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Mismatched Serial Numbers on Currency

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Pillar of the Community
United States
714 Posts
 Posted 12/22/2009  3:08 pm Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add yechi7 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message

I can understand how most coin & currency errors occur. But I don't understand how Mismatched Serial Numbers on currency happens.

If the machine that's stamping the Serials is set to only increase at the last number in the group of numbers, & supposedly they're identical Serials on the left side & right side of a bill, how do Mismatches happen?

Why are only the first 2 numbers mismatched? How rare are they? Would they be more commonly found on "older currency" as opposed to "newer currency"? Or are the printing methods nowadays so improved that they don't happen any more & they're only found on older currency? I assume that older currency with Mismatched Serials have already been taken out of circulation, since somebody already noticed it.

For instance, if I got a new batch from the bank of a thousand new one dollar bills that had never been circulated, what are the chances of finding one with Mismatched Serial Numbers?

Any websites discuss this phenomena?

Edited by yechi7
12/22/2009 3:11 pm
Pillar of the Community
Australia
2830 Posts
 Posted 12/22/2009  6:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Peter THOMAS to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
G'day, I've seen an Australian polymer $10 with mismatched second-digit.
It was very circulated, but the the owner was knocking back offers over $1,000.
I have no idea how this comes about, but I wonder if the bloke or sheila who sweeps up has too much backswing in his/her action, then maybe something gets bumped out of alignment ?
Peter in Oz
Edited by Peter THOMAS
12/22/2009 7:11 pm
Valued Member
United States
273 Posts
 Posted 12/25/2009  11:57 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Siuol to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The starting numbers used to be, I don't know maybe they still are now, set by hand. So that leaves room for operator error such as in the note that you posted. I would assume that they are pretty rare occurences.

I have never seen a mismatched serial on a note printed in the last 30 years, but then again I haven't really looked on the internet for them.

As for people noticing it I would think that would be a little harder than it would seem. Sure if the number was on the end like in the pictured note it would be easy, but what if all the numbers are different and it is in the middle of the serial you probably wouldn't notice it at first glance. You would be suprised what goes unnoticed.

As far as would you find one in a thousand notes I can tell you this. I look at between 500 and 1000 ones from the bank in any given week and I have never found one. But I keep looking .
Valued Member
United States
106 Posts
 Posted 12/26/2009  12:47 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Brannenworks to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I was in Perth for Thanksgiving and loved the Aussie polymer money. And I dropped by the Perth Mint, had the tour, and picked up a few coins.
Valued Member
United States
460 Posts
 Posted 12/31/2009  4:55 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Andrew289 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Oh ..so soooo many questions.

If the machine that's stamping the Serials is set to only increase at the last number in the group of numbers, & supposedly they're identical Serials on the left side & right side of a bill, how do Mismatches happen?

HUMAN ERROR. THE NUMBERS WERE SET BY HAND.

Why are only the first 2 numbers mismatched?

THE FIRST 2 NUMBERS ARE NOT MISMATCHED, ONLY THE FIRST NUMBER IS.

How rare are they?

I DON'T KNOW

Would they be more commonly found on "older currency" as opposed to "newer currency"?

YES

Or are the printing methods nowadays so improved that they don't happen any more & they're only found on older currency?

YES. TODAY THE NUMBERING IS COMPUTERIZED AND EACH SHEET IS REVIEWED BY AN ELECTRONIC EYE FOR PERFECTION.

I assume that older currency with Mismatched Serials have already been taken out of circulation, since somebody already noticed it.

MOST LIKELY BUT NEVER ASSUME. wHEN YOU ASSUME YOU MAKE AN [red]*** Edited by Staff | [b]The bad word filter is in place for a reason.[/b] Bypassing the filter and making the intended word obvious anyway is [b]completely[/b] unacceptable. ***[/red] OUT OF you AND ME ...HAHAHAHA (ASS-U-ME)

For instance, if I got a new batch from the bank of a thousand new one dollar bills that had never been circulated, what are the chances of finding one with Mismatched Serial Numbers?

ZERO CHANCE BUT IF YOU ARE FEELING LUCKY AND HAVE TIME ON YOUR HANDS - GO FOR IT AND REPORT BACK

Any websites discuss this phenomena?

NOT THAT IM AWARE OF.
Pillar of the Community
3660 Posts
 Posted 01/07/2010  05:09 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add zeewool to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
That sure is one neat note that you have pictured there yechi. Are there more floating around in circulation, a person might ask. You bet there are. My guess would be thousands of them. I imagine also that you could find several such notes on eBay. Many folks look at serial numbers, but do they look at 'both' serial numbers in relative comparison?

I am not much of a coin collector or currency collector, I am more of a fan of the machines that did it all, especially the 'earlier' coin and currency presses, and here is my condensed (and I really do mean condensed) take on the serial number thing:

The earliest press that churned out US currency was of quite simple design, housed at the American Banknote Company in New York City, contracted by the US Government in 1861, and produced four notes per sheet, one sheet at a time. These notes were then individually inspected, hand signed and hand cut into single notes.

As demand for more notes increased to meet economic growth, the design of presses advanced to compensate for this increasing demand. Throughout the era of large size notes, four notes per sheet was the standard except that most of the earlier $50 & $100 Nationals were printed on sheets of two. Errors were circulated, but they were relatively few.

In 1928 the US decreased the size of the notes to present day dimensions, and increased the number of notes per sheet to 12. In 1952, this increased to 18 notes per sheet.

Up to this point, all notes were serial numbered sequentially (by hand, if you wish) on their respective sheets.

Beginning with the production of the 18 note sheets, a new numbering scheme was implemented; the second note printed would now receive a serial number 8000 higher than the previous note. This pattern continued throughout the sheet so that the 18th note on the sheet would have a serial number that would be 136,000 higher than the first note on the same sheet. (The note that you have pictured above was printed in this sequencing scheme).

Many sheets are printed simultaneously. A complicated stacking process followed (but very basically put), this was done so that as the sheets are stacked, the entire stack of sheets can be cut and the individual notes in each stack will be in numerical order.

Within the next ten years, the notes per sheet had increased to 32, and the numbering scheme also changed again. Now the second note would receive a number 20,000 higher than the prior note, so the last note on the sheet would be numbered 620,000 higher than the first note on that same sheet. In 1971, the BEP installed the COPE machines that were state of the art for that time and could overprint both sides of a sheet simultaneously.

In 1985, these machines began to be replaced by the COPE-PAK machines 120 feet long and nearly 20 feet tall, and are still in use today. Essentially, paper in one end, prepackaged bundles of numerically sequenced cash out the other end.

Today each BEP branch runs nine of these machines, each producing 8,000 sheets per hour, 24 hours per day. The serial numbers are not sequential on individual sheets, and they are not inspected by anyone. The COPE-PAK system is programmed to detect over 700 malfunctions, automatically shut down, and identify the cause of malfunction. I highly doubt that a mismatched serial number would be cause for shut down, and production would continue.

The number sequencing is not set by hand, and this type of mismatched serial number error is far more likely to occur today than it was 100 years ago, although your chances of finding one are probably the same as winning the lottery, due to the sheer number of notes being printed.

Today, serial numbers are computer generated, but are rotated and applied mechanically, and since there are two serial numbers per note, there are two sets of mechanical tumblers 'optimally' acting together. Mistakes can and do happen with mechanical apparati though. It is the job of the error collector to find these mistakes, as neither the BEP or the general public will.

I realize that all of that was far more than you asked for, but I thought that with the number of questions that you had, a little background might be helpful in the overall understanding of how things like this happen.
Pillar of the Community
United States
714 Posts
 Posted 01/10/2010  05:10 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add yechi7 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the feedback & background info on currency production & serials. I typed in "mismatched serial" in ebay completed listings & I found 3 sold. Price $269, $379, $449. I would love to find one of these notes.
Pillar of the Community
3660 Posts
 Posted 01/10/2010  11:09 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add zeewool to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
As would I yechi. I am afraid though, that unless the stars, moon and planets are aligned just right in the Heavens, neither of us will 'find' one unless it is already in a TPG holder. If we want one earlier than say 1957, then finding one even in a TPG holder will become an epic quest.
The raw notes 'are' out there, yet we would be subject to devoting much time, effort and sanity to coming across one.
They are the proverbial 'needle in a haystack'. I would venture to say that very, very few folks ever bother to look.
Pillar of the Community
United States
714 Posts
 Posted 01/12/2010  10:38 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add yechi7 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
More rare than a 1909-S VDB & 1/3 the price!
Pillar of the Community
3660 Posts
 Posted 01/12/2010  11:11 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add zeewool to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
That may be true David. I don't know any thing about prices of coins or currency, and I don't know much about rarity either (especially Lincoln pennies). I would not consider these mismatched serial numbers 'rare', but more 'hidden' in the vast expanse of matched serial numbers. I think that the reason that they do not show up very often is because people just do not take the time or interest to scrutinize every note (or bill) that comes their way.
Forum Dad
Learn More...
United States
6951 Posts
 Posted 01/13/2010  10:35 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bobby131313 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
http://cgi.ebay.com/error-note-mism...rs_W0QQitemZ200426934037QQcmdZViewItemQQssPageNameZRSS:B:SRCH:US:101
Pillar of the Community
3660 Posts
 Posted 01/13/2010  12:35 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add zeewool to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Yep, thanks Bobby, for substantiating my claim that they 'are' out there.

I would not have noticed this note as anything special if it were not pointed out to me.
Pillar of the Community
United States
714 Posts
 Posted 01/13/2010  1:00 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add yechi7 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The above explanations by zeewool can account for notes with Mismatched Serial Numbers where the first or second number are mismatched.

Check this note out, where the last 4 digits are mismatched!

$5 District H St. Louis Missouri Series 1977 A
U.S. FRN note with last 4 digits of 6125 on left
and last 4 digits of 5870 on right.


http://cgi.ebay.com/PCGS-4-DIGIT-MI...-5_W0QQitemZ a href= http://www.coincommunity.com/go/f1....ig_cvip=true target= _blank rel= nofollow 190362639769 /a QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item2c527f5d99

How cool is that!
Pillar of the Community
3660 Posts
 Posted 01/13/2010  1:47 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add zeewool to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
(Not cool).

I realize that this note is in a PCGS holder, (which doesn't impress me one bit). I have seen notes in PCGS holders that were totally misidentified.....and this particular note has a 'very' fishy look to it to me.

Normally, the last four digits are not larger in size than the first four. I would not touch it, PCGS holdered or not.
Pillar of the Community
United States
714 Posts
 Posted 01/13/2010  2:22 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add yechi7 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the clarification & warning.
Pillar of the Community
3660 Posts
 Posted 01/13/2010  2:35 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add zeewool to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
STRICTLY 'my' opinion Dave. I really am not down on PCGS despite what I may have sounded like.
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