Star Notes: Print Run vs Total Printed

Discussion in 'Paper Money' started by Skippy Topaz, Oct 31, 2018.

  1. Skippy Topaz

    Skippy Topaz Obsolete

    So, I recently found a couple of Star Notes that had a 3.2 million Run but one of them had a 30 million Total Printed while the other one only had a Total Printed of 4 million so I was wondering what would be considered a Low Total Printed number and if any 3.2 million Print Runs are worth saving because of a Low Total Printed number? They both appear to be "Less Rare" so my guess is "no" but just been wondering about it...

    I guess part two of the questions is.. (since I still don't understand how Print Runs work) Is how can two notes with 3.2 Million Print Run have such a disparity in the total number printed?

    PrintRunvsTotal.jpg
     
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  3. SteveInTampa

    SteveInTampa Innocent bystander

    Some districts typically have higher totals than others.

    San Francisco, New York and Atlanta come to mind. Some districts usually have less, Minneapolis, Richmond and Cleveland are a few. While some get skipped all together.
     
  4. Numbers

    Numbers Senior Member

    Because often a single district will have lots of runs printed. The "total printed" is just all the runs added together.

    To take a random example, here are the print runs for the 2009 $1 B..*:

    Run 1 : B00000001* - B01280000* : 1,280,000 notes
    Run 2 : B03200001* - B03840000* : 640,000 notes
    Run 3 : B06400001* - B06432000* : 32,000 notes
    Run 4 : B09600001* - B12800000* : 3,200,000 notes
    Run 5 : B12800001* - B13440000* : 640,000 notes
    Run 6 : B16000001* - B19200000* : 3,200,000 notes
    Total printed: 8,992,000 notes.

    So the 2009 $1 B..* is a pretty common star overall, with almost 9 million printed. But run 3 is extremely scarce, being one of the shortest star runs printed in decades.

    Somebody who collects stars by district will just get one B..* note from one of the large runs and be done with it. But somebody who collects by run will have to find six B..* notes, one from each run, and will probably have to pay quite a bit for the run 3 note.

    (Of course I'm leaving out lots of complications here. Run 1 was printed at Fort Worth and the other five runs at Washington, so some collectors will want a run 1 note even if they're not trying to collect every run. And run 5 is unaccountably scarcer than its serial range would indicate. But you get the basic idea.)

    Back to the OP's original question:

    A full run of stars is 3.2 million notes, so anything printed in that quantity is relatively common, as stars go. A low run size would be anything that's a small fraction of 3.2 million; a run of 320,000 is definitely small, and 640,000 is at least smallish. A low Total Printed would be a total that includes just a few short runs (or even just one) and no full-size runs. So if the Total Printed is over 3.2 million, it isn't a low total.

    For example, the 2009 $1 G..* had two runs printed, but they were each just 640,000 notes. The total printed is 1,280,000, which makes this a slightly tougher star. But the 2009 $1 H..* had just one run printed, and it was just 320,000 notes; since the total for the district is just 320,000 notes, and every district collector needs one (not just run collectors), this is a star that's very much worth saving!
     
  5. SteveInTampa

    SteveInTampa Innocent bystander

    Good explanation @Numbers.

    The only thing I’ll add is, sometimes star runs are reported and never show up.
     
  6. NOS

    NOS Former Coin Hoarder

    A lingering question I have from observing serial ranges of star notes is why don't the serials of the runs follow each other consecutively like regular blocks do? We can see how each run has their own nonconsecutive range of serials in the above example (except for Run 5, of which the reported range may have been made in error by the BEP), which just isn't done with regular blocks.
     
  7. Numbers

    Numbers Senior Member

    I think it's just to keep the BEP's record-keeping from getting too complex.... Every run always reserves a full 3,200,000 serial numbers, even if it doesn't use them all. That way, when the BEP needs to print the next star run, they don't have to look up all the details of the previous star runs to know where to start the next run--they just have to look up how many previous runs there've been.

    For example, star run 4 of *any* series/denom/district will always begin at serial number 09600001, no matter how long runs 1 through 3 may have been.

    So the only difference between star notes and regular notes is that star notes are sometimes printed in partial runs. The BEP leaves a gap after the partial run precisely so that the existence of the partial run *won't* change the numbering of the next run. If they didn't leave these gaps, the star numbering would be much more confusing; we could get a full-length run with a weird serial range like 01952001-05152000. It would no longer be possible to just look at a note and know which run it belonged to--you'd have to check against the production reports every single time.
     
    Oldhoopster likes this.
  8. TheFinn

    TheFinn Well-Known Member

    I sure am glad there are people that know this stuff without needing to look it up all of the time.
     
  9. Skippy Topaz

    Skippy Topaz Obsolete

    Very cool, thanks for the info. Makes a whole lot more sense to me now :)
     
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