A Star Note
is a bank note minted to replace a defective note that was not fit for
circulation. The Bureau
of Engraving and Printing (BEP) uses these Star Notes to
ensure that the correct amount of currency is created. The
BEP does not replicate the exact serial numbers of the defective bills,
rather a separate run of notes (with their own sequential serial
numbers) is created to mint the exact number of discarded notes.
Star Notes are marked with a distinctive symbol, a "star"
that is placed adjacent to the serial number. On Legal Tender
Notes and Silver Certificates the star is where the
letter) of the serial number would be. On Federal Reserve
Notes the star is where the block letter (the last letter) of
the serial number would be.
were also used for the 100,000,000th note in a series, the
last note in the block of serial numbers (the numbering
machines could not print over 8 digits). Star Notes are no
longer used for this. Star
Notes occasionally replaced notes from a different
series, as well.
The number of Star
produced for a series depends on the number of printed bills found to
be defective. The BEP currently
prints Star Notes
maximum runs of 3.2 million (100,000 sheets of 32 notes each).
The runs are often significantly smaller depending on how
many Star Notes
needed. So what is the value
of a Star Note? The smallest run sizes
produce the rarest, and potentially most valuable, Star Notes!