Paper Money Guaranty (PMG) will attribute “Pre-Star Replacement Notes” for Large-Size National Bank Notes, Small-Size National Bank Notes and Large-Size Type Notes (such as Legal Tender, Silver and Gold Certificates, and Federal Reserve Notes) starting Nov. 15, 2018. Replacement notes are those that took the place of notes that were deemed unfit for circulation. Today, replacement notes for US Federal Reserve Notes are easy to identify thanks to a star (★) in their serial number. Replacement notes for many earlier US note types, including US Small- and Large-Size Type Notes (such as Legal Tender, Silver and Gold Certificates, and Federal Reserve Notes) are similarly identified by a star at the beginning or end of their serial number.
Because this star format is so well known, one may think US replacement notes will always include a star in the serial number. This is not the case. Over a century ago, replacement notes for certain US banknotes did not use a star. Many of these, however, are still identifiable by a slightly different font used for the serial number. This font was the result of replacement notes being printed using different equipment. These notes are called “Pre-Star Replacement Notes” by numismatists.
Shawn Hewitt, a paper money researcher who has studied Pre-Star Replacement Notes extensively, has identified two distinct fonts (old and new style) used for regular and replacement notes. While the differences may go undetected to the untrained eye, close examination confirms the different font styles, allowing identification of Pre-Star Replacements.
Effective November 15, 2018, PMG will attribute Pre-Star Replacement Notes for an additional fee if the Variety (+$8) service is selected. Large-Size Type Replacement Notes will include a “Pre-Star Replacement” designation on the front of the PMG label and receive the Friedberg catalog number with an “R” suffix. Large- and Small-Size National Replacement Notes will include the “Replacement” designation on the front of the PMG certification label in the pedigree field and receive the Friedberg catalog number with an “R” suffix.
“I am pleased that PMG is among the first in the collectible currency industry to appreciate the significance of these rare notes,” Hewitt said. “What keeps collecting currency fun and interesting are new varieties such as this. Anyone who enjoys the thrill of the hunt will love the challenge in searching for these treasures hiding in plain sight.” Population data for Pre-Star Replacement Notes will be listed separately in the PMG Population Report, with the catalog number and “R “suffix.
To get the Pre-Star Replacement Note attribution on the PMG label, you must select the Variety service (+$8 each note) on the PMG Submission Form. (Once requested, the fee is charged regardless of whether a note is confirmed by PMG graders as a Pre-Star Replacement Note.) Only notes submitted to PMG’s office in Sarasota, Florida, are eligible for this service at this time.