Serial Numbers on Uncut Sheets

Discussion in 'Paper Money' started by ajbuckle, Nov 1, 2007.

  1. ajbuckle

    ajbuckle New Member

    I recently purchased an uncut sheet of 32x $2 notes from the BEP, and was disappointed to find that the serial numbers on all 32 bills are identical. Aren't all notes supposed to have different serial numbers? Does that mean that what I got is a "made for collectors only" sheet and not real currency? Does anybody know how I can get an uncut sheet of actual currency with differing serial numbers?

    Thank you!
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  3. lettow

    lettow Senior Member

    A sheet as you describe would actually be a rarity. The BEP does not print notes with identical serial numbers. Notes on a sheet are numbered 20000 apart going down the columns, they are not sequential. This has to do with the way they are cut and packaged. They are sequential with the sheet before and after in each position on the sheet.

    Are you sure that the numbers are the same or do they just end in the same number with the differences in the numbers being internal digits?
  4. andrew289

    andrew289 Senior Analyst

    Post a pic.
    I'm sure there must be some mistake.
    All 32 can't be the exact same number.
  5. clembo

    clembo A closed mind is no mind

    Lettow explained it well.

    If all 32 notes were the same serial number you would have a big money item on your hands It just doesn't happen the BEp takes great measures to prevent it from happening.
  6. ajbuckle

    ajbuckle New Member

    You are right

    I was expecting sequential serial numbers, but it is numbers in the middle of the sequence that change. I overlooked it because the last digits are the same (I know, pretty stupid). Sorry about that.
  7. gatzdon

    gatzdon Numismatist

    The BEP uses a strange numbering scheme that allegedly works to their advantage when it comes to cutting and bundling the notes so that the end user receives notes with consecutive serial numbers.

    There used to be an article in the front of the Freidburg book that explained it. Don't know if it's still their in current editions.
  8. lettow

    lettow Senior Member

    The numbering scheme is not so strange if you understand the printing process. When the finished sheets come off the presses, they are stacked on top of each other so that the numbers are in sequence going down through the stack in each position. In other words, if serial number 00000001 is in the upper left corner, the sheet below it will have 00000002 in that same corner. The sheets are then cut down through the stacks so all the finished notes are already in sequence going down through the pile.

    This is more efficient than having the notes in sequence on each sheet. If this were the case, the cut notes would have to be moved to be in sequence. The BEP process eliminates that step.

    This is also why sequential notes should have the same plate numbers -- sequential notes were printed with the same plate.

    The irony of this is that serial number 00000001 is not on the first sheet printed. It would be on the last sheet printed so it ended up on top.

    Notes are printed in blocks of 20000. This is why the serial numbers on a sheet are 20000 apart. The BEP determines how many it is going to print in a particular print run. This number will always be a multiple of 20000 and also a factor of 32 so that you will see print runs of 320,000 or 3,200,000 or 6,400,000 notes.

    If they are going to print the first notes of a series, lets say Series 2009 $1.00 notes from the Chicago Federal Reserve District, they first determine how many they will print. If they are going to print 6,400,000 notes in this print run, the first sheet printed would have serial number G06400000A in the lower right corner of the sheet. They would continue to print sheets until 200,000 sheets have been numbered. Sheet 200,000 would have number G00000001A in the upper left corner.

    If they needed to print another 3,200,000 notes for this district at a later time, the first sheet would start with G09600000A in the lower right corner. The run would end 100,000 numbered sheets later with G06400001A in the upper left corner.
  9. clembo

    clembo A closed mind is no mind

    Nice job of explaing lettow !

    I've collected currency for a quite a while and never really got that much into the printing process.
    Your explanation actually is understandable to the layman.
  10. Pirata72

    Pirata72 Senior Member

    Great way of explaining the printing process.
  11. RickieB

    RickieB Expert Plunger Sniper

    Agreed... nice job!

    RickieB

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