If you have old $1 or $2 bills sitting around, you can still use them as legal tender – but that might soon change.

The federal government is looking for the authority to cancel the designations of those bills, as well as the $25, $500 and $1,000 notes.

If that happens, retailers would no longer be required to accept those bills, although they would still have the option of doing so.

The bills could still be redeemed for their face value at bank branches for a limited time, and at the Bank of Canada in perpetuity.

In a lot of cases, that will likely soon be the only way to get anything for the cash – but Steven Bell of Kitchener’s Colonial Acres Coins says taking old bills straight to the bank isn’t the best course of action.

“I wouldn’t really suggest it, because … these bills (may) have collectible values that far overshoot their face values,” he says.

“I fear that this will cause a bit of a hysteria for people to just go down to their local bank and cash them in. I stress to you: Do not do that without talking to a professional first.”

While late-run $1 and $2 bills are unlikely to have much value to collectors, Bell says there are some series of the banknotes which could contain blemishes or aberrations making them much more rare and much more valuable.

“It would be a shame to have a lot of these numismatic marvels just be destroyed by the Bank of Canada,” he says.

Canada last produced $1 bills in 1988 and $2 bills in 1996. After that, the notes were replaced with coins.

Older banknotes are considered much easier to counterfeit due to their lack of security features as compared to more modern bills.

With reporting by Max Wark