5 Rare 20-Dollar Bills Worth As Much As a Used Car

Don't trade these rare twenties in for movie admission or a snack. Spot what makes them valuable instead.

Published March 15, 2024
Stack of 20 dollar bills spread out on a wooden table

A twenty doesn't buy what it used to, but some rare 20-dollar bills can actually be worth a lot. Knowing what to look for can help you spot a bill that's special (and could be worth more than your car). From the serial numbers to watch for to the misprints collectors covet, don't use that twenty to pay for your lunch until you check it over.

20-Dollar Bill Value Chart

A quick-reference chart is super useful for spotting valuable twenties. This handy list can help you watch for the seal colors, sizes, and years worth the most. This list comes from data gathered by US Currency Auctions about past sales of 20-dollar bills. You'll see some of the ultra-valuable bills here, including the 1861 20-dollar bill,

Year Type Size Seal Color Circulated Value Uncirculated Value
1861 Demand Note Large Red $14,000 - $20,000 N/A
1862 United States Note Large Red $1,750 - $3,500 $4500 and up
1863 Interest Bearing Note Large Red  $3,500 - $7,000 N/A
1869 United States Note Large Red $1,750 - $3,900 $4,500 and up
1875 United States Note Large Red $900 - $1,800 $2,700 and up
1890 Treasury Note Large Red $3,000 - $7,000 $12,500 and up
1915 National Currency Small Blue $1,500 - $2,800 $4,000 and up
1922 Gold Certificate Small Gold $175 - $375 $800 and up
1929 National Currency Small Brown $35 - $55 $200 and up
1935 Federal Reserve Note Small Green $35 - $65 $115 and up
1963 Federal Reserve Note Small Green $25 - $40 $60 and up
1985 Federal Reserve Note Small Green $22 $24 and up
1993 Federal Reserve Note Small Green $22 $30 and up
2009 Federal Reserve Note Small Green $20 $21 and up
Need to Know

Early bills were larger than today's bills, measuring about 7.42 by 3.1 inches. Affectionately called "horse blankets," these large notes are really rare today and are always valuable.

How Rare Are 20-Dollar Bills?

20-dollar bills are actually one of the most common denominations printed by the Federal Reserve. There were 11.5 billion twenties in 2022, making them the second most common bill (1-dollar bills are still the most common).

For a twenty to be rare, it needs to be special somehow. Look for old ones or those that haven't been circulated.

Related: 5 Rare 5-Dollar Bills Worth a Lot More Than Your Latte

How Much Is a 20-Dollar Bill Worth?

Need to Know

A 20-dollar bill is always worth at least $20, so all of them are valuable. Still, some are worth way more. A large note from before 1914 is usually worth at least $300 and can be worth several thousand in good condition.

There are a few factors that can influence how much a 20-dollar bill is worth, but these are some of the most important:

  • Great condition - A 20-dollar bill in good shape (with minimal creasing or rubbing) is always worth more than the same bill in rough condition. The most valuable are twenties that haven't seen circulation at all.
  • Older year - An old 20-dollar bill, especially a large note, is worth more than a newer one most of the time.
  • Misprints - Any printing mistakes can add to the value. We're talking things like doubled numbers or letters, seals in the wrong place, or anything funky.
  • Certain serial numbers - Every bill has a serial number, but some are worth more. Low numbers (early in the printing run for that year) are often valuable.

Related: 5 Rare 100-Dollar Bills You Can Retire On

Five of the Rarest 20-Dollar Bills to Watch For

These super rare 20-dollar bills worth a lot of money aren't necessarily going to show up in your change at the pizza parlor, but they do exist. Knowing what makes them special can help you identify valuable bills for yourself.

Need to Know

The rarest bills are categorized using a Friedberg Number. This is a system that groups designs and signature combinations by rarity, and certain Friedberg numbers are very hard to come by.

$20 1861 Demand Note

The first year the 20-dollar bill was issued was 1861, and bills from this time are extremely hard to come by. There are only 22 known examples of Fr. 11, and one in very fine condition sold for $72,000 in 2020.

1861 Demand Note

$20 1869 Legal Tender Note

An early example of a 20-dollar bill in amazing condition is always worth a lot, and the 1869 bill is no exception. These large notes are rare and valuable, so if you have one (especially Fr. 127), it's definitely worth getting it appraised. One example in gem condition sold for $50,400 in 2024.

1869 Legal Tender

$20 1863 Legal Tender Note

One of the rarest 20-dollar bills, this super early example (Fr. 126b) dates to 1863. Condition matters a lot when it comes to value, even in rare bills, and one of these in uncirculated condition sold for $19,200 in 2023.

1863 Legal Tender

$20 1873 Legal Tender Note

Old 20-dollar bills are hard to find in good condition, let alone nearly uncirculated. Those with minimal wear are just extremely rare to encounter and are some of the most valuable. One 1873 example of Fr. 129 in gem condition sold for $13,800 in 2023.

1873 Legal Tender Note

$20 1875 Legal Tender Note

With only 67 known examples, the Fr. 128 1875 $20 bill is one of the rarest you can find. It's valuable in any condition, but one in very fine condition sold for about $4,600 at auction in 2024.

1875 Legal Tender Note
Quick Tip

If you have an old 20-dollar bill, it's important to know whether it's real or fake. Compare it to known examples of the same bill and use a magnifying glass to examine the seals, which are hard to fake. If it's a newer bill, look for the watermark.

Which 20-Dollar Bill Serial Numbers Are Worth the Most?

Serial numbers are a big deal with currency. You'll find the serial number printed on the portrait side of a twenty. While there's no 20-dollar bill serial number lookup to help you spot the ones that add value, there are a few things you can look for:

  • Repeats - If a serial number repeats the same digits, this can be something collectors like.
  • Low numbers - A low serial number means the bill was one of the first printed in its year. That can add to the value.
  • Palindromes - If a serial number is the same backward and forward, this can make it highly collectible.
  • Stars - A star in the serial number means the original was damaged or destroyed, and the bill you're holding is a replacement. That's rare, so it's sometimes valuable.

Related: How Much Is a 2-Dollar Bill Worth? Value Chart & Rarity Guide

Take the Time to Look Carefully for Rare 20-Dollar Bills

A twenty is always going to buy you at least $20 in goods or services, but some examples can be worth so much more. Knowing how to identify rare 20-dollar bills can help you avoid trading in a really valuable piece of currency. If you're not sure what it's worth, take some time to look closely and maybe even have it appraised.

5 Rare 20-Dollar Bills Worth As Much As a Used Car