Rarity of paper money is based on the number printed or what's in circulation?

Paper Money Market Analysis from the Oct. 6, 2014, issue of Coin World
By , Coin World
Published : 09/19/14
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Is it possible that a Federal Reserve note can be called “rare” when 1.4 billion of them have been printed?

In the case of the Series 2009 $100 FRNs, the answer is yes.

Near the end of 2010, creasing in the sheets of currency paper during the production of the Series 2009 $100 FRNs was blamed on the notes’ highly sophisticated anti-counterfeiting properties.

A total of about $3 billion worth of paper currency, or 30 million individual notes, were reported as defective. Although Series 2009 $100 FRNs are assigned the Friedberg numbers 2184, for those printed at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s Washington, D.C., facility, and 2185, for those printed at BEP’s Fort Worth, Texas, facility, they are not listed in Coin World’s Paper Money Values because none of them have been released into circulation.

The BEP has assured the Federal Reserve that the majority of the already printed Series 2009 $100 FRNs will eventually be released to use. 

We wonder (considering the economics, if nothing else), if this will really be the case, or if they are instead destined for the shredder and landfill.

Estimating the value of the unreleased Series 2009 $100 FRNs is speculation. Since the BEP reports only the number of notes produced, we do not know for sure what notes are issued until they appear in circulation.

The amount of notes printed is not nearly as important as the number of them reported in circulation and available.

Currently the BEP posts monthly production reports on a special page at its website. Those reports show the BEP’s actual production. But before they are delivered to the Federal Reserve, the notes must pass a final quality inspection. Notes that do not pass the final inspection are not delivered to the Federal Reserve and are not reported in annual delivery totals.

Now in circulation are redesigned Series 2009A $100 FRNs, which began circulating on Oct. 8, 2013. The Federal Reserve decided to add the letter A after the series year date to acknowledge the gap in production between the time the design was approved in 2009 and the time the first notes were released.

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