How Much Is a 1981 $20 Bill Worth? (ANSWERED)

Last Updated on March 29, 2022

Do you have an old 20-dollar bill lying around in your house which was made In 1981?

Go ahead and read on below to find out the details and the worth this dollar bill has now.


How Much Is a 1981 20 Dollar Bill Worth?

A 1981-dollar bill is sold for their face value of $20.

However, there are some exceptions to that; these $20 notes can sell for more if they are star notes.

If the 1981 bills were circulated, they’ll only sell for their original price of $20.

There are two series that came out, the 1981 and the 1981-A, both have almost the same value in all conditions. The 1981 series $20 bills are valued to be $25 if present in an extremely fine condition. In contrast, the uncirculated $20 bills are worth almost $65 if they are of an MS 63 grade.

On the other hand, the 1981-A series of the 20 dollars bill in an extremely fine condition can be sold for roughly $25. In comparison, a grade of MS 63, along with being uncirculated, puts the value of this bill at a range of approximately $55-60. A plus point is that these $20 bills will be of a higher value if they were made in the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

Coming to the star notes, they are basically bills that are known as “replacement bills,” which were issued by the United State Federal Reserve. To see if you have a star note, check where the bill’s serial number ends. If you see a star symbol present there, then that’s considered a star note. These bills are more difficult to find, therefore, making their worth and value way more compared to the other 1981 $20 bills.

These $20-star notes, in a very fine condition, can have a price tag ranging from $30-$40. Their worth increases to $45-50 if present in an extremely fine condition. The star notes, which have a grade of MS 63 along with being in an uncirculated condition, can be worth up to 95-125 dollars. Just like the rest of the other 1981 $20 bills, these star notes can be of higher prices if made by the Federal Reserve Banks of Philadelphia and Minneapolis.

The Grading System For a 1981 $20 Bill

No matter what kind of money, its condition makes a significant difference in the price it’s sold for. The grades of these old $20 notes made in 1981 include:

  • Very Fine Condition: In this type of condition, the bill has been in circulation for a while, and some wrinkles, bend marks, and minor stains might be present. However, the note will still be a bit fresh.
  • Extremely Fine Condition: If the $20 bill is present in an extremely fine condition, it will have a lot of resemblance to the original note, retaining the sharpness. No stain marks or discoloration will be present, but a few creases might still exist.
  • Uncirculated MS 63 Grade: These dollar bills in an uncirculated MS 63 grade will appear as if they have never been in circulation. The natural sharpness of the $20 bill remains with no signs of creases, stains, or tears.

How Can You Tell If a 1981 Bill Is Real?

When you lift the money up to the light, you’ll notice an embedded thread that runs vertically towards the left of the portrait. The thread is engraved in an alternating pattern with the word USA and the number 20. Additionally, it is noticeable through both surfaces of the bill. If exposed to UV light, the thread shines in green color.

Apart from that, Look for color-shifting ink on the banknote. Rotate the bill to reveal the number “20” in the lower right corner at the front. The numeral’s color appearance should shift from copper to green.

Another way to prove if the note is real or not is to look for the microprinting for which you may need a magnifying glass. To the right of the image, look for the small letters “USA20” written on the border of the very first initial words of the blue “TWENTY USA” ribbon.

Do Old 20 Dollar Bills Have Watermarks?

To check if the 20-dollar bill has a watermark put it up against the light, and you’ll notice the picture of the person who was printed on the note on either side of it.

Eran Hayo is the Chief Editor of Jewels Advisor, with over 5 years of experience in the fields of jewelry and memorabilia. He built Jewels Advisor to serve one main purpose – to teach you everything he knows about jewelry, and help you make better-informed decisions when buying diamonds and engagement rings online. His work has been cited on famous publications such as The Sun, MSN and WikiHow.