You surely have seen a $100 bill. Maybe, you have an old 100 dollar bill in your collection, possibly given by your grandpa or grandma. And, it’s possible that one of these notes is what’s known in the USA as a ‘star note.’
If you’re the lucky owner of a ‘star note’, you might actually get a lot of money for selling it, instead of using it as currency to pay for something. That’s because star notes are collector items. They fetch a high price in the market.
For those who’re new to this subject, I will explain what is a star note? and why it fetches more price than the face value of the currency itself.
What is a Star Note?
Basically, a star note is just an ordinary currency note, in most cases. However, there’s a difference between a regular currency note and a star note. That’s because you will find a small star printed alongside the serial number of the currency note.
This star is printed for one reason only. If the Federal Reserve or the Fed, as it’s called, finds that a printing process has gone wrong or some notes in a batch were printed with errors, they go for reprints.
Under US laws, reprinting the Dollar note is illegal. That’s right. Even the Fed can’t reprint a note under the law.
Therefore, the Fed adds a small star symbol next to the serial numbers of the currency notes that were wrongly printed. The serial numbers remain the same to maintain the continuity of a batch of notes. Only, a small star symbol appears on these reprinted notes.
Such notes are known as star notes or bills. Some of these reprinted star bills are rare and hence, fetch a higher price than the face value of the currency.
Reasons Why Star Notes Are Rare
To begin with, we need to understand that not every star note is rare. As a matter of fact, if thousands or hundreds of such notes are printed and in circulation, they won’t be considered as rare. At best, you might get only a few cents or a few dollars, at the most.
For example, a regular star note, that’s not rare might fetch you a few Cents only. A $1 note might at best get you $1.50 while a common $ 100 star note might fetch you $101 or so.
But, if the star note is rare, you can get even a million dollars for selling a star note. That depends on the overall condition of the star note and its rarity.
Therefore, I will tell you what makes a star note rare.
What’re Rare Star Notes?
As I mentioned earlier, the Fed reprints only those notes that have printing errors or damages during the minting process. Therefore, a rare star note would generally fall in these categories.
1. Limited Availability
This happens when the Fed prints very few, or sometimes, less than 10 notes of a specific series with a star. Usually, each wad consists of 100 notes. If, for example, five notes or 10 notes were damaged or printed wrong, the Fed reprints them with the star. Such notes can be rare if only five or 10 notes in that series carry a star.
2. Historic Importance
Some currency notes printed during the historical eras of the USA are also rare and could fetch a high price. That’s because most of these star notes have been lost over the decades and only a few notes are actually available. Therefore, collectors want such star notes because it’s hard to find one of a specific era and print, from other sources.
3. Star Notes with Errors
Now, it’s not always necessary that star notes are error-free. There’re instances where a star note was printed with some error. Such star notes with errors are extremely rare. In fact, there’s one-millionth of a chance of finding a star note with a printing error. Therefore, such a note would definitely fetch a much higher price among collectors.
4. Condition of Star Note
And finally, the condition of the star note also decides how much the value you can get. That’s because some notes are very rare because they’re not easily available while those that can be found are severely damaged. If you have a star note that’s in near perfect or mint condition and is rare, you can truly get a lot of money.
5. Prices of Star Notes
Actually, there’re no fixed prices for star notes. It all depends on the rarity and condition, as I mentioned earlier. There’re instances when certain star notes have sold for tens of thousands of dollars while others are common and couldn’t fetch a single Dollar extra.
The next time you come across a $100 currency note, check the serial number. Also, refer to my guide on star notes on this website for more info. Who knows, maybe you’re carrying a million Dollar star note in your pockets?