A 1935 dollar bill may be a small deal to you. But if that dollar bill includes a few key markings, it may be worth more than its face value.
Some 1935 dollar bills have sold for tens of thousands of dollars. Knowing its value and what the distinctions are is vital to capitalizing on rare dollar bills.
To truly understand why specific 1935 one-dollar bills are valued so high, we have to look at its history and what changed from the previous 1934 issue. Let’s dive right in.
History of the $1 Bill
Before 1928, all U.S. currency was printed in large size, with 7 3/8″ x 3 1/8″ dimensions. In 1928, small-size notes were issued with dimensions of 6.14 inches x 2.61 inches.
The 1935 U.S. one-dollar bill was the first of its kind after changing its look from the 1934 dollar bill.
Both were paper money, but the 1934 version still featured something from the 1928 silver certificate that wasn’t desirable. This was called “The Funny Back Design.”
The Funnyback or Funny Back features a unique design on the back of the bill that displays the word “ONE” in a huge font, unlike any other writing on the bill. The president’s portrait on the other side was of George Washington.
But both 1928 and 1934 silver certificate bills are considered funny backs. And both of these versions are not worth more than their face value.
But the 1935 dollar bill changed that when they altered the design.
Beginning of the 1935 One Dollar Bill
The first noticeable difference was the changes to the back of the bill. The face still featured President George Washington.
The only change to the front of the bill was a numerical “1” placed to the left of Washington.
However, the back of the bill went under some design changes. This particular dollar bill within the U.S. Currency featured what is known as the “All Seeing Eye” that sat at the top of a pyramid on the left side of the “ONE.”
And to the right of the printed “ONE” was the Great Seal. The Blue Seal is commonly interchanged with the Great Seal, representing the fact that it was a Silver Certificate.
Since these notes were issued during The Great Depression and under different circumstances, silver certificates could be redeemed for actual silver coins or silver bullion until an Act of Congress discontinued the redemption rule in 1963.
What Makes the 1935 Dollar Bill So Valuable?
What makes the dollar bill worth anything? Well, that’s a more extended discussion, but a significant factor is that the note certifies there is on deposit in the Treasury, guaranteed by the United States.
What makes one dollar bill more valuable than another dollar bill? That’s a more straightforward discussion. The 1935 one-dollar silver certificate ended up having several varieties printed at once. To find its value, first, you should identify the bill series.
How Much Is A 1935 Dollar Bill and Its Varieties Worth?
The seals on the dollar bill often indicate what that bill was valued for. The silver certificates featured the Silver or blue seal.
And in the old days, because you could exchange them for silver coins, some people cut them in half to make change. Very different from dollar coins, the paper could be torn easily, and that’s precisely what some people did.
The North Africa 1935 Dollar Bill and The Hawaii 1935 Dollar Bill had different seals and would be two notable distinctions of the series.
North Africa 1935 Dollar Bill
North African notes were distinguishable due to their yellow seal compared to other varieties. The North African stamped notes were issued to the U.S. military during World War II.
144,000 North Africa star notes were printed and now sell for over $1,500 in MS 63 grade.
In uncirculated condition, the North Africa 1935 dollar bill has sold for a few thousand dollars. If they were to have a C grade on the Sheldon scale, this could stand for two things. The first was “Choice,” and the second was “Crisp.”
The Hawaii 1935 Dollar Bill
The Hawaii 1935 Dollar Bill was issued after Pearl Harbor and during WWII. They didn’t have blue or yellow seals but instead had a brown seal or a red seal on the note.
One theory on why Hawaii notes were printed is that if Japan invaded Hawaii and confiscated U.S. currency, the U.S. government could declare all 1935 dollar bills with a Hawaii stamp invalid.
While this mule isn’t among the most popular collector’s items, it is still auctioned for anywhere between $500 and $1000 in great condition.
Over 200,000-star notes with the Hawaii stamp were produced and can be valued up to $2,000 in MS 63 grade.
The 1935A Dollar Bill
Notes of any value have to be signed by The Secretary of the Treasury. In 1935 this happened to be Henry Morgenthau Jr. and Treasurer W.A. Julian.
It’s common for an entirely new bill design to come out. But when a term ends and a new Secretary of Treasury takes over in Washington D.C., the signature changes and slight designs are also made on the bill. But in 1935, they were only minor.
First came the 1935 A series, which features changes in the font size on the bill. The plate numbers on the back and face of the bill were incorrectly measured, dating back to the 1928 funny back.
They were a ½ millimeter to a whole millimeter too small. The result was enlarging the plate numbers to be readable without a magnifying glass.
1935-B Dollar Bill
1935-C Dollar Bill
1935-D Wide Border Dollar Bill
The wide border 1935D dollar bill has almost twice the green space on the top and bottom of the bill relative to the narrow version.
The 1935-D series was printed from 1949 to 1953, and the earlier bills had a wide green area at the top and bottom reverse of the bill.
1935-D Narrow Border Dollar Bill
The back design on the Series D notes was made 3 mm narrower as an experiment. To reduce the number of miss-cuts, the printed area was reduced.
Billions of the newly spaced bills were printed, and most are worth only face value unless there is a unique or desirable serial number combination.
1935-E Dollar Bill
1935-F Dollar Bill
1935-G Dollar Bill – Motto & No Motto
1935-H Dollar Bill
1935 Dollar Bill Valuable Errors
- One of the most familiar traits of the U.S. Paper Money is the quote, “IN GOD WE TRUST.” So, naturally, with its absence on the 1935 $1 bill, collectors deemed this an interesting mistake.
- Oddly, the motto didn’t appear on the dollar bill until 1957. There’s one exception, though. The 1935G had the motto! Then the 1935H didn’t. The H series would be the last before the 1957 series came out with the motto.
- Signatures also featured some weird mistakes on the 1935 silver certificate. Often they would be out of order. The 1935 one-dollar bill saw series A through H often feature non-chronological signatures due to des getting older.
1935 Dollar Bill Star Notes
Some 1935 dollar bill notes can get up to 16,000 times their value with high grades. Understanding the grades is key, so we will review that in the next section.
However, an uncirculated, mint condition 1935 dollar bill note is among the rarest 1935 dollar bills and gets the highest value. Star Notes were often called Replacement Notes.
The idea seems counterintuitive, but these notes were meant to replace any dollar bills damaged during the minting process. What defines them is their asterisk that sits right next to the serial number.
We mentioned the note series only went from A to H. But the replacement notes had something different on them. They also had R, and S. R meant that the note was used on standard printing paper. But S meant that it was an experiment.
Keeping the Banknote in Circulation
Because of the times in America, many collectors and everyday Americans didn’t hurry to get rid of their original 1935 one-dollar bill.
Even if you couldn’t read the back plate numbers, the issue seemed insignificant enough to eliminate the legal tender paper money. And on top of that, even though the 1935A was being distributed, The Bureau of Engraving and Printing was, in fact, still making the original 1935.
The confusion would see interchangeable and mixed-up back plate numbers where the original series would sometimes get the larger plate numbers, and the new 1935A would sometimes see the smaller plate numbers.
This led to an interesting mistake. Notes with the wrong size plate numbers were referred to as MULES.
This prompted the creation of the 1935B and several other varieties. It’s what led to the intrigue of rare coin and currency collectors and the increased values of the 1935 dollar bill.
Graded 1935 Dollar Bills
To have a serious dollar bill and paper currency collection, you must have them graded and certified. Understanding this is the first step to determining the value of your 1935 dollar bill, Federal Reserve Notes, or any currency notes.
PMG, the largest and most well-known paper money grading service, has graded and certified over 8 million notes and counting.
It’s the official grading service of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG).
Paper Money Guaranty (PMG) uses a scale of 4 to 70 to grade bills and notes. Here’s an example of just a few PMG grade levels.
70 Gem Uncirculated – No visible marks from handling at a magnification of 5x.
65 Gem Uncirculated – One or two minor blemishes but above average centering.
PMG scores from 70 to 65 are designated as “EPQ,” or Exceptional Paper Quality.
64 Choice Uncirculated – No folds can be present.
25 Very Fine – Slight evidence of circulated condition.
6 Good Condition – A note or bill with worn edges, frayed margins, and serious splits and damage.
Other Grading Systems by PCGS
Very Good VG
Still heavily circulated but completely intact. The corners may be rounded but minimal splits or stains.
Very Good VG
Very good is representative of an intermediate note. It’s intact and has minimal to minor problems. There may be one issue, such as a crease.
Fine indicates that these notes have been circulated but remain solid. Corners may have minor fraying or edge splits. No significant damage is noticeable.
One level up is also Fine, indicating a good body and vibrant coloring, but it may have too many folds.
The scale can go all the way up to 70. 70 Is a Supreme Gem Uncirculated. This is all around perfect conditions. It has yet to be circulated, and there are zero handling marks.
Between “Fine” and this, there are more than 50 different grading scale options. You can find that by searching the PCGS Banknote Grading.
Collectors of rare old coins and paper currency love the 1935 dollar bill. It has a great story, plays a big part in American history, and has several variations for collectors.
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