Error Note Chronicles: Duplicate Serial Number

Posted on 12/19/2023

A note's serial number is supposed to be unique, so finding two with exactly the same digits is a highly desirable error.

Paper Money Guaranty® (PMG®) is the world’s leading authority on banknote errors, a popular segment of numismatics. In Error Note Chronicles, we take an in-depth look at different errors. This month’s topic is the Duplicate Serial Number Error.

When a modern banknote is printed, it is issued a serial number, both as an accounting measure and an anti-counterfeiting device. Each serial number should be unique for its denomination and series; however, mistakes sometimes happen. When they do, the Duplicate Serial Number Error occurs.

United States paper money is printed at government facilities in Washington, D.C., and Fort Worth, Texas. Separate orders in 2014 and 2016 authorized both facilities to print 2013 Series Federal Reserve Notes for the New York District using ranges of star serial numbers that created an overlap from B00000001* to B00250000* and another overlap from B03200001* to B09600000*. The examples shown here, certificated by PMG and encapsulated in a multi-note holder, share serial number B04439707*. Look to the right of the green Treasury seal on the top note and you'll see the initials FW, for Fort Worth. (These notes are being offered in a January 2024 Heritage Auctions sale, with an estimate of at least $2,000.)

Click images to enlarge.

World notes can also have Duplicate Serial Number Errors. For instance, the Nicaraguan notes shown here realized $384 in a Heritage Auctions sale in December 2022.

Click images to enlarge.

PMG, an independent member of the Certified Collectibles Group® (CCG®), has certified many exciting error notes, including the famous “Del Monte” error note that realized $396,000 in a January 2021 sale.

Collectors and dealers with error notes can submit them to PMG for certification under an applicable grading tier with “error” or the specific error noted under the Variety/Pedigree column on the submission form. There is no additional fee for this service.

For more information about submitting to PMG, visit

Other Error Note Chronicles columns:

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