Legal Tenders – Values, Information, & Sales

Red Seal Legal Tender United States Notes

The word legal tender is a slightly confusing term used to describe any old money that was issued as a United States note.  Long story short, if the money didn’t earn interest, wasn’t bank issued, and wasn’t backed by a precious metal like gold or silver then it was usually referred to as a legal tender.  Select a denomination below to learn more about your exact piece of currency.


Legal tender notes span a wide range of values.  In modern times legal tender notes were printed as red seal two and five dollar bills which now barely trade above face value.  Uncirculated packs of 100 consecutive $2 bills can be bought for about $10 a note.  Thomas Jefferson and Monticello are shown on those legal tender notes.

The United States first experimented with legal tender notes during the Civil War.  They weren’t especially popular with the general public back when they were in circulation.  Legal tender notes simply were not trusted by people who were used to coins and paper money backed by precious metals.  

As you can see above, eleven different denominations were issued.  Anything above $100 is extremely rare.  Even fifty and one hundred dollars bill are difficult to locate (with exception of the 1966 and 1966A $100 red seals).  Small size legal tender notes were only issued for the one, two, five, and one hundred dollar denominations.  Large size United States notes were issued for all denominations.  Most issues will have a red seal.  However, some designs used more of a brown colored seal.  If you have a legal tender note, I would love to hear about it.  Please consider me an interested buyer.