The U.S. government authorizes paper money to use as currency. The $1 bill contains intricate markings to make it difficult for counterfeiters to pass off a fake dollar as the real thing. Merchants can refuse to accept a dollar bill if they think it’s counterfeit. The way a dollar bill looks has changed many times since the United States started using paper currency in 1862. The series reflects that changes have been made.
The modern $1 Federal Reserve Notes used today date from 1963. From 1963 to 2009, 22 series have been issued. Many collectors like to try to find a dollar from each series. Another way to collect by series is to pick one series and find an issue from each of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks. The Federal Reserve System serves as the nation’s central bank. It has 12 regional locations. You can tell which Federal Bank printed any particular dollar by its letter designation. For example, Boston is “A,” New York is “B,” Philadelphia is “C,” Cleveland is “D,” Richmond is “E,” Atlanta is “F,” Chicago is “G,” St. Louis is “H,” Minneapolis is “I,” Kansas City is “J,” Dallas is “K” and San Francisco is “L.” The Federal Reserve Seal with its corresponding letter is located to the left of George Washington and is the first letter on the dollar’s serial number.
The series of a dollar bill is indicated by a year. It’s located on the lower-right side of the bill, between George Washington’s portrait and the Secretary of the Treasury’s signature. The word “series” is above the year.
The series year changes on a dollar bill only when a change has occurred. A design change, a new Secretary of the Treasury and a new Treasurer of the United States require a new series year to be displayed on the $1 bill. The date displayed is the year the change was made, such as 2006. But if the change was from a new Treasurer of the United States, a letter suffix is added after the year. If that happens, the series might read 1981A, for example.
The serial number, another significant marking on the $1 bill, makes each bill unique. It appears twice: on the upper-right side of the bill and on the lower-left side. The serial number starts with a letter that indicates which of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks printed the bill. It ends with a letter that indicates the run. “A” would indicate the first run, “B” the second and so on up to “Z.” For example, because the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta is letter “F,” the first bill in the first run would be F00000001A. The first bill in the second run would be F00000001B.
Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.