These Canadian dollar bills are set to lose legal tender status on New Year’s Day

OTTAWA — If you have old $1 paper bills stashed away and ready to spend, retailers will not be required to accept the bills for day-to-day transactions as of Jan. 1.

The $1 and $2 paper bills, replaced by the Loonie and Toonie, will have their legal tender status removed on New Year’s Day.

The paper money brings back memories for Justine Davis. “I got these in 2007, I was working at a hotel downtown; and, I actually got these as a tip from an American Tourist,” Davis tells CTV News Ottawa as she is holding up a $1 and $2 bill. “They’re from 1954 and 1974; I hadn’t had them before, and I thought it was neat to hold onto.”

It is a tip she’s held onto since, “They’ve honestly been in my wallet the entire time.”

The Bank of Canada says the legal tender status will be removed from the $1, $2, $25, $500 and $1,000 bank notes as of Jan. 1, 2021. “Essentially, this means that Canadians may no longer be able to use them in transactions,” says a spokesperson for the Bank of Canada in a statement to CTV News Ottawa.

Although you probably have not paid with one in quite a while, the $1 bill and $2 bill stopped being issued in 1989 and 1996.

The $1,000 note was last issued in the year 2000, and both the $500 bill and special commemorative note were discontinued shortly after their issue in 1935.

What if you have old bills? The Bank of Canada says you can still hold on to them. “It is important to remember that these bank notes will not lose their value as of Jan. 1, 2021. The Bank of Canada will continue to honour them at face value. Financial institutions can also continue to accept these bank notes on behalf of their clients after their legal tender status is removed.”

Allanah Rossi is with Universal Coins on Bank Street, and says there are certain notes you may not want to take to the bank – “The $25 commemorative bill is actually exceedingly rare.”

Rare means it could be worth thousands of dollars, according to Rossi.

“There are two components to bank notes- it’s their rarity, but also their condition plays an important part.”

If you’re like most, however; you probably have the more common $1 or $2 bill.

“They may have supplemental value, but the reality is – all of the last series, from the 70’s and 80’s; they’re not going to have a lot of premium value,” said Rossi.

Rossi says if you are not sure, you should check with a coin dealer; she says many will evaluate what you have without cost.

As for Davis, she is holding onto the bills as a keepsake, “I have no problem in holding onto them forever, if I choose to.”

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