Most Valuable 1934 20 Dollar Bill (Rarest Sold For $40,800)

For collectors of vintage U.S. currency, the 1934 series $20 bills represent an intriguing and valuable segment of the market. Issued during the heart of the Great Depression, these notes span a fascinating period of economic and geopolitical turmoil in American history.

Among 1934 $20 bills are some incredibly rare and highly sought-after varieties that can command substantial premiums. A savvy collector who knows how to identify the most desirable notes can assemble an impressive collection of these Depression-era relics.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll cover everything you need to know about collecting 1934 $20 bills, including the history and background of the series, the most valuable types and varieties, how to grade and authenticate notes, and the best places to buy them.

Whether you‘re an experienced currency collector or just starting out, this article will equip you with the knowledge to confidently collect these prized 1934 $20 bills. Let‘s dive in!

History and Overview of 1934 $20 Bills

The 1934 series of $20 Federal Reserve notes was issued in the midst of the Great Depression, a time of immense economic strife in the United States. The U.S. government and Federal Reserve took various measures to stabilize the economy and restore faith in the banking system during this turbulent period.

One such measure was the Gold Reserve Act of 1934, which nationalized all gold held by the Federal Reserve and ended the gold standard in the U.S. This pivotal act severed the direct convertibility of U.S. dollars to gold and ushered in a new era of fiat money.

It‘s against this backdrop that the 1934 series $20 bills first entered circulation. The notes feature a portrait of President Andrew Jackson on the front and the White House on the back. Unlike earlier "Gold Certificates" that could be redeemed for gold coin, the 1934 series represented the new standard of fiat currency backed solely by government decree.

How to Identify Different 1934 $20 Bill Varieties

Within the 1934 series are several distinct varieties of the $20 bill. Each one is identifiable by the unique combination of series year, seal color, and signatures on the note. Here‘s a breakdown of the different types:

1934: Green seal. Signatures of Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr. and Treasurer W.A. Julian.

1934A: Green seal. Signatures of Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr. and Treasurer W.A. Julian.

1934B: Green seal. Signatures of Treasury Secretary Fred M. Vinson and Treasurer W.A. Julian.

1934C: Green seal. Signatures of Treasury Secretary John W. Snyder and Treasurer W.A. Julian.

1934D: Green seal. Signatures of Treasury Secretary John W. Snyder and Treasurer Georgia Neese Clark.

1934 Hawaii: Brown seal. Issued during WWII for use in Hawaii with "HAWAII" overprinted on front and back. Signatures of Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr. and Treasurer W.A. Julian.

1934A Hawaii: Brown seal. Issued during WWII for use in Hawaii with "HAWAII" overprinted on front and back. Signatures of Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr. and Treasurer W.A. Julian.

All 1934 series notes measure 6.14" x 2.61" and were printed on special paper containing red and blue fibers. They also have serial numbers with distinctive prefixes for each Federal Reserve bank.

Grading and Condition

As with any collectible currency, the condition and grade of a 1934 $20 bill play a huge role in determining its value. Notes are graded on a 70-point scale, with 70 representing a perfect uncirculated note.

The industry standard is the Sheldon grading scale used by major third-party graders:

  • Poor (P-1)
  • Fair (F-2)
  • About Good (AG-3)
  • Good (G-4, G-6)
  • Very Good (VG-8, VG-10)
  • Fine (F-12, F-15)
  • Very Fine (VF-20, VF-25, VF-30, VF-35)
  • Extremely Fine (EF-40, EF-45, AU-50, AU-53, AU-55, AU-58)
  • Uncirculated (MS/UNC 60 – MS/UNC 70)

Uncirculated examples, especially in higher grades from MS-65 to MS-68, represent the cream of the crop for collectors. Meanwhile, circulated notes in the VF to AU range are also desirable, while heavily worn notes in Good or lower condition are mainly valued for their collectible serial numbers or errors.

Most Valuable Regular Issue 1934 $20 Bills

The vast majority of 1934 $20 bills are worth only a small premium over face value in lightly circulated condition. The real value lies in uncirculated examples, rare star notes, and scarcer signature combinations.

Here are some of the most valuable regular issue (non-star, non-Hawaii) 1934 $20 bills and their estimated values:

  • 1934 $20 MS-67 EPQ – $3,600
  • 1934A $20 MS-67 EPQ – $980
  • 1934B $20 MS-67 EPQ – $4,320
  • 1934C $20 MS-67 EPQ – $5,405
  • 1934D $20 MS-67 EPQ – $2,875

Most Valuable Star Note 1934 $20 Bills

Star notes, which feature a star symbol in the serial number, were replacement notes used when the original note was damaged during printing. Only a fraction of 1934 $20 bills are star notes, making them much scarcer than regular issues. Some of the most valuable include:

  • 1934 $20 Star MS-65 EPQ – $6,600
  • 1934A $20 Star MS-65 EPQ – $3,290
  • 1934B $20 Star MS-65 EPQ – $3,840
  • 1934C $20 Star MS-65 EPQ – $3,300
  • 1934D $20 Star MS-67 EPQ – $3,055

Most Valuable Hawaii 1934 $20 Bills

The 1934 and 1934A Hawaii notes are some of the most desirable in the entire series due to their special wartime issue and limited circulation. Uncirculated examples can command huge premiums.

  • 1934 $20 Hawaii MS-66 EPQ – $13,800
  • 1934A $20 Hawaii MS-67 EPQ – $40,800 (highest recorded price for a 1934 Hawaii $20)

Even circulated Hawaii notes in VF condition routinely sell for $100+, while an MS-65 or better example could be worth $5,000 or much more.

Rare Serial Numbers

Certain serial number combinations on 1934 $20 bills can also drive up values substantially. Some of the most sought-after "fancy" serial numbers include:

  • Low numbers (e.g. 00000001 – 00000100)
  • Solid numbers (e.g. 11111111, 22222222)
  • Radar numbers (e.g. 01133110, 80000008)
  • Repeaters (e.g. 20202020, 78787878)
  • Ladders (e.g. 01234567, 98765432)

These rare serial numbers can multiply the value of even a circulated note. For example, a 1934A $20 star note with serial number 00000005 sold for over $45,000 in 2013.

Error Notes and Misprints

Error notes and misprints also present an exciting opportunity for 1934 $20 bill collectors. While errors and misprints are rare, they can include misaligned or missing printings, overprints, mismatched serial numbers, or other anomalies. The value depends on the type and magnitude of the error.

How to Authenticate 1934 $20 Bills

As with any high-value collectible, beware of counterfeit 1934 $20 bills. Properly authenticating a note is key before making a purchase.

Look for these key signs of authenticity:

  • Correct paper with red and blue fibers
  • Crisp, detailed engraving
  • Proper serial number font
  • Correct format of Treasury and Federal Reserve seals
  • Even distribution of ink

If you‘re unsure about the authenticity of a 1934 $20 bill, consider having it authenticated and graded by a reputable third-party service like PMG or PCGS. A certified note gives peace of mind and can make the note more liquid if you decide to sell in the future.

Where to Buy Rare 1934 $20 Bills

Acquiring a top-quality 1934 $20 bill often means going beyond your local coin shop or estate sale. Some of the best places to look include:

  • Major currency auctions (e.g. Heritage, Lyn Knight, Stack‘s Bowers)
  • Online marketplaces (eBay, Amazon, Etsy)
  • Specialized currency dealers
  • Collector clubs and organizations

Always be sure to deal with reputable, established sellers with a track record of satisfied customers and authenticated inventory. Buy graded notes whenever possible, and be willing to pay a fair premium for scarcer varieties in uncirculated grades.

Investment Potential

Rare, high-grade 1934 $20 bills have proven to be steady performers within the collectible currency market over time. Select star notes, scarce block letters, and errors have delivered impressive returns, with values sometimes doubling or tripling within a decade.

The series also has enduring historical appeal as a relic of the Great Depression and World War II eras. As time goes on and surviving populations dwindle, top-conditionexamples should continue to appreciate.

However, collectible currency is a buy-and-hold game that rewards patient collectors. Get-rich-quick "flips" are less common than in fine art or other markets. The best approach is to collect what you love and view any gains as icing on the cake.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What‘s special about the 1934 Hawaii $20 bills?

A: The 1934 Hawaii $20 notes were specially issued during World War II following the attack on Pearl Harbor. They feature brown seals and "HAWAII" overprinted on the front and back to distinguish them from regular notes in the event of a Japanese invasion of Hawaii.

Q: How much is a regular 1934 $20 bill worth?

A: Most regular issue 1934 $20 bills in circulated condition are worth $30-$50. Uncirculated examples graded MS-65 or better can be worth $500-$2,000+ depending on the variety.

Q: What‘s the most ever paid for a 1934 $20 bill?

A: The record price for a 1934 series $20 is $40,800 for a 1934A Hawaii $20 in MS-67 EPQ condition sold in 2020.

Q: Are 1934 $20 bills still legal tender?

A: Yes, all 1934 series $20 Federal Reserve notes are still legal tender and could theoretically be spent at face value. However, collectible notes are worth far more than $20 and should be preserved.


1934 series $20 bills present a deep and exciting collecting opportunity full of history, rarity, and financial upside. By understanding how to identify the different varieties, focusing on condition, and buying from reputable sources, you‘re well on your way to building a remarkable collection of these prized Depression-era notes.

Whether you‘re drawn to the scarcity of a high-grade Hawaii star note or the wow factor of a rare serial number, there‘s something for every budget and taste within the 1934 $20 series. With this guide at your disposal, you have the tools to become a confident collector in this fascinating corner of numismatics.

Happy collecting!

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.