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That one dollar bill in your pocket could be worth thousands: here's why


If you have a few dollar bills in your wallet, you may want to inspect the dollars before spending them.

Some U.S. coin and currency collectors are reportedly willing to pay thousands of dollars for rare $1 bills in which a certain misprint has been made by the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

“It's very rare for the Federal Reserve to mess up an order and then go into circulation,” Chad Hawk, vice president of PMG, a professional paper money sorting company headquartered in Sarasota, Florida, told Fox Business.

“You just don't see that flaw in the U.S. currency.”

Two sets of $1 bills were printed – one in 2014 and one in 2016 – that contained this specific error, resulting in more than 6 million misprinted $1 bills being put into circulation before the error was discovered.

“In 2014 and 2016, orders were sent by the Federal Reserve to facilities in both DC and Fort Worth to continue (and) print the same serial numbers,” Hawk said.

“So all the bills were New York $1 bills (in) 2013, which, for the normal circulating money in your wallet, would just be a regular $1 bill.”

Two sets of $1 bills were printed – one in 2014 and one in 2016 – that have an error that could make them worth a lot of money. FOX business

The problem arose, Hawk explained, when dollars were printed with duplicate serial numbers – because each bill in circulation would have to have a unique serial number to identify it.

The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing reportedly didn't notice the error, but currency collectors did.

Now they, along with consumers, are on the hunt for banknotes with serial numbers – and hope to eventually find matching pairs of dollar bills with the same serial numbers, because that's where the value lies.

“Two bills individually would literally be worth maybe $2,” Hawk said.

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

“It's very rare for the Federal Reserve to mess up an order and then it goes into circulation,” said Chad Hawk, vice president of PMG, a professional company that sorts paper money. FOX business

“If you look at the ranges of serial numbers listed, it's about 6 million in total,” Hawk said.

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

“These have been there for the last six or seven years,” he added.

“You just don't see that flaw in the U.S. currency,” Hawk said. FOX business

“But in the last two or three years, people started noticing the mistake. The community has been able to connect through social media – and people have been able to connect their notes in many ways. The last pair 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 a pair's value 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 their currencies graded through companies like PMG or PCGS.

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

“The better the condition of the note, whether it's lightly in circulation or not in circulation at all, the better the way it makes good money,” Bailey told Fox Business.

“They can give a grade from 15 to 70, which is very difficult to achieve. So the higher the number on the assessment, the better the value in the note.”

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

  • The date of the series next to the photo of George Washington should read “Series 2013.”
  • The note must have a Federal Reserve “B” 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, isn't super unlikely.

“Considering that the (dollar bills) are from 2013, they are still available in terms of longevity,” Hawk said.

Hawk said that since the value lies in completing a pair, anyone who has a note that falls within the serial number range should start searching the Internet.

“The best thing you can do is look online and go to social media – and there are websites dedicated to this,” he said.

“You can find outlets where people are collecting the data so you can see if there are any notes available yet. If someone has already reported this number, you may be able to link it to someone searching for this number. They may be willing to pay a large premium for that.”

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