As I said in part one, The Basics, there are many different ways to collect currency. In this post I’ll talk about some collectible notes you may find in your change. They are called Star Notes. Star Notes are notes that replace regular notes that are misprinted or damaged during routine production. A run of Star Notes are printed first and set aside. Then printers will start the regular run of notes. If one of these notes is found to have errors, then that note is destroyed and a Star Note is taken from the previous run batch and put in place of the note(s) that were removed.
Notes are printed in secession of serial numbers and put in stacks of 100 notes per bundle. If you examine a bundle of these notes you will see that the serial numbers are in order. If a note is found to be defective they do not re-print that serial number. A Star Note is put in its place with a totally different serial number. (The Star Notes that were run first did have consecutive serial numbers of course.) If an error is found in the run of Star Notes, then it is just destroyed. No need to replace it. It is possible to have enough errors that you can find whole bundles of Star Notes.
Because Star Notes are semi-rare, they are considered collectible. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing keeps records of how many regular and Star Notes they print. So it is easy to get an idea of how rare a regular run of notes can be compared to other runs. But they do not keep track of how many Star Notes are actually put in circulation. This makes it hard to know how rare a certain Star note is until they are in circulation for a while and see how many turn up in the market place.
How do you spot a Star Note?
The difference between a Star Note and a regular note is that the Star Note has a “star” in place of the last letter of the serial number, as you can see in the following photo.
It is located at the end of the serial number on Federal Reserve Notes, which are what modern notes are. On other type notes the star replaces the first letter.
What are these ‘other’ type of notes, you ask? I’ll save that for another post.