What is a star note?

Star notes are used by the BEP (Bureau of Engraving and Printing) to replace misprinted/damaged currency before it goes into circulation. These replacement notes are printed just like normal notes, except there is a star printed in the serial number. On Federal Reserve Notes, the star is where the block letter normally is (the last letter of the serial number). On Legal Tender notes and Silver Certificates, the star is where the prefix normally is (the first letter of the serial number).

Print Runs

Star notes are printed in what are called "runs." For the current printing systems used by the BEP, the maximum run size for star notes is 3.2 million notes (100,000 32-note sheets). Sometimes, this many notes are not needed, in which case less are printed. If a partial run is printed, the next run will start at the next closest multiple of 3.2 million. Star notes get their rarity from the quantity printed and released into circulation. Generally, collectors consider runs of 640,000 notes or less to be rare. Many times, collectors refer to star notes by their run number. This is determined by the number range that the star note's serial number fits into. Here are the ranges for the run numbers:

  • 1   0000 0001 - 0320 0000
  • 2   0320 0001 - 0640 0000
  • 3   0640 0001 - 0960 0000
  • 4   0960 0001 - 1280 0000
  • 5   1280 0001 - 1600 0000
  • 6   1600 0001 - 1920 0000
  • 7   1920 0001 - 2240 0000
  • 8   2240 0001 - 2560 0000
  • 9   2560 0001 - 2880 0000
  • 10   2880 0001 - 3200 0000
  • ...

Two types of star notes

There are two types of star notes.  The difference is when in the printing process they are used.  The print type has a large impact on whether a star note is rare or not.  Read more about the two types here: Two Types of Star Notes: Sheet Notes vs Regular Notes.

How rare is my star note?

If you want to find the rarity of a star note, you first need to find the production values for that run and FRB. I have two references on my site for series 1976 to the present - the Star Note Lookup and production tables: $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100.  That will give you a sense of whether your note might be rare/valuable or not.  To dig in further you can read about how to find your note's estimated value here: What Is My Note Worth?