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A $100 "star note". The asterisk, or "star" following the serial number indicates this is a replacement note for one that was misprinted or damaged in the printing process.

A replacement banknote, commonly referred to as a star note, is a banknote that is printed to replace a faulty one and is used as a control mechanism for governments or monetary authorities to know the exact number of banknotes being printed. Also, since no two serial numbers can be the same,[1] the bill is simply reprinted with a symbol in the serial number, identifying it as a replacement for an error note. Replacement bills have different symbols to mark the error around the world, although the most popular examples are "star notes".


As quality control finds defective notes in the printing process after the serial number has been overprinted, they are taken out with their serial number written down and replaced with another banknote printed specifically for this purpose, so that the number of banknotes being printed stays the same in each production batch. This saves time and money compared to re-printing exactly the same serial number that was used before. It is rare that the replacement banknote has the same serial number as the original faulty one. A replacement note will have its own serial-numbering system that separates it from the normal numbering system.

In the US, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing inspects currency for printing errors prior to releasing notes into general circulation. When notes are discovered that have been printed incorrectly (such as having the serial numbers upside down, etc.) the misprinted "error notes" are replaced with star notes because no two bills within a certain series can be produced with the same serial number.[2] They are used to maintain a correct count of notes in a serial number run. By their nature, star notes are more scarce than notes with standard serial numbers and as such are widely collected by notaphilists.[3][4] Star notes are highly sought after by collectors and are sold for a price exceeding their face value depending on how low the serial number is.[5]

Examples of marker by countries

1957 one United States dollar star note (Star precedes serial number)

Different countries may also have their own numbering or marking schemes. There is no guaranteed way to know the rarity of replacement banknotes as they are only introduced to replace defective ones. Some banknote collectors go after these rather unusual banknotes as their specialty. Both paper and polymer replacement notes exist as this control mechanism.


  1. ^ "U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing - Serial Numbers". Retrieved 2021-07-07.
  2. ^ "Star Notes". The United States Treasury Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Archived from the original on March 15, 2015. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
  3. ^ "Is My Star Note Rare?". Retrieved 2021-01-08.
  4. ^ "star note". Retrieved 2021-01-08.
  5. ^ Hockley, Max (26 February 2023). "Which Star Notes are Valuable?". The Silverpicker. Retrieved 8 November 2023.
  6. ^ "Reserve Bank of India - Museum". Retrieved 2021-01-08.