Hello Mint Error News readers, my name is Craig, and I live in Las Vegas, NV. I am an expert in nothing, just simply a collector who started collecting Wheat Cents with my grandfather back in the 60's. The debut of the Bicentennial Quarter really got me hooked on coin collecting. Over the years I would just save coins of interest I came across in my change, or see in a coin store, with no real direction. My thought was someday when I retire I would then have the time to organize and enjoy my collection.
Well, a few years back I found myself retired, and in possession of over 60 ammo cans full of stuff I've put away over the years. Another collector was asking me if I had this or that, and I said I'm not sure, I think so. To which his response was, "if you don't know what you have, you're not a collector, you're a hoarder." Wow, did the truth of that comment hit me hard. So, I started the long journey of organizing, and thinning out the herd. I joined the Coin Community Forum (CCF), and started asking lots of questions, especially when I thought I found a real treasure, like a possible error. For the most part my joy of a treasure found always turned out to be either Post Mint Damage (PMD), or Machine Doubling (MD).
But... during this journey of organizing and building spreadsheets, putting coins in proper 2X2 flips, etc, I was reading a response from one of the sites true currency experts to another member. In that response he made mention of another currency error. That caught my eye and I immediately started asking more questions. This is where I first learned about the Series 2013, $1, B-New York, Star Notes, that the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) accidentally authorized their printing facility in Fort Worth, TX, to print Serial Numbers which overlapped Serial Numbers that their facility in Washington DC had already printed and put out into circulation.
I found myself absolutely shaken with excitement! After all, from what little I knew of currency, all serial numbers for a particular Series, Denomination, and Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) had to be unique! In my limited knowledge of currency, I did know that when notes are pulled during the printing process for whatever reason, even the replacement note had to have a special designation, thus the placement of a Star at the end of the serial number. So now hearing that there were possibly Star notes, of the same Series (2013), with the same denomination ($1), and from the same FRB (New York), that had a duplicated serial numbered counterpart floating around already somewhere in the world, the hunt was on!!!
From the gentleman on the CCF, he put me into contact with Ed Zegers of Maryland, and Karol Winograd of Florida. Since I'm not on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter (or any other Social Media), joining the CCF was a big jump for me. They both welcomed me, and gave me a flood of information as to what exactly this error was, how it came to be, and how they are just a group of friends who were attempting to organize and try and find an actual matched pair.
Giving a little recap, the group is looking for 2 notes, from the same Series, same denomination, and same FRB, on Star notes no less, with identical serial numbers. One note printed from each facility, DC and FW. Karol had become the keeper of the master spreadsheet that we would all report our findings to. This was no small task, it consumed all his time, getting tons of email each day of individual submissions, having to verify contact information, note information, etc., and that was when it was a small group.
Not all 2013 $1 New York Star notes were duplicated, only those with Serial numbers between B00000001* - B00250000*, and those with Serial Numbers between B03200000* - B09600000* were duplicated.
For greater detail as to what years, and range of serial numbers were printed in, please refer to articles by real experts, like Mr. Peter Huntoon for the Banknote Reporter (he did 2 so far), Ed Zegers did some for SPMC, Coin World did one after the first auction. These will really highlight the base ground work, like the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that had to be filed on the BEP, because the public production reports didn't actually list some of the notes that were physically starting to show up on the street. That's a story in itself! You may also want to go to https://www.mycurrencycollection.com/blog/1-2013-new-york-duplicate-serial-number-mistake where the site organizer, who is much smarter than I, has written out a statistical math problem for figuring the odds of making a match.
Well, let's start making some pairs, how hard could it be, after all there are 6.4 million possible pairs out there, or is there?
Let's look at a few more factors to consider here. The average lifespan of a $1 bill is roughly 6 years in circulation, and then it is pulled from circulation due to wear & tear, and destroyed. I've tried to find out which notes have been pulled and destroyed to match with our lists; however I've been informed they do not track which Series or Serial numbers have been destroyed. Each day that goes by, more notes are pulled and destroyed, thereby reducing the odds for more matches.
Another item to consider: after the FOIA response came out, don't you think the BEP would have put out an order for all 12 FRB's to search their vaults for any of these particular notes that haven't already been put in circulation, to be pulled and turned in for destruction? Now I have no proof of that, but it seems logical, and since there's no destruction report, we may never know.
So let's get back to the original project. I kind of unofficially became a "cheerleader" for the project on the CCF, where I go by "Snoopydoo." Trying to get more people looking, trying to get them to search their collections and direct them to Karol, who worked tirelessly in maintaining the group spreadsheet and he would put out an updated list every month. I was scouring eBay and coin stores, and going to the bank or casino regularly getting straps of $1 notes to search each week. Back then, not a lot of people really were aware of this error, I was shocked. I later joined another numismatic site, I learned about watching some YouTube channels on collecting, and found one guy I really enjoyed and learned a lot from. His name was Max and his YouTube name is "Silver Picker." He had something called a "Discord" channel you could join so I did, again, way out of my comfort zone, but I'm so happy that I did. I learn something new there every day. Through that Discord channel, I had the opportunity to get to know Max thru chats, and a couple of video chats, etc. One day Max was so intrigued by this project, he worked with Karol and Ed for the facts of the project, and created a video about the project. The video was a hit, and a lot more notes started to be reported. However, it was both a blessing and a curse for Karol. So much information and note reporting coming in everyday, the other side of the sword was, they were looking for fast money, and as more learned about it, prices started going up on eBay. People would report the notes to the project, then sell them, but not remove them from the project, then the new owners would report them as a match, but it was the same note from the list reported by the seller. You can see where this is going, and all the work Karol was faced with on a daily basis.
I apologize if this seems a little choppy or I'm jumping back and forth a little, but please understand, there were lots of moving parts and issues happening at the same time, such as each person's collection growing, getting reported, first matches made, articles coming out, more people finding out about it, first pairs to get graded, their designation as "Duplicated Serial Numbers," to more articles, more matches, grading designation officially changes to errors; specifically now designated as "Production Errors - Duplicated Serial Numbers." Let's get to matches starting to be made over time.
1. Made and owned by a single collector in WA.
2. Made by me, to a collector in New York.
3. Made by me, to same collector in New York. We each exchanged one, to each have a pair. This was the 1st matched pair graded, and is the one pictured to the left at the start of this article.
4. Made by collector in VA, w/ WA collector. They made an exchange so VA collector has the pair.
5. Made by me, w/ NY collector-we each donated our note to the founder of this project, Mr. Ed Zegers.
6. Made by me, w/ co-founder in FL, I donated mine to him to have a pair.
7. Made by me, w/ NY collector-we each are holding our half hoping for another match.
8. Made by me, w/ VA collector-we each are holding our half hoping for another match.
9. Made by me, w/ myself, I found its match in Germany, took 6 months to negotiate its acquisition during the height of COVID.
Because I was the only one with 2 matched pairs, and now the overwhelming question became: how much are they worth? This was the 1st pair ever put up for auction. And with hindsight being 20/20, it was way too soon to have put it up for auction. To this day, not very many people are even aware of this error in the mainstream collecting world. Even just a couple months ago, I went to a large coin show, and asked currency experts their thoughts on these errors, and they say they've never heard of them.
Stacks Bowers sold this pair for me at auction for an opening bid price of $6K, with buyers' fees, which came to $7.2K in August 2021. That buyer just resold it in the spring of 2022 on eBay for over $9K.
10. Made by me, w/ HI collector. He is a good friend of Karol's, so I sent him the match so he could have a matched pair.
So of this original group matching of 10 pairs, 8 are actually together with a sole owner, 2 remain ½ matches with dual ownership.
Also during this time, when they started to get graded, they were simply designated as "Duplicated Serial Numbers," and they did not have an official "Error" title. The project founder, Ed Zegers, penned an email to Dr. Frederick Bart, the author of United States Paper Money Errors, asking his opinion on these matched pairs. The group was overjoyed to hear that Dr. Bart had been following the projects growth, and that he did in fact consider them an error. He said the notes by themselves were not. However, if brought together with it's matching note, like these pairs, then the proper designation would be "Production Error – Duplicated Serial Number." He went on to say that he is planning to add this error section to his upcoming 5th edition release of United States Paper Money Errors. We as a group are so excited, and can't wait for that book to be released!!
Subsequent to that interesting correspondence, I acquired another pair, (not listed above), and sent it to PCGS for grading. It was the first of this 2013 error they had graded, and they in fact did attribute it per Dr. Bart's recommendation. It is the second picture at the start of this article.
So the Zeger/Winograd project was marching on, for a little while. As the workload was getting to be too overwhelming and time consuming, it was reduced in scope. Now the goal was limited to find a matched pair in the 1st run. It wasn't too long after that, our co-founder and maintainer of the list, Karol Winograd, had some health issues come front and center in his life. Karol is keeping up the fight, and spending quality time with his family now. So in effect, the original project is no longer active. I believe one more match was made between two original members after the ending of the project, but health issues have hampered that coming together. Oh the joys of getting older.
About this time, fall of 2021, another person who goes by the CCF handle of "Past Expiry" started a new 2013BProject online.
Some of the original group left their notes in the new project, some did not. I have not been a part of the new project yet, but have heard they've made a new match!!
So what do you all think of this great and extremely rare find of an error?
With an average of 3 Billion $1 bills in circulation around the world at any given time, and to pluck one out of the cosmos, then with your other hand pluck a matching one from across the universe, I'm going to have to say... these are rare!!!
I really hope word of this challenging error finds its way to the mainstream. I also hope it has sparked an interest to all who read this and they find as much joy as I have in chasing the stars!!
At the August 2022 Vegas National Coin Show, I displayed my collection of Series 2013 star notes from the New York Federal Reserve district. It is the world’s largest collection of matched pairs of duplicate serial numbers.