The inscription of “In God We Trust,” a motto of the United States, is one of the most recognizable parts of American currency today. Nevertheless, this motto only began appearing on United States notes in 1957 with the release of the 1957 dollar bill.
“In God We Trust” is now considered the official motto of the United States after it gradually replaced “E Pluribus Unum” (“Out of many, one”), which appeared on the initial design of the Great Seal of the United States and effectively became the de facto motto.
The new motto—which is a derivation from a bible verse, Psalm 56:11—traces its root back to the American Civil War, during which it appeared in some form as the motto of various camps in a bid to infer God’s support for the cause and to boost the morale of the infantry.
Eventually, the phrase found its way onto United States currency (a key driver behind its popularity) in 1863, when it was recommended to the Mint by Salmon P. Chase, the Treasury Secretary under President Abraham Lincoln and a lifelong evangelical Episcopalian. Backed by legislation that allowed its use (Coinage Act of 1864,) the motto appeared on 2 cent coins that went into circulation in 1864.
While the use of the motto on the 2 cent coin initially received some pushback from non-religious segments of the society, it eventually grew upon most of the citizenry, with many quickly regarding it as a core symbol of national pride.
The motto continued to appear on select United States coins but did not appear on notes until the 1957 dollar bill.
Legislation signed by President Dwight Eisenhower in July 1955 mandated the use of the phrase “In God We Trust” on all American currency, effectively making it the official motto of the United States.
Two years later, in 1957, the motto appeared on paper currency for the first time, appearing on the one dollar silver certificate note circulated by the Mint in October of that year.
However, being the first to feature this motto is not the only momentous significance of the 1957 dollar bill.
This silver certificate was also the last dollar silver certificate issued by the United States government before the currency type was rendered obsolete and replaced with Federal Reserve notes.
The United States Federal Reserve produced silver certificates (including the one dollar silver certificate) from 1886 to 1957. During their use, these notes could be redeemed for their equivalent in silver bullion at any time.
However, with increases in silver prices making these notes considerably more valuable than their face value, the Federal Reserve reneged on the agreement, ending their redeemability for silver and ceasing their production in 1957.
While the 1957 dollar bill is not the most valuable old note out there, collectors of this note can take pride in the fact that it sports the first iteration of the legendary “In God We Trust” motto on United States bills, and it is also the last of its kind (one dollar silver certificates) ever to be printed.
These factors make this unique bill an interesting part of American monetary history, and an excellent pick for new, upcoming currency collectors.
What is the 1957 dollar bill worth?
The 1957 dollar bill’s large supply means that it is not particularly rare and is quite easy to find in decent condition on the collector’s market. Consequently, the note is not worth a substantial resale value.
On average, you should expect pristine, uncirculated specimens of this note to sell for around $12 – $18 apiece. Star notes are worth slightly higher and can reach up to double this price range.
Lower condition notes will retail for much less, typically in the $2 to $5 range.
1957 Dollar Bill Supply and Rarity
While the 1957 dollar has all the trappings of being an excellent collector’s item, its one major letdown is its circulated supply and rarity statistics.
For the 1957 issue of the one dollar silver certificate, a massive 5.3 billion note units were printed. The supply statistic includes all of the one-dollar-denominated notes issued that year, including all variants of the regular-issue bills, all signature combinations, and star notes produced as replacement notes for damaged pieces.
This sizable amount of the currency released that year ensures an abundance of specimens available to collectors. The release was so abundant that you can still find examples of this note in regular circulation today.
The total supply of this note was released in 3 instances, creating 3 different series: 1957, 1957A, and 1957B.
The regular 1957 series sports a Priest-Anderson signature combination; the 1957A features one from Smith-Dillon, while the 1957B was signed by Granahan-Dillon.
However, the total supply of the note is fairly distributed across all three series. As such, none of these bill types is considerably rarer than the other, and they consequently attract comparable demand levels by collectors. The 1957 dollar bill also does not have any special rare varieties.
1957 Dollar Bill Value
As we have already highlighted above, the 1957 dollar bill is not rare. Consequently, you should not expect considerable resale prices for any regular notes from this series. However, when you factor in that a massive 5.3 billion units of this silver certificate was printed and released, you would appreciate its current market prices better.
On average, you should expect pristine, uncirculated specimens of this note to sell for around $12 – $15 apiece.
The major exceptions that sell above this price point are star notes, special in-demand error notes, and bills that possess exceptional aesthetics and are considered by collectors to possess an abnormally high level of eye appeal.
However, only notes that meet the cutoff for uncirculated quality, an MS 63 (PCGS Choice UNC PPQ63) rating, will attract prices in this range. Notes of a lower condition will retail for significantly less.
Expect notes of lower condition to retail for anywhere between $2 to $5. Damaged notes will typically sell for around a face value of $1.
There is also some minor price discrepancy for 1957 dollar bills, depending on the series they belong to.
Standard circulation notes from the regular 1957 series typically retail higher than comparable options from the other two releases. You can expect these notes to retail for $16 to $18 in an uncirculated MS 63 rating.
In contrast, standard regulation notes from Series 1957-A will sell for a meager $10 – $12, while Series 1957-B will only bring in $8 – $10.
There is significantly more parity amongst star notes as uncirculated star notes from both the regular 1957 series and Series 1957-A sell for around $20 – $22, while star notes from Series 1957-B can reach $24.
1957 Dollar Bill Value Chart
Refer to the table below for an approximate estimate of the market value of the 1957 silver certificate.
It is important to note that these values only estimate the value of notes in the matching grade. United States bills exist in a wide range of condition ratings, and minor quality deviations can considerably affect the final price.
The best way to use this chart is not as a fixed shopping price list but as a general guide for making better market decisions.
|Note Type⬇\Average Quality➜||Damaged||Good Quality||MS 63 (Uncirculated)||MS 64 or Higher|
|Series 1957||Less than $3||$3 – $5||$16 – $18||$18+|
|Series 1957 Star Note||Less than $10||$10 – $12||$20 – $22||$22+|
|Series 1957-A||Less than $3||$3 – $5||$10 – $12||$12+|
|Series 1957-A Star Note||Less than $10||$10 – $12||$20 – $22||$22+|
|Series 1957-B||Less than $3||$3 – $5||$8 – $10||$10+|
|Series 1957-B Star Note||Less than $10||$10 – $12||$20 – $24||$24+|
1957 Dollar Bill Error Notes
Despite the massive supply of this note, with 5.3 billion units released, there is a relatively tiny amount of variation in the circulated supply. This is unsurprising, considering that this bill mirrors the same design on the preceding notes.
Furthermore, there is no aggressive demand on 1957 dollar error bills as most of the existing errors are relatively minor, such as a slight displacement or overprint. Consequently, you will be hard-pressed to find a 1957 dollar silver certificate with an error that accrues any substantial resultant market value.
However, valuing error notes is a tough business, as the final price always depends on the subjective value placed on it by collectors at the auction.
Hence, if you suspect your 1957 one dollar silver certificate is a notable error note, it is best to get a currency-collecting expert’s perspective before listing it for sale.
The Mismatched Serial Error
One of the most valuable errors from the 1957 silver certificate series is the mismatch serial error. This error note, which features a mismatch between the two serial numbers printed on the note’s obverse, first appeared in circulation in 1963 at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Normally, both serial numbers that appear on a United States note should be identical. However, this unique error note has two different serial numbers, one that begins with “55” and the other beginning with “54.”
This issue stems from an error during the printing process, where the 5 and 4 were somehow substituted for each other.
While this error note is already quite rare and consequently valuable, some collections take things a step further by providing them in consecutive runs of serial numbers.
This collection of twenty of these error notes with consecutive serial numbers sold for $13,200 in 2019.
Another similar collection sold for $9600 in the same year.
Special 1957 Dollar Bills
Another category of 1957 dollar bills that can be just as valuable (or even more) than unique error notes are notes that pack a distinguishing unique feature valued highly by collectors on the open market.
These distinctive features that can make a note considerably more valuable than it typically would include rare seal/signature combinations, unique serial numbers, and sets of bills that contain concurrent serial numbers.
To better understand the nature of the bills in this category, let’s look at some of the most recent heavy hitters.
Solid Serial Number 88888888
For a taste of how serial numbers can make collectible notes more valuable, look no further than this unique 1957 silver certificate.
The note features a special serial number that contains a solid block of 8s. This unique feature elevates a note that should typically cost under $30 to a value range in thousands of dollars.
The serial number 88888888 is a popular one amongst currency collectors in the United States, and this highly sought-after bill reflects that massive demand. The last sale of this note occurred at an auction in January 2022, during which the bill sold for $8,700, earning it the title of the currently most expensive 1957 silver certificate.
Other top-selling solid serial number 1957 silver certificates include this Solid Serial Number 77777777 bill rated MS 67 that sold for $2,040 at auction in 2019. Another similarly-numbered note, a 1957 dollar bill with a block serial number of 4s, sold for 940 in 2017.
Low Serial Number X00000001A
Another category of notes that are always popular with collectors irrespective of their production year are bills that sport an extremely low serial number. Low serial number notes are the first notes produced in a block, creating significant sentimental value for collectors.
United States currencies are printed in huge blocks that produce millions of notes in each block for any particular series.
A single-block run of U.S. bills can produce up to 96 million notes. These resultant notes then bear a serial number combination that ranges between 00000001 to 96000000, with letters appended at the serial number’s start and/or end to indicate the producing block that created that note.
In a single block, there are only nine notes with single-digit serial numbers, 99 notes with double-digit serial numbers, 999 notes with triple-digit serial numbers, and only one note with the serial number 1.
Furthermore, other unique serial number variations can be even more sparsely distributed. For example, in a single block, there are only eight notes with solid serial numbers (11111111, 22222222, 33333333, 44444444, 55555555, 66666666, 77777777, and 88888888.)
Similarly, in each block, there are only two full ladder serial numbers, 12345678 and 87654321.
With such a small supply of these unique numbers in a block and the fact that the total circulation of a particular note series can be produced with a handful of blocks, notes that feature these serials can be considerably rarer than other regular bills.
Consequently, these notes typically attract dramatically higher prices than regular issue notes on the collector’s market.
Typically, collectors consider notes with two-digit serials (a serial number that is below 100) or three-digit serials (a serial number that is below 1000,) depending on the note series, to be considerably more valuable than the rest of the available supply.
However, with the 1957 dollar bill being a relatively more abundant note, specimens with such low serials are not hard to find. To find the genuinely valuable gems, you must go to notes with single-digit serials.
No note fits this bill better than this highly sought-after gem with the genesis serial X00000001A. Unsurprisingly, this rare note sold at an auction for $8050 in September 2005.
The key detail is that it was sold in 2005 and has not been available on the market since. Other similar notes like this twin specimen with serial J00000001A, which sold for $6037.50, and the similar-numbered L00000001A, which sold for $5175, all sold between 2004 and 2006 and have not appeared on the market since.
Consequently, it is safe to assume that these notes with single-digit serials—especially those with serial number 1—are the most sought-after 1957 dollar bills by collectors. If they were to go on sale today, they would easily break the records set by the currently most valuable notes in the series.
Matching Serial X00000032A
Low serial numbers are already one of the most valuable serial number combinations in most series. However, there are other ways to make them even more valuable still.
In currency collection, like with all forms of collecting, a complete set of any particular variable across multiple series is almost always considerably more valuable than the sum of the value of the individual pieces if they are offered as standalone units. This phenomenon applies to 1957 dollar bills too.
While most low-serial 1957 dollar bills are not particularly valuable standalone, one of the most effective methods to increase their value is to offer them as part of a collection of matching serial numbers across blocks or variants of the series. This pair of notes does the latter, with an added twist.
The notes in this pair share the same serial number, “32.” However, their rarity as a duo is further compounded because they share the same block designation, “X-A.” One note was part of the Series A release of the 1957 one dollar silver certificate, while the other is from the Series B release that was circulated later that year.
This pair sold at an auction in 2023 for a respectable $2400, indicating how hard it is to find such a match on offer.
However, the notes do not have to match both the serial number and the block to attract a considerable ransom. For example, this pair of 1957 dollar bills, with matching serials from Series A and B but different block designations, sold for $1840 at an auction in 2006.
Star Note Pack with Consecutive Serial Numbers
Star notes is easily one of the most valuable variants in most note distribution. These notes are produced as replacement bills for those that are damaged during production.
In one production block of notes, there might only be a handful of these replacement notes added as substitutes for the bills that were destroyed. The result of this action is that star notes are often quite rare and sparsely distributed through the bulk of the bills in the series.
Consequently, these notes often appear singly inside packs of regular issues notes, as typically, only a few damaged notes (and then replacement notes) will be created in a large supply of bills.
By this implication, star notes are often rare, and it is hard to find a bunch of them on offer in one go.
Consequently, this bundle draws significant value from the collector’s market because it is a pack that contains only star notes. However, a slew of other factors combines to make this collection even more valuable.
The set is an original pack, issued that way, that still has the original BEP band (rubber-stamped in November 1963 by First Camden National Bank and Trust Company of Camden in New Jersey.
Furthermore, 99 of the notes in the pack have consecutive serial numbers, another feature that can significantly increase the collective value of a group of notes.
This pack of 100 star notes sold at auction for $2880 in 2023.
The only reason why a collection of notes with these features do not cost even more is because of the relative abundance and low price of the 1957 one-dollar silver certificate. With a rarer series, a collection like this could easily sell in the tens of thousands.
How do you find the value of a silver certificate?
We provide articles on this site that provide the best approximate values of all United States silver certificates. You can use the figures we quote to inform your market decisions and better understand the potential value of your note.
However, if you suspect that your note may be an especially valuable variation, you should consider having it appraised by a specialist.
How do I sell my silver certificate?
The best way to sell your note without major risks is to walk into your nearest local coin and currency dealers. If you have access, compare prices between multiple dealers, then settle for the best options.
You can also typically call these dealers for a price estimate beforehand.