Paper Money

How you can track a FRN's travels in circulation

Collectors can visit the website to register and/or track notes that have been rubber-stamped with a message referencing the website.

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Readers Ask column from Dec. 19, 2016, Weekly issue of Coin World:

From time to time, Coin World receives inquiries from readers and other collectors about the appearance in circulation of $1 Federal Reserve notes bearing a stamped message in red ink referencing I’ve come across such notes on several occasions, the most recent on Oct. 14 at the local McDonald’s restaurant in Sidney, Ohio. For our print readers who can’t access the website to learn what "Where’s George?" is all about, we offer an explanation.

Multiple email inquiries

Hank Eskin began Where’s George? on Dec. 23, 1998, as a one-man operation, and it continues today as a solo venture.

Eskin introduced the site simply for fun, as he explains on the website: “Where’s George? was not created to make money or collect email addresses or anything like that. It was created to simply allow people to track their currency as it circulates around the country and around the world. The funds generated from the banner ads and the Friends program go to help pay for the hardware, software, and bandwidth it takes to keep the site running. The point is to have fun tracking your dollar bills and interacting with thousands of other fun and interesting people here at Where’s George?”

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The basic program costs nothing for users to participate. The Friends of Where’s George program provides enhanced features for a small fee.

Where’s George? used to offer for sale rubber stamps with which users could stamp notes, but it no longer offers the rubber stamps. The stamps new participants use are custom made and vary. 

The website reveals that the Series 2013 $1 FRN I received in change from my McDonald’s purchase entered circulation as a Crisp Uncirculated note May 6, 2016, in Collierville, Tenn., from a $100 strap of notes acquired from First Citizens National Bank in Collierville.

My posting was the first on since the note entered circulation. It’s not known where else the note traveled before reaching Sidney, but the website tracks that, from the Collierville entry point, the note took 161 days, 4 hours and 52 minutes to travel the roughly 471 miles to Sidney, an average of 2.9 miles per day.

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