The Oct. 8 release of the Series 2009A $100 Federal Reserve notes
has sent collectors scrambling to find notes with “fancy” serial
numbers and “star” notes.
“Fancy” serial numbers are rare and interesting arrangements of
serial numbers that can be found on U.S. paper money. Star notes are
replacement notes. Both categories of notes are popular with
collectors, and examples of each category can bring premiums in the marketplace.
On Oct. 12, William “Billy” Baeder became among the first to
announce discovery of a note with a fancy serial number. He posted an
image of a “repeater” Series 2009A $100 FRN with serial number
LF09900990A on the U.S. & World Currency Forum at Collectors
A repeater note is one with a serial number that has a repeating
sequence of numbers; on Baeder’s note, 0990 repeats.
The note Baeder posted was printed for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
Baeder, who runs the Internet-based paper money firm www.usarare.com, which his late
father, Willy Baeder, founded, said his father started collecting
these “fancy” serial numbered notes in the late 1960s.
Baeder said he has continued to hunt for these notes for his clients.
Another forum member, who goes by the forum ID of “cpolen,” posted
an image of a note with a radar serial number, LL89788798A. The
numerals in a radar serial number, like the letters in the word
“radar,” read the same in both directions (for the note, 8978 8798).
The note was printed for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
Collectors and dealers have also been finding star note versions
of the new $100 notes.
On Oct. 9, John DeRocker, who uses the nickname “TheRock” on the
currency forum, posted images of two star notes he found while
searching a “brick” of Series 2009A $100 FRNs. A brick contains 4,000
He said one of the six banks where he “has contacts” who
will let him know when they receive orders of new notes called him to
let him know it had just received a shipment of the new $100 FRNs.
“They held the entire brick for me to look at,” before sending it
through their counting machines, according to DeRocker. While
searching the “brick” he found the two star notes.
Federal Reserve notes bearing a star instead of a suffix letter
following the serial number are replacement notes. These notes are
produced to replace defective notes discovered at the Bureau of
Engraving and Printing during inspection.
Star notes are printed in smaller quantities than regular notes.
The serial numbers on the two star notes DeRocker found are
LG06729164★ and LG06729165★. The two consecutively numbered star notes
were printed for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
Another PCGS Currency Forum poster, who goes by the nickname
“musky1011,” reported on Oct. 16 that he received a Series 2009A $100
FRN from an ATM in Milwaukee. While his note does not bear a “fancy”
serial number (it has LG443994473A), his ATM find does illustrate that
the new notes have entered commerce channels.
A number of the new notes, some being star notes and others being
“normal” notes with nothing unusual about the serial number, were
being offered in auctions on eBay in the days following their
In an auction closing Oct. 23, a note for the Federal
Reserve Bank of Chicago with serial number LG04253808★ realized a
winning bid of $136.15. The seller described the note as being Crisp
Uncirculated, with “nice margins & centering.”
The latter phrase refers to how well-centered the design elements
are on the note.
In a sale closing Oct. 22, another star note for the Chicago bank,
with serial number LG04917746★, sold for $145.10. The seller described
the note as being Uncirculated with “Perfectly even borders.”
A star note for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, with serial
number LB03238328★, realized $168.50 in a sale closing Oct. 22. The
seller described it as “very rare,” with a “low serial” number.
A pair of star notes for the New York Federal Reserve Bank with
consecutive serial numbers (LB08055171★ and LB08055172★) sold for $255
in an eBay auction that closed Oct. 20.
An early transaction (closing Oct. 13) for a star note brought a
slightly higher price than those previously stated here, at $172.50.
The price may have been buoyed by the “Low Serial Number” of LC00488461★.
The note started at $125 and six different bidders participated in
Various “normal” notes in completed auctions sold for such prices
as $114.50 (Atlanta bank) and $226.99 (for a pair of Cleveland notes
with consecutive serial numbers LD35258448A and LD35258449A).
Many of the completed eBay auctions for normal notes resulted in
prices between $110 and $120. On Oct. 12 one sold for just $105.
Fancy numbers, Fed banks
In addition to the notes with “repeater” and “radar” serial
numbers, “fancy” serial numbered notes fall into the following categories:
➤ Notes with serial number 00000001.
➤ Notes with low serial numbers, 2 through 100.
➤ Notes with solid serial numbers, such as 11111111, 22222222 and
➤ Notes with serial numbers like 01234567 or 98765432, called full
Collectors can determine what Federal Reserve Bank a note was
printed for by looking at the double prefix letters before the serial
number. The first letter indicates the series year date and the second
letter indicates the Federal Reserve Bank.
Double prefix letters in front of the serial number were
introduced beginning in 1996 when the $100 FRN was first redesigned.
Previously, just one prefix letter, representing the FR bank, was
used. The double prefix letters also appears on the redesigned $50,
$20, $10, and $5 FRNs released since 1996.
The letter and number combination beneath the left serial number
also identifies the issuing Federal
Reserve Bank with its corresponding letter and number. Each of the
12 Federal Reserve banks has a unique letter and corresponding number.
➤ The A1 letter-number combination is assigned to the Federal
Reserve Bank of Boston.
➤ B2 is for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
➤ C3 is for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
➤ D4 is for the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
➤ E5 is for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
➤ F6 is for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
➤ G7 is for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
➤ H8 is for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
➤ I9 is for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
➤ J10 is for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City;
➤ K11 is for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
➤ L12 is for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
All Series 2009A $100 FRNs so far reported were printed at the
Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s Western Currency Facility in Fort
Worth, Texas. The “FW” facility mark is located above the serial
number in the upper left corner of the face of the note. ■