In a digitally-dominated world, you may think that cash is a thing of the past – but think again! Old Canadian bills can actually sell online for tens of thousands of dollars, and you could be sitting on a rare banknote worth a hundred times its original value.
If you've been dreaming of a quick pay day, why not ask your grandma if she has any old banknotes lying around, or consider digging into your piggy bank to double check what bills you've got in there. Who knows, you might just stumble across a hidden treasure.
If you find a rare bill, like an old $2 note or a $1 bill from decades ago, you could be quids in, as sellers regularly list unusual banknotes like these for upwards of a thousand dollars.
Because there are so many Canadian currency collectors out there, there's a real market for these bills – so it's worth asking your parents if they ever stashed a few notes away in case of an emergency.
Of course, it's worth keeping in mind that items are only really worth what somebody will pay for them. So, a seller could list a single bill for $10,000, but it's only really worth that if somebody is prepared to buy it.
With that in mind, here's a look at just a few Canadian bank notes listed on auction sites right now that are worth checking your basement for.
$2 bill (1986)
Canadian $2 bill from 1986.
Starting price: $10,000.00
The Bank of Canada museum says that this note was printed by both Canadian Bank Note Company Ltd. and British American Bank Note Company, and was issued in September 1986.
The $2 note comes from a series known as the Birds of Canada Series, which was also one of the first banknote sets to include a reflective, colour-shifting patch to prevent photocopying.
This was the first series without a $1 bill and the last series to carry the $1,000 and the $2 bills, which is why the latter banknotes are so valuable today.
This particular bill features a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, which the museum says was engraved by Henry S. Doubtfire of De La Rue.
$1,000 bill (1954)
Canadian $1,000 bill (1954).
Starting price: $1,425.00
Printed by Canadian Bank Note Company Ltd., this $1,000 note was issued in September 1954, according to the Bank of Canada museum.
The reverse side of the bill shows the covered bridge in the village of L’Anse-Saint-Jean, Quebec, and, in the background, the Saguenay River fjord. A portrait of a young Queen Elizabeth II is on the other side.
If this looks familiar to you – you're in luck. Anybody with this specific bill could look to list it online for well over its original value, with one recently selling for just under $1,500 online.
There are some slightly cheaper listings out there for this same banknote, with another seller listing it for around $1,190.
$100 bills (2011)
Canadian $100 bills.
Starting price: $2,150.00
Issued in 2011 in response to a significant surge in counterfeiting, this Canadian banknote was made with a polymer substrate which is more resistant to forgery than the previous paper-cotton.
One side of the bill features the portrait of Canadian Prime Minister Robert Laird Borden, while the reverse depicts a lab-coated researcher peering into a microscope alongside an electrocardiogram reading, a bottle of insulin, and a DNA double helix. The Bank of Canada museum says this image was used to represent Canada’s long-standing commitment to medical research and innovation.
These textured bills were circulated in November 2011 with the theme of medical innovation, and you'll still find them out there today. However, that doesn't mean they're not worth more than their face value.
If your notes have unique serial numbers, you could still get a little more for them. For example, somebody is selling 12 $100 bills from 2011 on eBay for $2,150, which is a tidy profit if somebody actually buys them.
$5 bill (1907)
Canadian $5 bill from 1907.
Starting price: $1,449.95
It's unlikely that you'll find this old Canadian bill in your wallet, as it dates back as far as 1907.
Issued by the Canadian Bank of Commerce, this $5 bill is rare to find, especially in good condition, so those who have one will probably be able to sell it on for a hefty sum.
One of these is listed on eBay right now for almost $1,500, while a similar one sold via Heritage Auctions earlier this year — so you've definitely got something worth selling if you have one of these lying around!
$100 bills (2006)
Canadian $100 bills.
Starting price: $380.00
Part of the 2001-2006 Canadian Journey Series, this $100 banknote also featured the portrait of former PM Robert Borden, engraved by Czeslaw Slania.
This series of bills was the first to be designed wholly on a computer, the Bank of Canada museum explains, and was created to be extremely hard to reproduce because, by the late 1990s, "desktop printers, scanners and photo manipulation software were all becoming affordable tools for the counterfeiter."
The Canadian Journey Series also was the first set to feature Canadian citizens, after focus groups said Canada's values and achievements were best represented by things like pond hockey, art and votes for women.
The main security features on these notes are the metal threads, holograms and watermarks, in addition to hidden features that are only detectable electronically.
There's good news and bad news here. Because these are relatively new bills, the chances of you finding some are pretty high. The bad news is that because of this same reason, the auction value really isn't much higher than the face value of these banknotes – if at all.
$1,000 bill (1937)
$1,000 Canadian bill from 1937.
Starting price: $40,399.00
The most expensive Canadian banknote currently listed on eBay, this $1,000 bill is both old and rare.
Issued in July 1937, several years after the rest of the series, it featured the pink tint of the 1935 $20 note but kept the portrait of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Canada’s first French-Canadian prime minister, on the back.
Now listed on eBay for over 40 times its original face value, this rosy bill would be an exciting one to find behind your grandma's old couch.
$1 bills (1973)
Canadian $1 bills (1973).
Starting price: $650.00
The 1973 $1 bill was printed by both Canadian Bank Note Company Ltd. and British American Bank Note Company.
On one side, it features a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, while on the other it shows a tugboat in the middle of a broken log boom on the Ottawa River.
This was the last $1 note issued by the Bank of Canada, because, with the introduction of the $1 coin in 1987, the issuing of $1 notes ended in 1989.
They're not the most valuable single bills out there that you can buy or sell, but you could be in for a hefty profit if you do have one (or more) of these lying around.
Right now, one seller is auctioning a bundle of 100 of these bills on eBay for $650.
Old Canadian Bank Notes Are Selling For Thousands Of Dollars #shortswww.youtube.com
Of course, if you do have a load of old bills lying around that you can't be bothered to list on auction sites – don't worry! Authentic bank notes issued by the Bank of Canada never become worthless, as the bank will always honour them at face value – even if they're no longer considered legal tender.
This means even if that stash of $10 bills you've found has no auction value, you can still get the digital equivalent transferred straight into your bank account. Easy!
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.