Most notes printed after 1934 aren’t collectible unless they are in near-perfect condition and have a star serial number. Many non-collectors are surprised notes from the 1950(A-E) series are still circulating, and mistakenly think they’ve struck it rich.
Paper money collectors always get a rush when the bank teller hands them a star note, or something less common like a North Africa Silver Certificate or Hawaii Brown Seal. Although the notes might be a bit beat up from circulating for several decades, in rare cases they are as good as new, deposited at the bank by a customer cleaning out a family member’s house.
We’ve also received calls from people with 1963 $1 Barr Notes found at Walmart or their local pizza parlor. Non-collectors are usually startled because they are so used to the latest colorized designs and signatures. Sometimes they think they’re getting handed counterfeit currency, when in reality the note they possess is authentic.
More importantly, are notes from the mid to late 1900s valuable?
In most cases, they are not collectible unless they are in perfect condition and/or have a star serial number. Old notes that find their way into your local bank might be creased, stained, or have handwriting marks that greatly decrease their collectible value. A circulated 1950 $100 bill is definitely a surprising find, but in reality it’s value is not much more than face unless perfectly preserved.
If you come across any notes that fit the below description(s), please contact us!
Call: (USA) +1-860-322-5415
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (send a photo or scan of your note attached for a faster appraisal)
1. Condition – Anything with “normal” circulation and several folds/creases is less collectible. A note that looks like it just came off the presses is much more desirable. These notes are known as “Uncirculated” or more commonly “Mint Condition”. The note must be near perfect to meet this high standard.
2. Star serial number – Star serial numbers are much rarer than normal serial numbers, because they are printed as replacements for notes that returned to the Treasury as damaged. Star serial number plus near-perfect condition is usually a formula for a valuable note. Some star notes printed since 1934 aren’t collectible if they are damaged or have been handled extensively. Still, feel free to contact us for a FREE appraisal of your star note!
3. Unique Serial Number – See if the serial number itself has anything unique or interesting about its pattern of digits. For example, is it 12345678, or 00000002, or 33334444, or 00001945 (a birth year note). Notes with interesting patterns of digits or very low numbers (under 100) are highly collectible, even if they were printed in the 1990s. See our table of collectible serial number patterns below.
4. Notes that have BOTH a star and a unique serial number (even more valuable). Star notes with “Fancy Serial Numbers” (as they are known in the hobby) are rarer and therefore more collectible, even if the note itself has a few folds, slight damage, or evidence of handling. In this case, the star and fancy serial number outweigh the note’s condition.
5. Notes with authentic printing errors (ink smears, missing prints, inverted reverses, foreign matter, etc.) All notes with suspected B.E.P. printing errors must be authenticated before any collector will purchase them. Error note experts might be able to appraise a note based on a scan or photo, but most dealers prefer to see it in person before making an offer. Modern technology and desktop image manipulation software makes it easy to produce fake error notes. It’s best to have error notes graded, authenticated, and identified by a grading service like Paper Money Guarantee or PCGS Currency.
If you come across any notes that fit the above description(s), please contact us!
Call: (USA) +1-860-322-5415
Email: email@example.com (send a photo or scan of your note attached for a faster appraisal) Table of collectible serial numbers (letters and digits can vary except in cases of birth year, low numbers, or ladder numbers).
|Special Serial||Known As|
|Number with *||Star Serial|
|A00000001A||Number 1 Serial|
|A00000310A||Low Serial (under 2000)|
|A99999976A||High (over 99999900 )|
|A00001960A||Birth Year Serial|
|A12345678A||Perfect Up Ladder|
|A87654321A||Perfect Down Ladder|
|A00001234A||Partial Up Ladder|
|A87650000A||Partial Down Ladder|
|A33333333A||Solid Serial Number|
|A70004444A||Partial Solid Number|
|A00033000A||Palindrome or “Radar”|
|A66668666A||7 of a Kind (the 6’s)|
|A45555555A||7 in a row (the 5’s)|
|A10101110A||Binary (only 1’s & 0’s)|
|A01010101A||Binary Super Repeater|