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Serial numbers


Finn235
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I've been flipping through any banknotes i've come across in circulation for a while now, and I was wondering if anybody knows the method behind the serial numbers on Federal Reserve Notes. I've figured out that the first letter corresponds with the note's reserve bank, but I can't figure out what the last letter means. I know that any notes with a * were misprinted, destroyed, and reprinted, but some letters seem to be more difficult to find than others. A-F seem to be extremely common, with an occasional M popping up here and there. About a month ago I found a $100 bill that had an X as the last digit of the serial number. After checking over 1,000 other bills, I have not seen this again.

 

I couldn't find anything through some preliminary research. Does anybody know the method behind the serial number assignment?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Don't know if you where asking specifically about US notes or serial numbers in general but the first letter on Euro banknotes indicates the country of issue. In addition the serial numbers on Euro notes do not increment by one as with most notes, the serial numbers have a double checksum which means they increment in odd patterns (varies by issuing country). They also have a separate printer code.

 

Euro Serial Numbers

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One item in that link is not correct, the serial numbers are applied at the BEP printing plants. Also, normally, only the numbers from (x)00000001(x) to (x)96000000(x) are used for circulating notes. The numbers above that are used on uncut sheets that are sold to the public - protecting the collecting hobby against unscrupulous people trying to cut and sell their own 'errors', even though it is perfectly legal to cut up uncut sheets and spend the individual notes. Every year or so I get a note that was indeed cut from an uncut sheet and spent into circulation.

 

Mike

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In addition the serial numbers on Euro notes do not increment by one as with most notes, the serial numbers have a double checksum which means they increment in odd patterns (varies by issuing country).

Ah, but notes from a certain "bunch" do increment by one. As you mentioned, just ignore the last digit which is a checksum. :ninja: However, I guess the OP is interested in US notes ...

 

Christian

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  • 1 month later...

I did a little bit of searching, and I noticed that while a vast majority of bills with an unremarkable serial number do not fetch much of a premium over face value even if they're star notes or old silver/gold certificates, certain serial numbers of interest (such as x00000123x or x12345678x) fetch a handsome premium.

 

Is there any sort of logic behind what collectors value, aside from incredibly low serial numbers or serial numbers in sequence?

 

A couple days ago, somebody gave me a handful of $100 bills that had evidently been cut from a sheet starting with 988-something, along with a $1 bill that had a serial number something like x76000001x. Are either of these of interest?

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  • 2 weeks later...
I did a little bit of searching, and I noticed that while a vast majority of bills with an unremarkable serial number do not fetch much of a premium over face value even if they're star notes or old silver/gold certificates, certain serial numbers of interest (such as x00000123x or x12345678x) fetch a handsome premium.

 

Is there any sort of logic behind what collectors value, aside from incredibly low serial numbers or serial numbers in sequence?

 

A couple days ago, somebody gave me a handful of $100 bills that had evidently been cut from a sheet starting with 988-something, along with a $1 bill that had a serial number something like x76000001x. Are either of these of interest?

 

The dollar bill must have been a silver certificate, since $1 Federal Reserve notes cannot begin with X, only A-L.

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I used the X simply because I could not remember what it was, and because I know the feds get funny when it comes to the serial numbers on reserve notes. Trust me, if I can flip through a good sized stack of singles and pick out every last star note and notes from before Series 1993 just by looking at the signatures on the bill, I'd be able to pull out a silver certificate in the blink of an eye. :ninja:

 

About a week ago, somebody gave me a $50 bill with the serial number of something like xx00000420x. I couldn't bring myself to mark it with the iodine test, but I didn't have 50 bucks on hand to trade for it, so I just talked one of the other cashiers into trading for it at the end of the day, just so I could sleep at night. It would probably have been worth a pretty penny, had it not been for a small tear that was patched up with tape.

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