How To Tell Whether Old Canadian Banknotes Are Valuable
Some denominations of Canada paper money have been discontinued for decades, meaning that at one point, the government stopped making them. However, until recently, they were still considered legal tender, meaning that you could use them for cash transactions. This changed as of 2021 as the government was worried that the old bills lack the security features to prevent counterfeiting that newer bills have.
However, just because these bills are no longer considered legal tender doesn’t mean that they no longer have any value. If you have a collection of old bills, you can send them directly to the Bank of Canada or take them to the financial institution of your choice to redeem them for their face value.
Before you do that, consider that some discontinued bills, as well as some that are just older, may be worth more than their face value. Here are some things to look at to determine how much your Canada paper money may be worth.
One of the most important factors that determine the value of banknotes, as well as coins from the Royal Canadian Mint, is their rarity. By its very nature, paper money is more ephemeral than coins are, so generally speaking, older banknotes are likely to be rarer, and therefore more valuable, than newer ones.
However, there are some years of banknotes that are rarer than others, not only by virtue of being older but because fewer notes may have been produced during that time. These bills are automatically more valuable than more common ones of the same denomination. For example, banknotes from the years 1935 and 1937 are relatively rare and therefore can be valuable.
Because paper money is made out of relatively flimsy material, bills are likely to become torn, creased, dirty, or otherwise damaged with use. Collectors do not like to buy bills in poor condition unless they are exceptionally rare and valuable. Therefore, the better condition a bill is in, the greater its value is likely to be, generally speaking. Similarly, as the condition worsens, the value decreases as well.
Variations in the design of a bill, which are sometimes made on purpose but are often accidental, make certain bills rarer and therefore more valuable. One of the most infamous examples affecting Canada’s paper money was the infamous “devil’s head” series of bills in 1954. This was the first run of bills printed after Queen Elizabeth II acceded to the throne. The same engraving of her portrait was used to print all the bills. There was a pattern in the hair behind her left ear that gave the impression of a leering face with exaggerated features. The outrage it provoked was so great that the plate was altered to darken that area and remove the face-like pattern. However, now “devil’s head” bills are more valuable, both because of their relative rarity and because of the story behind them.
Another example of the design increasing a bill’s value is the so-called asterisk bills. Some bills have an asterisk, a star or snowflake shape, in front of the serial number. The asterisk denotes a replacement note, and these bills can be worth more money. If you happen to have a “devil’s head” banknote from 1954 that also has the asterisk, it may be worth more than either of those features would be on their own.
Have Canada Paper Money Appraised for Free at Colonial Acres Coins
It would be a shame to turn in old bills to the Bank of Canada for their face value only to find out later that they were worth much more. We can perform an appraisal of your paper money for free when you bring it to Colonial Acres. If it is not worth any more than its face value, we will let you know. If some of your banknotes are worth more, we will tell you what they are worth so you can make an informed decision about them.