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Red Seal: United States “Legal Tender” Currency

Blue Seal: Silver Certificate Currency, redeemable in Silver up until 1968

Gold/Yellow Seal: Gold Certificate Currency, redeemable in Gold up until 1933

Scroll down for more information regarding Red, Blue, and Gold Seal old paper money bills!

A Quick Timeline of Old U.S. Paper Money

The first note ever printed by the U.S. was a $2 bill printed on June 25, 1776, when the Continental Congress authorized the issuance of the $2 denominations in “bills of credit” for the defense of America. These notes, also known as Colonial or Continental Currency, had no seal whatsoever.

June 28, 1776 10 Pence – New Hampshire Colonial Currency

In 1861, in order to finance the Civil War, Congress authorized the U.S. Department of Treasury to issue non-interest-bearing Demand Notes (which also had no seal). These bills are known as “greenbacks” due to their beautiful colors. All U.S. notes issued since 1861 still remain redeemable at full face value. We do not recommend redeeming them anywhere though because:

  1. Your demand note is worth a lot more than face value and…
  2. Whatever bank or person you try to redeem it with may think its completely fake!
1861 $10 Demand Note New York
1861 $10 Demand Note New York

We suggest consulting with us before going anywhere else to sell your old paper money currency. We will help you determine the value … please contact us today and we will give you a free valuation of your old money collection. 561-504-5200.

Thanks,

Marc Michaelsen

1862 is the first year you will ever see a red seal printed on U.S. Paper Currency. This is the year of “United States Notes” which was a new class of currency. Congress authorized the production of these notes, also known as “Legal Tender Notes.” These notes stand out due to their red seal and serial numbers.

$5 1862 Legal Tender Red Seal Note
$5 1862 Legal Tender Red Seal Note

1869 was a very important year because the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) began printing the faces and seals of U.S. banknotes. Before this year, all old currency was produced by private banknote companies then sent to the BEP for trimming, cutting, and sealing.

Names were added to portraits on the old currency in the year 1889. If you scroll up you notice the Demand Notes and Old Legal Tender Notes don’t have the names of the individuals in the portraits. All currency you see dated past 1889 WILL have names under the portraits to this day.

Federal Reserve Currency was introduced during the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 to provide a central bank to the U.S. and all of the national banks in every state. This was a necessary step in containing the constantly fluctuating financial needs of the country.

You’ll notice during the year 1913 the design of old U.S. bills changed.

$5 series 1914 Federal Reserve Note
$5 series 1914 Federal Reserve Note

1929 the U.S. banknotes designed started becoming more standardized, closer to what you will see today on a modern bill. The main purpose for this was to reduce manufacturing costs, all Federal Reserve Notes were made about 30% smaller – measuring 6.14 x 2.61 inches, rather than 7.375 x 3.125 inches. In addition, the design for each denomination would now be the same, decreasing the number of designs making it easier for the public to determine between genuine and counterfeit notes.

1929 $100 Memphis Tennessee National Bank Note
1929 $100 Memphis Tennessee National Bank Note (brown seal)

Brown seal notes were used for National Bank Notes and Federal Reserve Bank Notes. The above image is a National Bank Note from Memphis, Tennessee with the bank number of 13349. To learn more about National Bank Notes and their values, we will be writing a guide soon so stay tuned.

We suggest consulting with us before going anywhere else to sell your old paper money currency. We will help you determine the value … please contact us today and we will give you a free valuation of your old money collection. 561-504-5200. Email: Info@RareMoneyValues.com

Thanks,

Marc Michaelsen

In 1957 “In God We Trust” was adding to all currency following law in 1955. The Motto first appeared on series $1 1957 Silver Certificates, then on 1963 series Federal Reserve Notes. As a side note, notes with or without “In God We Trust” has no difference in value. Regardless, they will not bring much difference in premium.

1971 United States notes (Red Seals) were discontinued since they no longer served a purpose which wasn’t already met by Federal Reserve Notes (Green Seals). No new United State “Legal Tender” notes have been placed into circulation since. But from time to time, you can find them in your change or at a bank.

What does the Red Seal on my Old Money mean?

The majority of times, a note with a Red Seal means it’s a United States “Legal Tender Note” which were halted in 1971 (see above). The most common type of Legal Tender bill you will come across is a 1953 $5 Legal Tender. This bill has a value of $6 to $10 depending on its condition. If your bill has a low serial number, or it appears to have a misprint, it could be worth more.

$5 1953 Legal Tender Red Seal Note
$5 1953 Legal Tender Red Seal Note
Value: $6 to $8

While these $5 Legal Tenders are very cool… we are not interested in purchasing them unless they have:

  • Low serial number
  • A large pack of 50 or more, consecutive notes
  • There is an error on the note

If you’re not sure what a paper money error, or misprint, looks like We will be writing a guide on all paper money errors soon.

Just Because it has a Red Seal… doesn’t always mean its a United States “Legal Tender” Note

$1 1896 Silver Certificate Red Seal Bill
$1 1896 Silver Certificate Red Seal Bill
Value: Anywhere from $50 to $2,000 depending on the condition

All $1 1896 Silver Certificate Bills have a Red Seal, but it is not a Legal Tender bill. If you look at the bottom center of the note you will see “One Silver Dollar” meaning once upon a time you were able to trade this bill into a bank and receive an equivalent exchange in silver. In March 1964, Secretary of the Treasury C. Douglas Dillon halted redemption of Silver Certificates for Silver Dollar Coins; during the next four years, Silver Certificates were redeemable in uncoined Silver “granules.” All redemption in Silver ceased on June 24, 1968.

$1 1886 Silver Certificate Large Red Seal fr. 218
$1 1886 Silver Certificate Large Red Seal
Value: Anywhere from $75 to $4,000 depending on the condition

It is a little bit confusing at times, but it’s very important to realize just because a bill has a Red Seal, does NOT mean its a United States Legal Tender bill. Pay more close attention to what the note says when you’re first learning about old paper money. One last example I’ll show you is a $1 1886 “Martha” Silver Certificate, which has a large bold Red Seal. Keep in mind this series 1886 also comes in a beautiful Brown Seal variety.

If you have any of the currency you've seen in the images for sale, WE ARE BUYERS of old money. We will pay you more and make sure you're satisfied with the transaction. Please consider us very serious buyers.

What does the Blue Seal on my Old Money mean?

Blue Seal notes are some of my favorites, maybe I’m biased and I just love the color blue. The majority of the time you run into a Blue Seal bill it will be a Silver Certificate.

What is a Silver Certificate?

In short: A Silver Certificate is an old form of Paper Currency which was once exchangeable directly for Silver.

up until 1968 you could trade silver certificates for silver coins and bullion

The majority of Silver Certificates have Blue Ink on the Serial Numbers & Seals. These notes were redeemable in Silver Coin or Silver Bullion equal to the certificate’s face value; Up until 1968, when Treasury C. Douglas Dillon sadly halted the redemption of these bills.

Large Size Silver Certificates

Large Size Silver Certificates were issued from 1878 to 1923 issued in denominations from $1 to $1,000. These bills measured a big 7-3/8 x 3-1/8 inches and were graciously nicknamed “Horseblankets” due to their enormous size! These highly detailed designs on Large Size notes are some of my personal favorites due to the amount of detail and artwork they hold.

In 1928, all Silver Certificates were re-designed and reduced in size…

Small Size Silver Certificates

Small Size Silver Certificates were issued from 1928 to 1964 and were only issued in denominations of $1, $5, and $10. The majority of Small Size Silver Certificates generally don’t have much value. One of the rare exceptions is the $10 1933 Silver Certificate.

$10 1933 Silver Certificate fr. 1700
Value: $2,000 to $25,000 depending on condition

Do you have a $10 1933 Silver Certificate? Or any old money collection? We want to buy it and give you the most amount of money you deserve. Consider us serious buyers.

Call: 561-504-5200 or email: Info@RareMoneyValues.com

Thanks,

Marc Michaelsen

What does the Gold Seal on my Old Money mean?

In short: A Gold Certificate is an old form of Paper Currency which was once exchangeable directly for Gold.

Gold Certificates were used from 1863 to 1933 in the U.S. as a form of Paper Money. In 1933 the redemption of Gold Coin with Gold Certificate Paper Money was halted. Possessing these certificates from 1933 to 1964 was actually considered illegal. Luckily today, they are seen as collectibles. You could go to a bank and redeem your $10 Gold Certificate for $10 in today’s money. But you would be better off selling it to a Paper Money Expert who could give you the most for your collectible.

$10 1928 Gold Certificate Bill
Value: $40 to $8,000 depending on condition

I am both a collector and a dealer. If I don’t need a specific note for my collection, I may need it for my inventory. Please send me an email with pictures of the old money you have available. Info@RareMoneyValues.com

Thanks,

Marc Michaelsen

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