5 Rare 50-Dollar Bills Worth Six Figures

Look for these 50s that are worth way more than face value!

Published April 15, 2024
50 Dollar Bill

When is 50 bucks worth a whole lot more than 50 bucks? When it's a rare 50-dollar bill worth thousands of dollars! Don't plunk down that 50 to pay for dinner until you take a closer look.

50-Dollar Bill Value Chart

We like keeping a value chart handy to look up 50-dollar bills that might be worth money. These are some example values based on data gathered by US Currency Auctions. You'll see some of the oldest and most valuable bills on this list.

Year Type Size Seal Color Circulated Value Uncirculated Value
1861-1876 Interest Bearing Note Large Red Too rare to estimate N/A
1863 United States Note Large Red $8,000 - $16,000 N/A
1869 United States Note Large Red $13,000 - $25,000 N/A
1882 Gold Certificate Large Brown $8,000 - $20,000 N/A
1891 Treasury Note Large Red $35,000 - $50,000 N/A
1913 Gold Certificate Large Red $700 - $1,300 $2,500 and up
1934 Federal Reserve Note Small Green $55 - $120 $150 and up
1969 Federal Reserve Note Small Green $60 - $75 $90 and up
1977 Federal Reserve Note Small Green $60 - $85 $90 and up
1996 Federal Reserve Note Small Green $50 - $65 $70 and up
2013 Federal Reserve Note Small Green $50 $55 and up
Need to Know

The oldest 50-dollar bills are what is known as "large notes." They were actually quite a bit bigger than the bills we see today, measuring about 7.42 by 3.1 inches. These large notes tend to be valuable.

How Rare Are 50-Dollar Bills?

Most 50-dollar bills aren't rare at all, despite the fact that we don't tend to see them in our pocket change. According to the Federal Reserve, there were 2.5 billion 50-dollar bills in circulation in 2022. That's a fraction of the number of more common bills like ones and 100s, but it's still a lot of paper money.

For your 50 to be rare, it needs to be different somehow. That can mean being really old, having a printing mistake, or having a special serial number.

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

How Much Is a 50-Dollar Bill Worth?

Need to Know

A 50-dollar bill has to be worth at least the face value (the amount written on the front), so every single one is worth at least $50. Some, though, can be worth way more. If your 50 is a large note, expect it to be worth at least $150, and it may be worth much more.

If you're on the lookout for a rare 50-dollar bill that's got some value beyond $50, look for these factors:

  • Old bills - Large notes and old bills from the early 20th century or before can be extremely valuable.
  • Great condition - Any 50-dollar bill with minimal wear is going to be worth more, and uncirculated bills that never got passed around can be worth a lot.
  • Errors - Any kind of mistake or error in the printing of the bill can add to its value.
  • Signatures - Most modern bills have printed or engraved serial numbers, but older bills are sometimes hand-signed, and they can be worth more.
  • Valuable serial numbers - The numbers on the bill can form a pattern or be really low (indicating an early example of that year), and those can be worth extra.

Related: 5 Rare 10-Dollar Bills Worth as Much as Your House

5 Rare and Valuable 50-Dollar Bills to Look For

If you see anything unusual in your 50, it's going to be worth a closer look. Some of the rarest 50-dollar bills ever are worth thousands of dollars, so they can offer insights into what makes a 50 valuable.

Need to Know

Currency is given a Friedberg Number, which is a classification for different designs and signature combinations. It helps collectors compare bills to one another, and certain Friedberg Numbers are much more valuable than others.

$50 1861 Interest-Bearing Note

1861 Interest Bearing Note

1861 was the first year the United States printed paper money, so bills from this year are among the most valuable. The Fr. 202a $50 1861 note is the only one known to exist, and it's in very fine condition. It sold for $368,000 in 2005.

$50 1863 Legal Tender

1863 Legal Tender

Another very early example of paper currency, the 1863 (Fr. 150) legal tender note is a really rare bill that is worth serious money. Only about nine known bills exist in Fr. 150, and one in excellent condition sold for $299,000 in 2008.

$50 1891 Treasury Note

1891 Treasury Note

Only 25 examples of the $50 1891 Treasury Note (Fr. 376) are known to exist, and uncirculated examples with low serial numbers are especially valuable. One in perfect condition with serial number B2 sold for $299,000 in 2005.

$50 1882 Gold Certificate

1882 Gold Certificate

With only four known examples in Fr. 1191, the 1882 gold certificate is an ultra-rare 50-dollar bill collectors covet. One in perfect condition with crisp details and clean printing sold for $299,000 in 2006.

$50 1869 Legal Tender

1869 Legal Tender

Another very rare bill, the Fr. 151 $50 1869 legal tender is almost impossible to find in uncirculated condition. This example seems never to have been passed around and is crisp and clean. It sold for $223,250 in 2016.

Related: 5 Rare 20-Dollar Bills Worth as Much as a Used Car

Which 50-Dollar Bill Serial Numbers Are Valuable?

The serial number on the bill can have a big impact on its value, so it's an important thing to look at when you're examining bills in your collection. If you have a 50 you're wondering about, grab your magnifying glass and look at the serial number for these characteristics:

  • Stars - A star in the serial number means the bill is a replacement. Star notes can be worth more.
  • Palindrome - If the serial number is the same front-to-back and back-to-front, it's a palindrome. People build whole collections around these.
  • Low numbers - A low serial number means the bill is one of the first in the series for that year, so these tend to be worth more.
  • Repeats - A serial number with a series of repeating digits can also be worth more.

Spot a Treasure That's Worth More Than $50

Give yourself one extra second to look for rare 50-dollar bills before you pay for dinner or make your bank deposit. Knowing what makes a bill worth more can help you spot a treasure that's worth a lot more than $50.

5 Rare 50-Dollar Bills Worth Six Figures