Paper Money

Matched serial numbers topic of Vegas show exhibit

An exhibit by a Nevada collector of his unusual collection of Series 2013 star notes for the New York Federal Reserve district, including pairs of duplicate serial numbers, was on display at the Vegas National Coin Show.

Images provided by notes’ owner.

The Vegas National Coin Show Aug. 26 through 28 had on display more than the usual bourse material for sale. Included also was an exhibit by a Nevada collector, who requested anonymity, of his unusual collection of Series 2013 star notes from the New York Federal Reserve district.

What makes these otherwise not rare notes worthy of exhibition is that the notes form the world’s largest collection of matched pairs of duplicate serial numbers.

One of the collector’s matched pairs was in the news last year when Coin World reported on the notes. It was not common knowledge at the time that he had many more. The exhibit, an array of five cases, each with multiple notes, shows how many more.

They exist only because of a mistake by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, where Series 2013 $1 star notes were printed in Washington, D.C., for the New York Federal Reserve Bank in October and November 2014 with serial numbers going from B00000001* to B00250000* in October and next from B03200001* to B09600000*. Then, two years later, in June and July of 2016, the same numbers were used at the Western Facility in Fort Worth, Texas, again for $1 Series 2013 star notes. This was not supposed to happen, and it is easy to identify the error examples, because the letters FW are clearly printed before the lower right plate number.

The difficulty involved in finding these matched pairs is that 6.65 million sets are possible, and most people are not collectors and so do not look closely at their money. When the Federal Reserve System last reported on the lifespan of U.S. paper money in December 2018, a $1 bill had a life expectancy of 6.6 years, so the clock could well be ticking out on the chances of finding many more pairs.

For those paper money collectors who enjoy the challenge of looking for the matched serial number notes in circulation, a website called Project2013B to keep track of these star notes has a spreadsheet with several thousand entries of individual notes, not all valid, as of Aug. 30.

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