeit $50s.
Why Doesn’t The U.S. Print Large Size $50 Bills Anymore?: Large size paper money wasn’t practical to be printed and handled by consumers. Small size fifty dollar bills fit easily in your pockets and also used less paper and ink, which means less cost.
If you look at the paper money from around the world, you’ll see they’re leaps and bounds above the U.S. in terms of artwork and open-mindedness with their design.
What Do Counterfeit $50 Bills Look Like?: $50 bills that are black/white, laminated, smaller than typical paper money today, much larger than typical paper money today, are all going to be fake. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Please send us a picture if you want your $50 bill to be authenticated.
What Is The Most Expensive Fifty Dollar Bills?: There are only a few $50 bills that have sold for over $75,000 dollars. Keep your expectations low because the chance you have one of these bills is one in a million. Your typical fifty dollar bill will cost you about $50. Most people think they have something extremely rare, unfortunately, most of the time its a very common note. However, there are always exceptions. Contact us for more information.