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What Are 1957 $1 Silver Certificates Worth?

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The obverse of a Series 1957 $1 Silver Certificate. Image is courtesy of Heritage Auctions, www.HA.com. Click image to enlarge.

The reverse of a Series 1957 $1 Silver Certificate. Image is courtesy of Heritage Auctions, www.HA.com. Click image to enlarge.

Did you find a Series 1957 $1 Silver Certificate Dollar Bill and want to know what it’s worth? First off, congratulations, because such old banknotes hardly ever turn up in circulation these days. And if you found that old 1957 Dollar Bill in an odd place, such as an old chest of drawers, a steamer, or perhaps received it as part of an inheritance, you’ve still scored a pretty neat find. But what’s the real value of a banknote like that? Let’s examine the history and collectible value of these notes, including how much your 1957 $1 Silver Certificate might be worth.

The Story Behind Silver Certificates

Originally issued for the redemption of silver on demand, Silver Certificates were originally authorized by two Acts of Congress in 1878 and 1886 and in denominations ranging from $1 to $1,000. The notes underwent a series of changes over the years, including designs, physical sizes, and legal tender obligations (as declared on the obverse of the notes).

The obligation on the Series 1957 $1 Silver Certificate states, “This certifies that there is on deposit in the Treasury of the United States of America [one dollar] in silver payable to the bearer on demand… This certificate is legal tender for all debts public and private.”

When these notes were originally issued, someone with these notes could have walked into a typical bank and would expect to receive silver coins amounting to the face value of the Silver Certificates surrendered in that transaction. So, in the late 1950s or early 1960s, that may have meant trading in a Series 1957 $1 Silver Certificate for a Morgan Dollar or Peace Dollar, large silver coins that were still readily available for face value during that time.

However, around 1963 the price of silver increased to the point that 90% silver Dimes, Quarters, Half Dollars, and Dollars were suddenly worth more for their intrinsic bullion value than for their face value. This led many people to begin hoarding silver coins, removing them from circulation in massive numbers and resulting in a nationwide coin shortage.

The United States government acted quickly in response to the rapidly changing situation. On June 4, 1963, Congress abolished the production of Silver Certificates. Five years later, on June 24, 1968, an Act of Congress stopped any further redemption of Silver Certificates for silver bullion. Silver Certificates were eventually replaced with Federal Reserve Notes, which remain in use today. However, Silver Certificates still retain legal tender status for obtaining Federal Reserve Notes of the equivalent value.

Values for Series 1957 $1 Silver Certificates

Let’s begin by saying that while 1957 Silver Certificates are valuable, they are not necessarily rare. A total of 5.3 billion $1 Silver Certificates were printed bearing the Series 1957 date. This figure includes all regular-issue notes, Star Replacement Notes, and various signature combinations. While there are notable variations in value for each of these, no standard Series 1957 $1 Silver Certificate is worth a tremendous amount of money, even in most Crisp Uncirculated grades.

Let’s examine the approximate values for the various Series 1957 $1 notes in the grades of PCGS XF40 and PCGS Choice UNC PPQ63:

  • Series 1957 Priest-Anderson $1 – PCGS XF40 ($5); PCGS Choice UNC PPQ63 ($18)
  • Series 1957 Priest-Anderson $1 Star Note – PCGS XF40 ($12); PCGS Choice UNC PPQ63 ($20)
  • Series 1957-A Smith-Dillon $1 – PCGS XF40 ($5); PCGS Choice UNC PPQ63 ($12)
  • Series 1957-A Smith-Dillon $1 Star Note – PCGS XF40 ($10); PCGS Choice UNC PPQ63 ($21)
  • Series 1957-B Granahan-Dillon $1 – PCGS XF40 ($5); PCGS Choice UNC PPQ63 ($10)
  • Series 1957-B Granahan-Dillon $1 Star Note – PCGS XF40 ($10); PCGS Choice UNC PPQ63 ($24)

*Values are estimations and refer to banknotes that are typical representatives of their grade. Damaged pieces will be worth less, and those with errors, better eye appeal, or other enhancing factors may be worth more.

What if your Series 1957 $1 Silver Certificate isn’t in as good a condition as listed for the values above? Old 1957 $1 Silver Certificates that aren’t graded by PCGS Banknote and are in lesser condition, typical of the type of piece you might receive in circulation, are usually worth less than the values above. A well-worn 1957 $1 Silver Certificate that isn’t graded by PCGS Banknote but has no rips, tears, or stains is usually worth around $1.50 to $2. Heavily worn 1957 $1 bills, such as those that are rag-like in appearance, are discolored, and/or have handwriting are generally worth only face value.

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