I really need to watch my money.

Not so much how I spend it – although that might be a good idea as well – but the actual money itself, on those rare occasions when I'm using cash rather than my debit card. And lately that's mighty rare.

This past week, however, I had a bit'o cash that I was using for breakfasts, lunches and occasionally dinners and tips. I'd started the week with $100 and by Friday I was down to $2. Yeah, I really need to watch how I spend it.

Heather and I went to 7-11 Friday night to pick up a 2 liter of Diet Pepsi which cost $1.89. I gave the cashier my last two bills and she proceeded to examine them as though I were up to something sneaky. Then a look came over her face reminiscent of the face that I wold have when I changed my infant son's diaper.

I thought to myself, "Oh great. I didn't even glance at the bills. I'll bet someone drew a dick on one of them or something."

She finished her scrutinizing and then said to me, "I can't accept this," and handed the bill back to me.

I took it and looked the face over to see what was wrong. At first it seemed just fine, but then I twigged to what was fishy. It wasn't a dollar bill. It was this (minus the writing I added to avoid jail time – click for bigger):

A Silver Certificate from 1957! I was shocked! I have no idea when it was given to me as change, but man I was tickled! I've never been so glad to have had a diligent counter clerk before in my life! That bill had been circulating for 49 years! I think it's the oldest paper money that I've ever had in my possession. Sure, it probably sat around for awhile during those 49 years, but still!

Here's the other bill so you can compare the faces without cracking your own wallet (same stuff applies on the clicky and jail avoidance):

I told the cashier that it was fine and I would pay for the soda with my debit card. She was still looking at me like I was trying to pull a fast one. Yeah lady, counterfeiting 'ones' is the fast track to financial freedom and acceptance within the Mob.

I have no idea if the bill is worth more than a dollar, or worth even a dollar – it does still state that it "is legal tender for all debts, public and private" – but that doesn't really matter to me. I'll be happy to hold on to it.

Also, of course, Wikipedia has an entry about Silver Certificates here. It's an interesting read.


Pat Angello said…
That's pretty cool!

I have a $5 from 1935. Never looked to see if it's worth anything, but I was a little freaked out when I saw it as well.

I'm surprised the clerk actually looked at it!
I was at work one day when a customer handed me a $20 -- it looked a tad strange, but I chalked it up to being very, very crisp and flat. Later on I looked at it again -- 1934. Sweet.
Derek Knight said…
holy...crap...THAT'S AWESOME!

Hang on to that, it's a collector's item (and not like a limited edition mcdonald's toy type of collector's item, either.)
Conqueress said…
In the average curculated condition your is in, the 1957 $1.00 Silver Certificate is worth about $3.00. If it had a "Black Star" seal the value would go up to over $50.00. Great treasure for you! Those bills are getting to be harder & harder to find :-D
Andy K said…
I used to run across odd/old money occasionally when I worked retail. I would buy the weird bills if I ever had the chance. I once had someone use a $2 bill from 1922 to buy something. Instead of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on the back it had a likeness of Monticello. And the seal on the front was red rather than green. The first time I ever got a weird bill was when I worked an ice cream stand in high school. I got this strange bill with really dark ink that raised my suspicions (for some reason, the ink on old bills seems to get darker). Then I noticed it had no "In God We Trust" on the back. In my naive 14 year old mind, I thought it was conterfeit too. Turns out, it was old and printed before they started putting that phrase on money. Check yours out and see if it's missing too.
Wendy said…
I can't believe the clerk didn't realize what it was! I always watched for stuff like that when I was a bank teller. Most interesting thing I found was a 1934 ten dollar bill. That was 15 years ago and I've still got it.
Kathleen said…
I think you should have informed the clerk that refusing to accept legal tender for a debt wipes out the debt. And I can't believe she didn't think it was real. I guess that's why she's working at 7-11 on a Friday night.

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