Collecting valuable 'fancy' serial numbered paper notes requires good observation skills

Readers Ask column from the Nov. 10, 2014, issue of Coin World
By , Coin World
Published : 10/25/14
Text Size

I found a $20 bill that has sequential serial numbers 66 77 88 99.

Is this bill worth more than $20?

Rick Laughridge  /  from Facebook

First thing — good eye!

Not everyone even notices serial numbers on Federal Reserve notes, so that’s an advantage to being a collector.

Serial numbers are in two places on all Federal Reserve notes, and on a note, the same eight-digit sequence should appear in both places.

What you have falls into the category of what collectors refer to as “fancy” notes and, more specifically, it is a “repeater” note. This serial number repeats digits in pairs.

Fancy notes feature rare and interesting arrangements of serial numbers:

  • Solid serial numbers.
  • Repeating digits, like 77755588.
  • Low serial numbers, 2 through 100.
  • Numbers reading the same forward as backward, or “radar” notes.
  • Full or partial “ladder” notes, with serial numbers like 12345678 or 87654321.

The Series 1924E $1 Federal Reserve note illustrating this column is an example of what collectors call a “fancy” serial number. It sold for $35 in an Aug. 26, 2014, Heritage Auction.

The note also happens to be a replacement or “star” note because a star symbol is in place of the letter at the end of the serial number. 

Star notes are from sheets of replacement notes that are prepared for when a printing error or damage is discovered on a sheet during inspection at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

Star notes are more scarce than normal notes because they are printed in smaller quantities than regular notes.

You are signed in as:null
No comments yet