News Stories

Oops, I Did It Again

Published May 2, 2024 | 2 min read

By Olivia McCommons

Most modern U.S. $1 bills are worth just a dollar, but on rare occasions, they’re worth thousands. Certain Series 2013 Federal Reserve star notes printed for New York fall into the latter category. According to Stack’s Bowers Galleries, the image here shows “two different one dollar notes, but they are from the same year, same treasury officials, same denomination, same replacement designation, same Federal Reserve bank, and they have the same serial number. The only difference is that one was printed in Washington, D.C., and the other in Fort Worth, Texas.” The pair sold for $7,200 in a 2021 sale.

Photo: Stack’s Bowers Galleries

How Did This Happen?

In 2014 the Bureau of Engraving & Printing (BEP) requested that its Washington, D.C., facility print a batch of dollar bills. Two years later, the BEP sent the same request to the Fort Worth facility, resulting in 6.4 million pairs of notes with matching serial numbers between B00000001*-B00250000*, and B03200001*-B09600000*. The BEP didn’t catch the mistake but a discerning collector did, and the error has recently been gaining more traction.


“In the last two or three years, people started to discover the error,” says Chad Hawk, vice president of Paper Money Guaranty (PMG). “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.” One of those ways is Project2013B ( Launched in 2017 by Ed Zegers and Karol Winograd, the database catalogs the known duplicate-serial-number errors. When a user submits a bill, the website’s curator checks the database and alerts both owners if a match has been made. Owners can then contact one another and decide on the next steps. At the time of this writing, the project has 80 confirmed pairs (which are co-owned) and 35 complete pairs (single owner), totaling 115 matches.

A version of this article appears in the June 2024 issue of The Numismatist (