Rare Error Could Make Your $1 Bill Worth Thousands

An unusual printing error has driven up the value of specific $1 bills, with some pairs selling for up to $150,000. Here’s how to know if you’ve got some on your hands.

Watch Your Wallet

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Next time you take out your wallet, you might want to check what’s inside! Millions of $1 bills are now potential collector’s items due to an error made during the printing process.

Two Misprinted Batches

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Back in 2014 and 2016, the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing released two batches of $1 bills that featured a misprint. The bills were then passed into circulation before they came to the attention of authorities.

Very Valuable Currency

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Now, those very same misprinted bills could be worth as much as $150,000 a pop if found in a matching pair, according to the personal finance blog Wealthy Nickel.

New York and D.C

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One batch was released in Washington D.C., and the other in New York. Between the two, a total of 6.4 million misprinted bills were circulated into the economy.

Duplicate Serial Numbers

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“This miscommunication resulted in dollars printed with duplicate serial numbers, technically counterfeiting their currency. Typically, every bill in circulation has a unique serial number to identify it,” Wealthy Nickel explained.

Different Batches, Same Number

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All dollar bills printed in the US have unique serial numbers for identification purposes. But these two batches were printed with duplicate numbers. 

A Collectors Opportunity

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This means that the second batch is counterfeit bills, which are technically illegal. But for currency collectors, they pose an exciting opportunity to collect a rare piece of America’s currency printing history.

Searching for Pairs

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Now, there are collectors clamoring to find matching pairs from these two batches. And they are willing to break the bank to obtain them.

How Much Are They Worth?

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Matching $1 bills from these batches can be sold for between $20,000 to as much as $150,000, depending on their physical condition and with proof of matching serial numbers. 

What to Look Out for

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At this point, you might be scrambling to grab your wallet, or fishing under the sofa cushions for those crumpled $1 bills. But what do you need to check for to see if you’ve got the golden $1 bills? 

The Series Date

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There are three features to keep an eye on when you’re looking through your bills. First, the series date. Beside the image of George Washington, you should see the words ‘Series 2013.’

Serial Number Range

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Second, the serial number must end with a star symbol (*). Its serial number must fall between  B00000001* – B00250000* or B03200001*-B09600000*. 

Federal Reserve Seal

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Third, each bill must have a Federal Reserve Seal marked ‘B’ and located on the right of George Washington’s image and above the serial number.

Only 37 Matches

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Despite there being millions of matching bills that collectors are keen to get their hands on, only 37 matching pairs have been identified as of April 2023, according to Project 2013B.

Project 2013B

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Project 2013B is an online project founded in early 2021, which is committed to “connecting people with matching 2013B ‘Duplicated Serial Number’ star notes,” according to the official website. Its name refers to the ‘series 13’ and ‘B’ seals found on the notes.

Looking for Help?

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While it’s unlikely you’ll be able to find two matching $1 banknotes on your own, anyone who finds a single banknote printed from these batches is encouraged to contact Project 2013B. 

Consider eBay

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Some collectors also recommend scouring eBay if you do find a single note. Many people choose to sell their notes through the marketplace for nominally small amounts (as they aren’t valuable without their match). You may be able to find a match there. 

Headache for Some, Goldmine for Others

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While printing errors may be a headache for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the Federal Reserve, it’s a major boon for collectors and those who want to sell them at a profit.

Valuable Rarities

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Often, the rarer the mistake the more valuable the bills and coins are. Another famously valuable example is the Brown/Black Double Denomination National Bank Note, issued in 1882.

The Brown/Black Double Denomination

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These bills feature a misprint where a $50 denomination is printed on the face, and a $100 denomination appears on the back. Only two have ever been found, with one selling for a whopping $70,500 in 2023.

The postRare Error Could Make Your $1 Bill Worth Thousands first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Varga Jozsef Zoltan.

The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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