All small-size paper currency issued by the United States has two
serial numbers, one on either side of the face, and most of the times,
the numbers match as intended. When the numbers do not match, even an
otherwise common note becomes something rare.
A Series 1934 $10 silver certificate offered in Heritage Auctions’ April 29 Platinum
Night U.S. Currency Auction bears two different serial numbers: the
one at lower left is ★00000055A and the one on the right is ★00000051A.
Note the solid black star at the beginning of each serial number.
The stars make this note even more unusual, in that “star notes” are
replacement notes, each printed to substitute for an earlier note that
was rejected for being an error or in some other way inferior. Star
notes are printed in much smaller numbers that regular notes; to find
a star note that itself also bears an error is considered remarkable
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So how did this happen? Heritage offers a theory:
“The Track &
Price census for this issue shows no low star numbers known, and
our surmise here, considering that this error occurred on one of the
very first star sheets produced at the Bureau, is that the numbering
machine was set incorrectly and the entire first star printing was
cancelled and destroyed before any of the mismatched notes were
released to the public.”
Collectors crave variety in their coins: Inside
While 20th and 21st century coin varieties share very few
characteristics of older varieties, collectors have a wide range of
coins to choose from..
While that is a distinct possibility, one other cause theoretically
exists. The portion of the equipment that overprints the serial
numbers on a note is designed to automatically change with each sheet
that is printed (multiple notes are printed per sheet, with each note
overprinted by two serial numbers wheels). Sometimes, one or more
number cogs on a serial number wheel can stick and not change.
Whichever scenario is the right one, the note is “unique to our best
knowledge, and the ultimate star note error we have ever seen or heard
of,” according to Heritage.
The silver certificate is from the Jeffrey S. Jones Collection of
Small Size Currency. Heritage writes about the collector’s
appreciation for the note, saying, “There are many notes which could
be considered ‘favorites’ in a collection of this magnitude, but Jeff
had a special place in his heart for this note, which he purchased
privately for $26,000,” before adding, “He has seen no others, we have
seen no others. ...”
Paper Money Guaranty graded the note Choice About Uncirculated 58
Exceptional Paper Quality, indicating that the note has only slight
wear and has paper that is in a higher state of preservation than
similar notes lacking the EPQ designation.
The note has an estimate of $20,000 to $40,000, according to Heritage.