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COLLECTING SPECIAL SERIAL NUMBERED CURRENCY
by Mike Abramson

The purpose of this article is to educate, inform and hopefully pique the reader’s curiosity about collecting an unusual type of paper money.  The terms “Special Serial Numbered Currency” or “Fancy Serial Numbers” or simply “Numbers” encompass all of the following types of serial numbers:

Low Numbers

Small size U.S. type notes with any serial number under 00001000 are generally considered low serial numbered notes.  The lower the serial number, the more expensive the note will be, with the most valuable being # 00000001. A “Perfect Low Serial Number” would be a note whose prefix letter, suffix letter and serial number all match the FRN district number, such as # A00000001A, or B00000002B.  One of the ultimate rarities in currency is serial #00000001i, i.e. a serial # 1 replacement note.  An incredible set of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 serial #00000001s, courtesy of John Whitney is illustrated in this article. John exhibited these notes along with 43 cases of other amazing currency at the August 2003 ANA show.

Roll Overs

A roll over pair would be the last note of one block, e.g. A99999999A and the first note of the next block, i.e. B00000001A.  Even folks who claim no interest in serial numbers are stopped in their tracks when they see these notes.  Several of these ultra rare notes are illustrated in this article.   An amazing six note roll over set of 1934 $1 Silver Certificates, including an “extra digit” serial number, from the John Whitney collection is illustrated in this article.  (See info on #100,000,000 serial numbers later in this article.)

Solid Serial Numbers

Small size U. S. type notes referred to as solid serial numbers, or simply “solids”, have eight digits that are all identical.  (Small size National Bank Notes have only six digits in their serial numbers.)  Solid numbers encompass: #11111111, 22222222, 33333333, 44444444, 55555555, 66666666, 77777777, 88888888, and 99999999.  Their rarity is easily established by “doing the math”.   Once every 11,111,111 one would expect to see a solid serial # note.  This is no longer the case. Back the 1980s the Bureau of Engraving and Printing stopped printing serial # 99999999 for general circulation.  If one subscribes to the monthly BEP production report, one finds that the last serial number printed for general release to the public is now 96000000. A Perfect Solid is a Federal Reserve Note boasting a serial number, prefix and suffix letter that match the district number. (See photos) Amongst the rarest small size solids are Legal Tender, aka U.S. Note solids.  Perhaps the ultimate solid is the solid serial number star note, one of three in private hands is illustrated in this article.

Ladders

As the name would suggest, ladders are serial numbers whose digits move up or down.  The most highly sought after and highest priced ladders are “full” eight digit ladders such as 98765432, 87654321, 12345678 and 23456789.  The 98765432 has become exceptionally difficult to locate (and only available in older series notes), because the BEP no longer prints serial numbers above 96000000.  Partial ladder serial numbers include 01234567, 00123456, 00012345, 00001234, 00000123, 00000012, 07654321, 00654321, 00054321, 00004321, 00000321, 00000021, 2100000, 32100000, 43210000, 54321000, 65432100, 76543210.   (See photo)

Radars

A serial number that reads the same forward and backwards is a radar note.  Some examples include serial #s 15677651 (a four digit radar), 97722779 (a three digit radar), 11888811(a two digit radar), 25522552 (a radar-repeater), 12344321 (a radar ladder) and 10000001, also known as an ABBBBBBA or (super radar).  The last example is the most elusive and sought after by collectors.

Repeaters

A serial number whose digits repeat themselves is known, not surprisingly, as a repeater note.  Examples of repeater serial numbers include 15671567 (a four digit repeater), 34453445 (a three digit repeater), 77887788 (a two digit repeater), 12341234 (a ladder repeater) and 01010101, also known as an ABABABAB or (super repeater). These ABABABAB repeaters have always been in high demand.

Progressive Serial Numbers

If one were to build the ideal set of progressive serial numbers, they would seek 72 notes starting with:  00000001, 00000011, 00000111, 00001111, 00011111, 00111111, 01111111, 11111111, 00000002, 00000022, 00000222, etc. with the last note in the progressive set being 99999999.  (See photo)

Seven-of-a-kind Progressive Serial Numbers

A complete set of these notes would start with: 01111111, 10111111, 11011111, 11101111, 11110111, 11111011, 11111101, 11111110, 11111111, 02222222, 20222222, 22022222, 22202222, 22220222, etc. ending with 99999999.  There are several other “7-of-a-kind sets one can build.  (See photo)

Single Digit Seven-Zero Serial Numbers

This difficult-to-complete set would start with 00000001, 00000010, 00000100, 00001000, 00010000, 00100000, 01000000, 10000000, 00000002, 00000020, 00000200, 00002000, 00020000, etc. ending with 90000000.

Nine Digit Serial Numbers (serial #100,000,000 )

A very limited number of large size and small size notes were printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, with nine digits, all bearing the serial number 100000000.  From articles written in the 1980s, borrowing upon research done over several decades, this author believes that a total of 89 large size serial number 100000000 notes were printed and 76 small size serial number 100000000 were produced.  Far fewer have been reported in private hands.  Prior to and after the end of the era of #100,000,000 notes, the last serial number in a run of 100,000,000 notes was usually serial #00000000, and was pulled and replaced by a common star note.   According to a March 1988 Coin World article, written by Jack H. Fisher, the first small size U.S. “Extra Digit Serial Number” was the $1 1928 Silver Certificate #A100000000B.  Jack indicated that research at the B.E.P. done by star note expert Doug Murray, suggests that serial # 100,000,000 notes were printed in the (following quantities): $1 1928 SCs (34), $1 1934 SCs (6), $2 1928 USNs (3), $5 1928 USNs (6), $5 1928 FRNs (1), $5 1934 FRNs (2), $5 1934 SCs (10), $10 1934 FRNs (10), $10 1934 SC (1), $20 1934 FRNs (3).  The last #100,000,000 note is believed to be the $1 1934 SC F100000000A.  The research done by Doug Murray indicates that the BEP stopped printing these 100,000,000 notes sometime between 1936 and 1941 with the completion of the 1934 era series.   Having spent an inordinate amount of my time seeking these 100,000,000 notes out for clients, I can find evidence in private hands of only these eight small size serial #100,000,000 notes: 

$1 1928 SC    I100000000B                                                  $1 1934 SC     B100000000A

$1 1928A SC    C100000000B                                              $1 1934 SC     C100000000A

$1 1928B SC    G100000000B                                              $1 1934 SC     E100000000A

$1 1934 SC    A100000000A                                                 $1 1934 SC     F100000000A 

It is interesting to note that through the work of Martin Gengerke of R.M. Smythe Co., the author of “U.S. Paper Money Records”, (a “must have” resource for all large type note collectors), he and I can document the existence of 13 large size U. S. type notes with serial number 100,000,000 in private or public hands.  A complete complimentary list of these 100,000,000 notes and all known large size eight digit solids, is available by contacting me at Mike Abramson Currency, P O Box 16690, Duluth, MN 55816-0690, e-mail: macurrency@aol.com.

A quick story before I go on…..

I have spent the bulk of my adult life interested in small size U.S. paper money. I’ve always been fascinated by the aspect of owning both an item of beauty and one that has such unique qualities that no one else would have the exact same item.   Fancy serial numbered small size U.S. Paper Money just seemed to fill the bill for me.

As a teenager I discovered an old-time currency dealer, living only fifteen miles from my home.  I will never forget sitting in this gentleman’s kitchen in his home back in 1967, asking him to search for small size paper money with anything in “special serial numbers”.  I especially wanted to see and hopefully buy blue seal or red seal notes with low serial numbers.  When he showed me a $1 1928 USN Note with the bright red seal and the red serial number A00000247A, I was “hooked on numbers”.  This individual was a generous man in both spirit and trust.  We spent a lot of hours looking through stacks of new bills in that kitchen.  He kept making trips down the stairs into the basement to pull out more and more notes.  At one of these wonderful sessions I am certain that he had well over 200,000 new $1 bills sitting on that table.  I have to stress that I really didn’t know him all that well at that time.  As a 17 year old student I was more than surprised to be sitting in front of a table stacked three feet deep with new currency.  He would continue to leave the room to go search for more notes, and never really gave a thought about leaving that much “cash” laying out for me to review.  He would share stories about how things were back in the 1950s and 1960s when he had “contacts” at two Federal Reserve Banks.  He advised that he was able to regularly buy #1 bricks (i.e. serial number 00000001-00004000), for as little as $200 over face value from these Federal Reserve Employees. He related that in the early 1970s “the BEP got wise” to the fact that some of their employees were selling #1 bricks, and put a stop to this practice.  His supply of low numbered packs quickly dried up.

How does one find special serial numbers today?

A goodly number of collectors spend time looking at each serial number of each bill that passes through their hands.  Unfortunately the chances of finding any fancy serial numbered note worth more than $25 “in change” is akin to being struck by lightning.  The majority of fancy serial numbers that appear daily on ebay and/or through dealers come from a small number of prolific cash vault employees or managers.  Although I have no written proof, based on my experiences related above, I strongly believe that In the 1950s and 1960s some of these “suppliers” worked at the one or more of the twelve Federal Reserve Banks.  Today there are thousands of individuals who COULD be major suppliers of fancy serial numbered notes.  These individuals include Federal Reserve Bank employees, armored car company vault managers, money center bank currency vault employees, and regional bank currency vault managers.  Contrary to many people’s belief, very few fancy serial numbers are ever supplied by bank or credit union tellers.  The folks at the “retail windows” just don’t have a large enough supply of new money on hand to find many, if any, special serial numbers.  I have been fortunate to have worked with four individuals over the past fifteen years, who literally stand in an ocean of new money each day.   

So, if you are standing in a room of 2,000,000 new bills, how can one find banknotes with serial numbers worth pulling? It’s really quite simple:  All new currency is shrink wrapped by the BEP with their serial numbers stacked in numerical order. On the outside of each brick of 4,000 or 16,000 notes, the first and last serial number is printed on a large bar coded label.   In short order one will know if there is anything in each package worth buying.  It should be noted here that none of the suppliers I have worked with, EVER took a bill without replacing it with another bill of the same denomination.   If this all sounds quite simplistic and that most anyone can stop by their local bank to set up a “supply chain”, they likely will find this to be an extraordinarily difficult task.  The vast majority of armored car companies and banks will not allow their employees to buy fancy numbered paper money.  It is a “convergence of the stars” when one can locate both a cash vault manager who has an interest, and an employer that has no objections to him (her) buying fancy serial numbered bills from their institution at face value. 

The elusive serial #00000001-00004000 brick

The appearance of “first brick” notes is a relatively rare occurrence, but really shouldn’t be.  Two of the supply contacts I trade with, each see well over 1,000,000 new bills each week.  Simple math suggests that approximately every ten weeks, each of these individuals should be receiving a brick of 4000 notes with the serial numbers 00000001 – 00004000.  BUT this hasn’t been happening for over two decades.  These currency vault employees are finding #1 bricks on average, once every two years.  When I realized that these low serial numbers should be much more readily available I set out on a mission in the early 1990s to contact as many public officials as possible to find out why.  I also asked my suppliers to contact the Federal Reserve Banks that supplied them to see what they could learn.  I received replies from several public officials including the then U.S. Treasurer.  Most stated that they had no idea why #1 bricks weren’t showing up, but one public official and two Federal Reserve Bank employees corroborate that because of the collectible value of low serial numbers, the BEP sent a standing order out to each Federal Reserve Bank over two decades ago, that when a #1 brick is found, Fed employees were to either destroy the first 100 notes, or “co-mingle” these first 100 notes into other bricks of higher serial numbered notes.  With the huge volume of currency distributed by the BEP, this directive is impossible to follow during peak times, and so on occasion a #1 brick still slips out through one of the twelve Federal Reserve Banks.

Small size U. S. specimen notes

I have included serial # 00000000 in one of the charts below, because I wanted to touch briefly on the subject of “specimen notes”.  The B.E.P. has printed specimen notes for over 140 years.  It my belief that all small size specimen notes issued over the past 70+ years bore one of three serial #s: 00000000, 12345678, or 23456789.  All of these notes were stamped with the word SPECIMEN on the face/and or back of the note.  Some specimens are two piece (i.e. separate obverses and reverses each with blank backs except for the word(s) SPECIMEN in red or black ink printed multiple times).  Some specimen notes were printed on both sides with the word(s) SPECIMEN typically printed in red on both sides.   The BEP produced “specimen notes” solely for distribution to foreign central banks to alert them that a new series of U.S. paper money was about to be issued for general circulation.   These specimen notes were never meant for general circulation and were never supposed to find their way back into the U.S.   Somehow a few have returned to our shores.  I have been privileged to have handled about three dozen small size U. S. specimen notes since 1987.  Questions have arisen over the years as to the legality of owning small size U.S. specimen notes.   A copy of a letter from a U.S. Congresswoman is on file in our office that basically states that ownership of small size U. S. specimen notes for collectible purposes is not illegal.  In the past decade several individual small size U.S. specimen notes have been auctioned off by two major auction houses, with no known problems to buyer or seller.  One last tidbit on serial number 00000000 small size notes:  Small size note authority Robert Azpiazu, Jr. advises that at least one BEP issued (non-specimen) $1 FRN with serial # 00000000 exists in private hands.  It appears that this note is an error note produced by BEP with a serial # that shouldn’t exist.  A photo of a wonderful $1-$100 specimen set is included.

Values

The demand and corresponding prices for special serial numbered notes has slowly but steadily increased over the past 15 years.   In the late 1980s, this author was one of only two dealers who truly specialized in fancy numbers.  Now there are a half dozen dealers actively seeking (and advertising) to buy this material.  Before reviewing the change in value of fancy serial numbered notes, it is critically important to understand one thing:  “Numbers” like many other collectibles have enjoyed a very significant rise in value over the past fifteen years.  Many of the notes sold back in 1987 will bring ten to twenty times that price today.  That does NOT mean that anyone should expect prices to increase tenfold by the year 2019.  You’ve heard and read the phrase “past performance does not guaranty future returns” when buying stocks, bonds and/or mutual funds.  The same applies for buying “numbers”.  No assurance is given that these values will continue to rise as they have in the past.  That having been said, a walk down Amemory lane@ may prove interesting to those who wish to know what has happened to the value of fancy serial numbered notes since 1987. The prices listed below represent documented sales at auction or between dealer/collector:

 

RETAIL PRICES FOR SPECIAL SERIAL NUMBERED UNCIRCULATED U.S. CURRENCY

 

Type of Serial #

 

July 1987

 

July 1991

 

Oct. 1997

 

Sept. 2000

 

Dec. 2003

 $1 1934 SC         #88888888

 $275

 $1000

 $1800

 $2200

 $4500

 $1 1935 SC         #00000001
                            #11111111
                            #99999999

 $550
$200
$400

 $2500
$650
$875

 $3200
$1200
$1500

 $3500
$1850
$3100

 $6500
$2500
$5000

 $10 1934 FRN    #00000001

 $600

 $3000

 $4000

 $6000

 $15,000

 $1 1981 FRN      #00000001
                            #00000002

 $500
$125

 $2000
$400

 $3000
$750

 $3500
$900

 $5500
$1200

 $1 1977 FRN      #33333333
                            #88888888
                            #99999999

 $175
$200
$500

 $400
$600
$1200

 $750
$1200
$4000

 $1250
$1700
$6000

 $1200
$2500
$18,000

$1 1981 FRN       #12345678

$200

$350

$800

$1100

$2500

$1 1977 FRN       #41111114

$10

$25

$35

$65

$100

$1 1963 FRN       #28282828

$10

$25

$35

$65

$100

$1 1981 FRN       #29922992

$5

$10

$12

$25

$30

Will prices on fancy numbers continue to escalate?  No one really knows. For the past two decades, there has been significantly more money available to buy fancy serial numbers than there is supply.   There is no sizable quantity of this specialized material available for sale at this time. Each time a collection of fancy numbers is broken up, via auction or through private sale, prices have continued their upward movement.  From April 1998 through January 2000, I was privileged to have been asked by three collectors to disperse of over $2,000,000 worth of fancy serial numbered notes.  I truly feared that each of these individuals would fare poorly with this much of the same material coming into the market in less than two years.  By February 2000 I was pleasantly surprised that this quantity of “numbers” didn’t have a dampening effect on prices.  With the three major currency auction houses offering photos of A fancy numbers@ in their catalogs, about every sixty days and with daily photo offerings of a few fancies on ebay, buyers who never intended to pursue numbers are noticing the visual attraction of these bills and are pursuing them at today=s record high levels. 

Constructing sets vs. owning one or two items

I have heard from a number of collectors over the years that they would like “ideas” or “guidance” on what or how to collect paper money.  I’ve always been a big believer in trying to build sets of notes.  One can do this by building a set of type notes, a block letter set, or by assembling sets of fancy serial numbered notes. Listed below are several types of sets a collector could try assembling.  Those on a fairly modest budget should be able to complete the sets below on the right half of the chart for a relatively reasonable price.

Solid 1’s denomination set

Serial #00000001 denomination set

Solid serial number $1 set

Super radar denomination set

Super repeater

denomination set

Two digit radar denomination set

$1      11111111

$1      00000001

$1  11111111

$1      83333338

$1        27272727

$1        27722772

$2      11111111

$2      00000001

$1  22222222

$2      12222221

$2        14141414

$2        11444411

$5      11111111

$5      00000001

$1  33333333

$5      67777776

$5        56565656

$5        56566565

$10    11111111

$10    00000001

$1  44444444

$10    89999998

$10      73737373

$10      73777737

$20    11111111

$20    00000001

$1  55555555

$20    80000008

$20      82828282

$20      82822828

$50    11111111

$50    00000001

$1  66666666

$50    14444441

$50      10101010

$50      11100111

$100  11111111

$100  00000001

$1  77777777

$100  27777772

$100    25252525

$100    25522552

 

 

$1  88888888

 

 

 

 

 

$1  99999999

 

 

 

Another route one might take is to assemble a small size type note set of most ANY fancy serial number:

Fancy Serial Numbered Small Size U.S. Type Note Set

$1 1928 LT

$1 1928 SC

$1 1963 FRN

$20 1928 FRN

$100 1928 FRN

$5 1929 FRBN

$2 1928 LT

$1 1934 SC

$5 1928 FRN

$20 1934 FRN

$100 1934 FRN

$10 1929 FRBN

$2 1963 LT

$1 1935 SC

$5 1934 FRN

$20 1981 FRN

$100 1977 FRN

$20 1929 FRBN

$5 1928 LT

$5 1934 SC

$5 1969 FRN

$20 1996 FRN

$100 1996 FRN

$50 1928 FRBN

$5 1963 LT

$5 1953 SC

$5 2001 FRN

$20 2004 FRN

 

$100 1929 FRBN

$100 1966 LT

$10 1933 SC

$10 1928 FRN

$50 1928 FRN

 

One could over a reasonable period of time locate a radar, repeater, low # or other fancy serial # on most all of these series.

 

$10 1934 SC

$10 1934 FRN

$50 1934 FRN

 

$10 1953 SC

$10 1974 FRN

$50 1990 FRN

 

 

$10 1999 FRN

$50 2001 FRN

Small sets vs. Large sets

While each of the seven sets listed above poses a challenge, the three sets on the left side of the page represent a significant investment.  Building larger sets with lower denomination notes, still poses a very real challenge that is more affordable and just as enjoyable.  Listed below are several larger sets that a collector could work on.  These sets when complete, even without the solids, are very impressive. 

Super Radar Serial Number Set

  

 10000001

 20000002

 30000003

 40000004

 50000005

 60000006

 70000007

 80000008

 90000009

 01111110

 11111111

 21111112

 31111113

 41111114

 51111115

 61111116

 71111117

 81111118

 91111119

 02222220

 12222221

 22222222

 32222223

 42222224

 52222225

 62222226

 72222227

 82222228

 92222229

 03333330

 13333331

 23333332

 33333333

 43333334

 53333335

 63333336

 73333337

 83333338

 93333339

 04444440

 14444441

 24444442

 34444443

 44444444

 54444445

 64444446

 74444447

 84444448

 94444449

 05555550

 15555551

 25555552

 35555553

 45555554

 55555555

 65555556

 75555557

 85555558

 95555559

 06666660

 16666661

 26666662

 36666663

 46666664

 56666665

 66666666

 76666667

 86666668

 96666669

 07777770

 17777771

 27777772

 37777773

 47777774

 57777775

 67777776

 77777777

 87777778

 97777779

 08888880

 18888881

 28888882

 38888883

 48888884

 58888885

 68888886

 78888887

 88888888

 98888889

 09999990

 19999991

 29999992

 39999993

 49999994

 59999995

 69999996

 79999997

 89999998

 99999999

 

Super Repeater Serial Number Set

  

 01010101

 02020202

 03030303

 04040404

 05050505

 06060606

 07070707

 08080808

 09090909

 10101010

 11111111

 12121212

 13131313

 14141414

 15151515

 16161616

 17171717

 18181818

 19191919

 20202020

 21212121

 22222222

 23232323

 24242424

 25252525

 26262626

 27272727

 28282828

 29292929

 30303030

 31313131

 32323232

 33333333

 34343434

 35353535

 36363636

 37373737

 38383838

 39393939

 40404040

 41414141

 42424242

 43434343

 44444444

 45454545

 46464646

 47474747

 48484848

 49494949

 05050505

 51515151

 52525252

 53535353

 45454545

 55555555

 56565656

 57575757

 58585858

 59595959

 06060606

 61616161

 62626262

 63636363

 64646464

 65656565

 66666666

 67676767

 68686868

 69696969

 07070707

 71717171

 72727272

 73737373

 74747474

 75757575

 76767676

 77777777

 78787878

 79797979

 08080808

 81818181

 82828282

 83838383

 84848484

 85858585

 86868686

 87878787

 88888888

 89898989

 09090909

 91919191

 92929292

 93939393

 94949494

 95959595

 96969696

 97979797

 98989898

 99999999

Both complete 99 note sets above were exhibited by John Whitney at the August 2003 ANA show.

Seven-In-A-Row or Seven Same Ending set

 00000000

 10000000

 20000000

 30000000

 40000000

 50000000

 60000000

 70000000

 80000000

 90000000

 01111111

 11111111

 21111111

 31111111

 41111111

 51111111

 61111111

 71111111

 81111111

 91111111

 02222222

 12222222

 22222222

 32222222

 42222222

 52222222

 62222222

 72222222

 82222222

 92222222

 03333333

 13333333

 23333333

 33333333

 43333333

 53333333

 63333333

 73333333

 83333333  

 93333333

 04444444

 14444444

 24444444

 34444444

 44444444

 54444444

 64444444

 74444444

 84444444

 94444444

 05555555

 15555555

 25555555

 35555555

 45555555

 55555555

 65555555

 75555555

 85555555

 95555555

 06666666

 16666666

 26666666

 36666666

 46666666

 56666666

 66666666

 76666666

 86666668

 96666666

 07777777

 17777777

 27777777

 37777777

 47777777

 57777777

 67777777

 77777777

 87777777

 97777777

 08888888

 18888888

 28888888

 38888888

 48888888

 58888888

 68888888

 78888888

 88888888

 98888888

 09999999

 19999999

 29999999

 39999999

 49999999

 59999999

 69999999

 79999999

 89999999

 99999999

 

Single Digit Seven Zero Set

 00000001

 00000002

 00000003

 00000004

 00000005

 00000006

 00000007

 00000008

 00000009

 00000010

 00000020

 00000030

 00000040

 00000050

 00000060

 00000070

 00000080

 00000090

 00000100

 00000200

 00000300

 00000400

 00000500

 00000600

 00000700

 00000800

 00000900

 00001000

 00002000

 00003000

 00004000

 00005000

 00006000

 00007000

 00008000

 00009000

 00010000

 00020000

 00030000

 00040000

 00050000

 00060000

 00070000

 00080000

 00090000

 00100000

 00200000

 00300000

 00400000

 00500000

 00600000

 00700000

 00800000

 00900000

 01000000

 02000000

 03000000

 04000000

 05000000

 06000000

 07000000

 08000000

 09000000

 10000000

 20000000

 30000000

 40000000

 50000000

 60000000

 70000000

 80000000

 90000000

Both the Seven-In-A-Row and The Single Digit Seven Zero Set listed above is especially challenging because the BEP has, for the past two decades, replaced most bills whose serial number ends with more than four 9’s or four 0’s, with a random star note.  It is clear that the printing process is somehow damaging virtually all of the notes ending in multiple 9’s and multiple 0’s.  Every vault contact I’ve ever dealt with confirms that star notes continue to appear as replacements whenever a serial number like 59999999 or 00300000 should show up in numerical order.

Progressive Serial Number Set

 00000001

 00000002

 00000003

 00000004

 00000005

 00000006

 00000007

 00000008

 00000009

 00000011

 00000022

 00000033

 00000044

 00000055

 00000066

 00000077

 00000088

 00000099

 00000111

 00000222

 00000333

 00000444

 00000555

 00000666

 00000777

 00000888

 00000999

 00001111

 00002222

 00003333

 00004444

 00005555

 00006666

 00007777

 00008888

 00009999

 00011111

 00022222

 00033333

 00044444

 00055555

 00066666

 00077777

 00088888

 00099999

 00111111

 00222222

 00333333

 00444444

 00555555

 00666666

 00777777

 00888888

 00999999

 01111111

 02222222

 03333333

 04444444

 05555555

 06666666

 07777777

 08888888

 09999999

 11111111

 22222222

 33333333

 44444444

 55555555

 66666666

 77777777

 88888888

 99999999

One collector owns the complete 72 note set listed above in $1 Silver Certificates, with only one note being a Federal Reserve Note.   Another individual owns the same 72 note set in $1 Federal Reserve Notes with only one note being a $5 Federal Reserve Note. 

Two additional sets that are challenging but can be completed over a period of time include:

Two Digit Zero Radar Set

11111111

22222222

33333333

44444444

55555555

66666666

77777777

88888888

99999999

01111110

02222220

03333330

04444440

05555550

06666660

07777770

08888880

09999990

00111100

00222200

00333300

00444400

00555500

00666600

00777700

00888800

00999900

00011000

00022000

00033000

00044000

00055000

00066000

00077000

00088000

00099000

00100100

00200200

00300300

00400400

00500500

00600600

00700700

00800800

00900900

01000010

02000020

03000030

04000040

05000050

06000060

07000070

08000080

09000090

01100110

02200220

03300330

04400440

05500550

06600660

07700770

08800880

09900990

01011010

02022020

03033030

04044040

05055050

06066060

07077070

08088080

09099090

10000001

20000002

30000003

40000004

50000005

60000006

70000007

80000008

90000009

11000011

22000022

33000033

44000044

55000055

66000066

77000077

88000088

99000099

11100111

22200222

33300333

44400444

55500555

66600666

77700777

88800888

99900999

11011011

22022022

33033033

44044044

55055055

66066066

77077077

88088088

99099099

10111101

20222202

30333303

40444404

50555505

60666606

70777707

80888808

90999909

10011001

20022002

30033003

40044004

50055005

60066006

70077007

80088008

90099009

10100101

20200202

30300303

40400404

50500505

60600606

70700707

80800808

90900909

Illustrations of runs of notes from both the Two Digit Zero Radar Set and the Two Digit Repeater Set are included in this article.  These sets, without the solids, are relatively inexpensive to assemble.

Two Digit Zero Repeater Set

11111111

22222222

33333333

44444444

55555555

66666666

77777777

88888888

99999999

01110111

02220222

03330333

04440444

05550555

06660666

07770777

08880888

09990999

00110011

00220022

00330033

00440044

00550055

00660066

00770077

00880088

00990099

00010001

00020002

00030003

00040004

00050005

00060006

00070007

00080008

00090009

00100010

00200020

00300030

00400040

00500050

00600060

00700070

00800080

00900090

01000010

02000200

03000300

04000400

05000500

06000600

07000700

08000800

09000900

01100110

02200220

03300330

04400440

05500550

06600660

07700770

08800880

09900990

01010101

02020202

03030303

04040404

05050505

06060606

07070707

08080808

09090909

10001000

20002000

30003000

40004000

50005000

60006000

70007000

80008000

90009000

11001100

22002200

33003300

44004400

55005500

66006600

77007700

88008800

99009900

11101110

22202220

33303330

44404440

55505550

66606660

77707770

88808880

99909990

11011101

22022202

33033303

44044404

55055505

66066606

77077707

88088808

99099909

10111011

20222022

30333033

40444044

50555055

60666066

70777077

80888088

90999099

10011001

20022002

30033003

40044004

50055005

60066006

70077007

80088008

90099009

10101010

20202020

30303030

40404040

50505050

60606060

70707070

80808080

90909090

Progressive Ladder Sets

Until the last few years full ladder serial numbers just didn’t enjoy the same popularity as solid serial numbers.  It is interesting to note that only three full ladders, i.e. numbers 12345678, 23456789 and 87654321, are printed from a total run of 96,000,000 notes, vs. eight solid serial numbers 11111111-88888888.   Surprisingly an uncirculated $20 2004 Federal Reserve Note with serial number 12345678 sold for $3353 on ebay in December 2003, a price unthinkable two years ago.

There are several different kinds of ladders, some of which are illustrated in the chart below.  Creating progressive ladder sets makes for an interesting and relatively affordable project.

Down Ladders
Method #1

Down Ladders
Method #2

Up
Ladders

Down Radar
Ladders

Up Radar
Ladders

Down Repeater
Ladders

Up Repeater
Ladders

98765432

98765432

23456789

98766789

67899876

98769876

67896789

87654321

87654321

12345678

87655678

56788765

87658765

56785678

76543210

07654321

01234567

76544567

45677654

76547654

45674567

65432100

00654321

00123456

65433456

34566543

65436543

34563456

54321000

00054321

00012345

54322345

23455432

54325432

23452345

43210000

00004321

00001234

43211234

12344321

43214321

12341234

32100000

00000321

00000123

32100123

01233210

32103210

01230123

21000000

00000021

00000012

21000012

00122100

21002100

00120012

10000000

00000001

00000001

10000001

00011000

10001000

00010001

Summary

If you want to own a collection of truly unique pieces of fiscal history, it is this author’s opinion that fancy serial numbers notes fill that desire like no other collectible.  You needn’t spend thousands of dollars to acquire a small set of “numbers” that will amaze most people who look at what you’ve put together.

Anyone wishing to share their knowledge on the subject of special serial numbered notes, or who would like to learn more is encouraged to contact the author at: Mike Abramson Currency, P O Box 16690, Duluth, MN 55816-0690, 1-218-525-5916 phone/fax, e-mail: macurrency@aol.com