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A few years ago I sold a $50* for $2241 on eBay. It was from the 1930s and was from a rare bank. It had been given out by a bank to my mom, and I researched it enough to realize that it was a star note and would sell at a premium.
Bedrock of the Community
Stick around here for at least 48 more post and then sell it here on CCF, oh and . Can you post a few photos?
( I'm no pro, it's just my humble opinion )
The only star notes I have now are 1999 through 2006. I looked through them the other day to see how many were in the issues, and they're no great shakes. One starts with four zeroes. One is kind of crisp. <<<Offer to BST removed. Please read the forum rules for buying/selling/trading.>>>
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Star Note Values
Star notes are a highly collectible subset of United States currency. It is simple to spot a star note. A star note will have a serial number that either begins or ends with a star symbol. Scroll to the bottom of this page for pricing on dozens of star notes
Star notes were printed by The Bureau of Engraving and Printing to have on hand to replace money if it was misprinted. So instead of having to reprint the misprinted currency the BEP just placed the star notes into circulation. Keep in mind that star notes were printed with serial numbers starting at 00000001, so the star note serial number is not the same as the serial number that was destroyed.
Star notes come in three different varieties:
Large Size Stars Notes – 1880 – 1923:
Currency that is bigger than money today is known as large size currency. Star notes were first printed for large size currency in 1910. However, a lot of currency has a series year well before 1910 that was still being printed up to 1910 and after. So you can find star notes on large size notes with a series year as early as 1880. All large size star replacement notes have a star symbol with a hole in the center of the star. There are some large size notes, specifically from 1869, 1890, and 1891, that have a solid star as part of the serial number design. You can learn more about large size star notes here. If the star symbol is solid and not holed then the star is not a replacement star. See the picture below:
Small Size Star Notes – 1928 – 1934:
1928 marked the first year that current size, aka “small size”, currency was printed. Star notes were also issued for currency from 1928, 1933, and 1934. Star notes from this time period have a solid star symbol at the beginning or end of the serial number. The value of these star notes depends on condition and rarity. There is a guide below that should be helpful.
Small Size Star Notes – 1935 to Present:
1935 marked the first year of the open star symbol on small size currency. All star notes from 1935 and newer are considered fairly common. There are a few exceptions like the 1953B $5 silver certificate star note. However, most everything else will carry little to no premium. See the guide below for more pricing.
The table below will hopefully provide some useful information about the value of star notes. Keep in mind that condition and serial numbers are still very important when dealing with star notes. The list is sorted by denomination and then by year.
|1923 and older||various||various||see large size star guide|
|1928||$1||blue||common, $50 and up|
|1928A||$1||blue||common, $50 and up|
|1928B||$1||blue||common, $50 and up|
|1928C||$1||blue||rare, see guide|
|1928D||$1||blue||rare, see guide|
|1928E||$1||blue||rare, see guide|
|1934||$1||blue||common, $50 and up|
|1935A||$1||brown||common, $100 and up|
|1935A||$1||yellow||common, $100 and up|
|1935 (A-H)||$1||blue||common, about $3|
|1957 (A-B)||$1||blue||common, about $3|
|1963 and newer||$1||green||face value|
|1928B||$2||red||rare, see guide|
|1953 (A-C)||$2||red||common, about $5|
|1963 & A||$2||red||common, about $5|
|1976 and newer||$2||green||face value|
|1928||$5||green||depends on issuing district|
|1928A||$5||green||depends on issuing district|
|1928B||$5||green||depends on issuing district|
|1928C||$5||green||rare, none reported|
|1928D||$5||green||rare, none reported|
Case Study: 30 Consecutive 2017 $20 Star Notes
We get lots of emails asking "what is my note worth?" It takes a lot of thought to answer that question. We'd like to start answering some of these questions here on the blog so everyone can learn together. Here's the first one:
Hi Dave, my wife went to the ATM this morning and received 600 hundred dollars worth of 20 dollar star notes. All new and consecutive serial numbers. Series 2007 never been folded and I don't even know where to start checking on what to do with them.
If you're going to ask about a note's value, you need to include ALL information possible and make sure it is correct: denomination, series, serial numbers, condition, etc. Send a few pictures if possible.
Since there is no series 2007, I asked for clarification and found out the notes are series 2017 with serial numbers NL02598247* to NL02598281*. With that information we can dig in to find out what it is worth.
First, since these are star notes we need to determine the production numbers from the Star Note Lookup. The SNL shows these notes are from run #1 which is a full run of 3.2 million notes. As of November 2019, there were 3 runs of star notes of $20 2017 San Francisco FRB "L" FRB. Run 1: 3.2 million, Run 2: 640,000, Run 3: 3.2 million. Those numbers mean that this star note is by no means rare. There were a lot of them printed for the FRB, and it's not from a small run.
In this case the serial numbers are not fancy (check your serial number fancy-ness here) and the notes are not old. The best chance of these notes being worth more than face value is the fact that they're uncirculated and in consecutive order.
So now we go to eBay and try to find similar completed auctions. you can add this filter on the sidebar using "Show Only: Completed Items". Specifically, $20 series 2017 star notes from the San Francisco "L" FRB from either run #1 or run #3 since they're the same size. I searched for "$20 2017 star note" and scrolled through the completed auctions. After a few pages of looking, this is the most similar auction I found: (5) 2017 $20 FEDERAL RESERVE STAR NOTE LOT CONSECUTIVE GEM UNC FRESH FROM WRAP!.
This action completed on September 15, 2019 for $165.99 plus 2.99 shipping. That's a great starting point. Five of these notes sold for about $33 a piece.
eBay and PayPal Fees
eBay is not free to use. There is a fee calculator available here. In this auction, this is how the fees worked out:
Although the auction ended at $33 per note, the seller walked away with a profit of $43 - or $8.6 per note. So these notes effectively sold for $28.6 a piece.
It would be easy to think that 30 of them would sell for ($33*30) $990, but that would probably be wrong. It has to do with demand, which involves how collectors actually collect paper money. Many collectors only keep one specimen of each note of whatever set they are collecting. Maybe some will keep a few. There isn't much of a reason to sink nearly $1,000 into 30 consecutive $20 star notes. The demand for a bulk pack is much lower than individual notes or small groups.
If selling all 30 at once won't fetch the highest per-note value, what about the opposite approach - sell each of the 30 notes individually? If Terry found one or two of these star notes, selling individually might be the best approach. In my opinion, it is a bad approach for 30 individual notes:
- Consider the time it takes to manage 30 individual auctions
- Consider the shipping cost. Shipping a 30-pack for $5 = $0.17 per note. Shipping 30 notes individually for $3 each = $3 per note. Whether you or the buyer is absorbing that cost, it will affect the amount of money you walk away with.
- Consider supply vs demand. Currency collecting isn't that popular of a hobby. There is a limited number of people looking for certain notes at any time. Put all 30 notes on eBay as individual auctions and there could be more supply than demand. The auctions might end lower than if they were more scarce.
- If these auctions are spread out over a long period, what if someone else finds a large group of consecutive star notes from the same FRB or run? That could drastically reduce the demand and lower your auction results.
In my opinion, the best option is to do a mix of selling individual notes and multi-note packs - and spread the auctions over time. Maybe sell a 10-pack and see how it does compared to the reference auction. Did it sell for a lower per-note price? Maybe 5-packs is the way to go. Did it sell close to the same per-note price? Then maybe sell another 10-pack after a few weeks. Or list one or two individually and see how they do. If the auctions end high enough to offset the extra work and shipping costs, that could be a winning strategy.
It's up to you to find the balance between maximizing gains, selling the notes in a reasonable amount of time and effort, or deciding whether to keep some for 5, 10, 20 or more years to see if they gain value.
One of the coolest things you can collect when it comes to modern banknotes is "Star Notes." Star notes are special bills produced by the U.S. as replacements for bills that were damaged during the production process.
When the Bureau of Engraving and Printing replaces a damaged bank note, they represent that by printing a small star beside the serial number on the replacement note. Hence, "star notes!"
The value of a star note depends on the following criteria:
Run size: How many bills were printed in the series. The lower the run size the better. Typically runs of fewer than 640,000 notes are considered "rare." From what I’ve found, the best way to determine the run size is to check out the star note lookup on MyCurrencyCollection. It will give you a lot of data about your bill just by entering its serial number.
Condition: Like with all collectibles, the better the condition of the note, the more valuable it will be.
Serial Number: If a star note also has a fancy serial number, it can be worth big bucks! Here are some examples of the more valuable types of fancy serial numbers:
Low numbers - ex. 00000001
High numbers - ex. 99999999
Repeaters - ex. 23232323
Solids - ex. 11111111
Binary - entire number consists of only two unique digits ex. 29992292
Ladders - ex. 12345678
Radars - palindromic numbers ex. 25644652
If you want to learn more about U.S.Banknotes, I highly recommend checking out this book.
So now you know what a star note is and how you can identify the rare ones, check out the video below to learn strategies for finding them in "the wild" and selling them for a profit!
Star notes selling
Before you spend another dollar, you might want to read this.
TikTok user Silverpicker recently explained the significance of the tiny stars printed on certain U.S. banknotes, as well as what the symbol means for the value of the currency.
“These are ordinary dollar bills from the U.S., right?” he says in the clip, which has since been viewed over 600,000 times. “Nope. Wrong. These are actually what are called ‘star notes.’ Star notes are any dollar bills that have a little star next to the serial number.”
“And no, those are not there just by chance,” he explains. “This means that when these dollar bills were originally produced with these same serial numbers, they were damaged during the production process so they had to be reprinted. But in the United States, it’s illegal to print the same bill twice with the same serial number. So the second ones — the replacements — need to have a little star next to them. And that makes these rarer than an average dollar bill.”
Silverpicker also shares a website where you can look up your star note’s serial number to learn exactly how rare it is — and apparently, the much rarer bills can sell for a pretty penny to collectors on sites like eBay, Heritage Auctions and Mercari.
“This one is actually pretty rare,” he says after looking up a star note in his possession. “And this one you can actually sell for a bunch of money. Don’t believe me? Check Ebay’s sold listings. This one sold for 32 bucks. Look through your wallets, people!”
If you’re perusing your wallet and discover one of these rare notes, it might be cause for excitement — so long as the bill is in decent condition.
“The rarest star note probably isn’t worth much, if anything, more than face value if it’s dirty and shredded,” MyCurrencyCollector.com explains.
Check out these guidelines to try and maximize your star note’s selling potential.
If you enjoyed this article, check out this “holy grail” Pokémon card expected to sell for over $100,000.
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