So you happened upon an old $100 bill that looks different than normal… it’s older… and you’re not sure if it’s worth more than $100 and you’re not even sure if it’s real! Below I will talk about old $100 bills from 1950, if they’re real, how to tell, and what they are worth.
In short, most $100 bills from 1950 are real and are not worth more than their face value. Even if it’s in perfect condition you may get $105 to $110 for it. The reason for this is literally billions of one hundred dollar bills have been printed since 1950. They are not considered rare and probably never will be in our lifetime! If you think it’s cool and want to keep it in your collection, by all means.
There are exceptions to this answer though. Scroll to the bottom of the page if you want to skip over Real or Fake and see what the value is.
Is my old 1950 $100 bill Real or Fake?
The quick answer is your $100 bill is almost always going to be real. The likely-hood of your running into a counterfeit $100 bill is slim to none.
Bills dated 1990 and OLDER have a higher probability of being fake simply due to the lack of security features on them. Security features include watermarks, security threads, security fibers, color-changing ink, etc.
For example, the BEP’s (bureau of engraving and printing) newest series with an amazing amount of security features to deter counterfeiters.
4 Quick Steps to see if your Old $100 bill is Real or Fake
I will start by saying time, experience, and handling thousands upon thousands of banknotes will be your best bet in determining authenticity. I’ve been super fortunate to be dealing with paper money for the past 25 years and collecting it all my life.
- Take a magnifying glass and check the print/paper
- Feel the paper… if it feels like printer paper, it probably is
- Check that the paper of the bill does not glow brightly under UV light
- Compare to other bills in similar series, regardless of denomination
The first step is making sure you aren’t dealing with a low-quality fake bill that was run through a printer. If you take magnification to the bill and you see colored dots/specks you’re dealing with a fake note and should look something like this.
The second step is to feel the paper. This may sound a bit weird, but using another one of your senses (sight in the first step) is a crucial part in determining the authenticity of paper money. Make sure it doesn’t feel like your printer paper… or it probably is. The texture of paper money is very unique. U.S. Currency is made up of 75% cotton and 25% linen, according to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Unless you’re dealing with special artist paper, the paper in your printer is likely 75% wood pulp and 25% cotton.
Step three is making sure the paper doesn’t glow in UV light. I’ve spent… thousands upon thousands of hours handling paper money since I was a child. One of the most obvious signs of a fake $100 bill is how it reacts under UV light. For example, if you take a real genuine bill and you take a piece of printer paper and put both under UV, you will see what I’m talking about! Even if the note has ink on it, if the paper is bad, it will glow like this.
The fourth step is probably one of my favorite which is comparing the bills. It doesn’t matter if you compare your 1950 $100 green seal with a 2009 $1 green seal note from your wallet. If you use the first three steps listed above as a guideline to seeing if your bill is real or fake, you should come to a conclusion!
What’s the value of my old 1950 $100 Bill?
Now we know your $100 bill is real, how much is it worth? As stated earlier, your bill is likely worth $105 to $110 unless it has any of the following features.
- Your $100 1950 Green Seal has a Star * at the end of the serial number (i.e. A60023421*)
- Your $100 1950 Green Seal has a low serial number (i.e. A00000001A, A00000002A, A00000003A, etc)
- Your $100 1950 Green Seal is in a pack of 50 or more consecutive notes
- Your $100 1950 Green Seal has been misprinted by the BEP
None of the above guarantee its worth more but does increase the chance of the bill having more value.
Your old $100 bill can be spent anywhere, its legal tender
Technically, you can spend your old $100 bill anywhere you want in the United States. Your old $100 bills will always be good to spend, these old currencies never expire. It really depends who you’re dealing with. If you try to spend an old $100 bill at your local supermarket and the person helping you has no idea why the Benjamin on your $100 is so small, and there’s no watermark, they may think its fake. But as we established earlier, we know your $100 is real!
I’ve personally even had problems at my local bank when trying to deposit old paper money with them. It really depends on the knowledge the person you’re dealing with has. A lot of people are oftentimes skeptical due to the lack of security features old bills have. And there’s usually no amount of convincing them how much knowledge I have on the subject of paper money… this is what I do for a living!
Even blue seal silver certificates, red seal legal tenders, and gold seal gold certificates are all considered legal tender and spendable. But you shouldn’t spend these items since they all have at least a small premium over face value.
Where can I find old $100 bills?
This is a pretty broad question be I do get it from time to time. If you’re looking for old paper money by luck, I usually tell people to start looking through the money they get back in change. I remember growing up whenever I’d get spare change back I would always check for old dates. Or you can do it the easy way and go to eBay.com and search the type of bill you’re looking for, the date, the denomination, etc.
Some good places to find old money:
- Retail stores
- Shopping stores
Honestly, your best bet, in my opinion, would be going to a handful of banks and asking if they’ve received any old currency recently. You can take money out of your bank account and accept the old paper money in exchange! It’s definitely a good idea to become friends with these people and build relationships if possible. You’d be surprised how many people bring old money to the bank without a clue that its old and potentially has value.
Facts about the $100 1950 Green Seal Bill
There were a total of 6 series printed for the 1950 $100 bill and their signature combinations:
- 1950 Clark and Snyder
- 1950-A Priest and Humphrey
- 1950-B Priest and Anderson
- 1950-C Smith and Dillon
- 1950-D Granahan and Dillon
- 1950-E Granahan and Fowler
This is cool information for collecting purposes but when it comes down to value it really doesn’t make a difference.
If you enjoyed this post make sure to share it with a friend. It took quite some time to put together and I’m a slow typer!