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Rare $1 Bills with the Same Printing Mistake Worth Up to $150,000

If you’ve got a few dollar bills in your wallet, you might want to inspect the greenbacks before you spend them.

Some U.S. coin and currency collectors are reportedly willing to pay thousands of dollars for rare $1 bills that have a certain printing error made by the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

“It’s very rare that the Federal Reserve would mess up an order, and then it reaches circulation,” Chad Hawk, vice president of PMG, a professional paper money grading company headquartered in Sarasota, Florida, told Fox Business.

“You just don’t see that error in U.S. currency.”

Two sets of $1 bills were printed — one in 2014 and another in 2016 — that feature this particular error, sending more than 6 million misprinted $1 bills into circulation before the mistake was found.

“In 2014 and 2016, there were orders sent by the Federal Reserve to facilities in both D.C. and Fort Worth to go ahead [and] print the [same] serial numbers,” Hawk said.

“So all the notes were $1 bills from New York [in] 2013, which, for your normal circulated currency in your wallet, would just be a normal $1 bill.”

The problem occurred, Hawk explained, when dollars were printed with duplicate serial numbers — because every bill in circulation is supposed to have a unique serial number to identify it.

The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing reportedly didn’t catch the mistake — but currency collectors did.

Now they, along with consumers, are on the hunt for bills in the serial number range — and eventually are hoping to find matching pairs of dollar bills with the same serial numbers, as that’s where the value lies.

“Two notes separately would be worth literally maybe $2,” Hawk said.

In all, there are 6.4 million pairs of $1 bills with matching serial numbers.

“If you notice the serial number ranges listed, it totals approximately 6 million,” Hawk said.

The individual $1 bills could be anywhere, Hawk said.

“For about the last six or seven years, these have been out there,” he added.

“But in the last two or three years, people started to discover the error. The community, through social media, has been able to connect — and people have been able to pair up their notes in a lot of ways. The last pairing I think I saw sold for about $6,000.”

With billions of dollars in circulation, only nine pairs have been matched so far.

Another factor that affects the value of a pair is how the notes are graded — or the condition they are in, Hawk said.

Bill Bailey, owner of Century Coins in Robinson, Texas, said local dealers have currency graded through companies like PMG or PCGS.

So, bringing a potentially valuable dollar bill to a shop in their own town is a solid next step, he said.

“The better the condition of the note, whether it’s lightly circulated or not circulated at all, is where it brings good money,” Bailey told Fox Business.

“They can grade anywhere from a 15 to a 70, which is really hard to get. So the higher the number on the grading, the better the value in the note.”

Dollar bills that could be worth thousands have three indicators, according to Wealthy Nickel, a personal finance site:

The Series date located near the photograph of George Washington should read “Series 2013.”
The bill must have a “B” Federal Reserve Seal above the serial number.
The serial number must end with a star (*) and fall between B00000001* – B00250000* or B03200001*-B09600000*

The chance that the average American could have one of the dollar bills in his or her wallet, Hawk said, is not super unlikely.

“Considering the [dollar bills] are from 2013, the lifespan, they’re still out there,” Hawk said.

Hawk said that since the value lies in completing a pair, anyone who has a note that’s in the serial number range should start by doing an Internet search.

“The best thing to do is look online, go on social media — and there are actually websites dedicated to this,” he said.

“You can find outlets where people are collecting the data, so you can see if notes are out there already. If someone’s already reported this number, you might be able to pair up with someone looking for this number. They may be willing to pay a big premium for that.”

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