Certified by Professional Coin Grading Service, this banknote has mismatched serial numbers and is also missing some serial number digits
Bidding has reached $5,500 for a strange $5 Federal Reserve banknote that was discovered by alert collector Alex Allis who submitted the bizarre error to Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS). Bidding on the note with both mismatched and several missing serial numbers will close on Sunday, June 26, at GreatCollections.
“Errors like this simply don’t turn up every day,” remarked PCGS President Stephanie Sabin. “Our graders were stunned when they found this remarkable error come through. It speaks volumes about the trust collectors place in our grading and error diagnostics team that PCGS was top of mind for Ms. Allis upon her discovery of this incredible piece.”
“I was a coin collector for many years,” explains Allis, who said she began poring through banknotes during the pandemic when coin shortages stemmed the flow of coinage for her to search through. “Banks would give a thousand $1 bills but not a single roll of coins. I kept my dollar bills I received from change in a separate box, but when I was putting the $5 into the box it demanded my immediate attention.”
She recalls this error specimen feeling to the touch just like a brand-new bill might.
“I looked at it about a thousand times. I checked all the usual signs of authenticity for bills. Of course, I didn’t sleep that night!”
Recounting a flurry of errands that led her to landing this unusual $5 error note, Allis notes, “That day I went to the bank, grocery store, and a convenience store. I can’t be certain what establishment I received the bill from, but my guess is the convenience store.”
She submitted the error note to PCGS because of her positive impressions of the third-party grading company from having attended coin shows.
“I chose PCGS because they are the premier grading service. I have attended shows in the past, and all the people were happy to help and garner excitement for collections.”
Allis says that throughout the pandemic she tried sparking an interest in her kids that might lead to them studying and collecting coins and banknotes.
“Although I have had coins and currency put away, the pandemic reminded all of us how fragile life is – and how would my children know what to do with my collection? They are totally engaged now!”
Nearly a decade ago, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) introduced new, state-of-the-art banknote production equipment meant to increase output and tighten quality control. Large Examining and Printing Equipment (or LEPE systems, as they are known) were installed at both BEP facilities to augment decades-old Currency Overprinting and Processing Equipment (COPE) system capacity. This subject $5 error banknote is a product of the relatively novel LEPE system, which had just recently been approved for production of the $5 denomination in 2019.
With new technology comes the potential for the generation of new and mysterious mistakes, as evidenced here. Research into the complicated technical specifics that created the error note continues, although it has been established that an LEPE system setup issue was fundamentally to blame. While it is not yet certain whether that configuration problem was digital or mechanical, accidental or intentional, or something else entirely, what remains wholly clear is that this $5 error type is guaranteed to induce jaw-dropping, breathtaking, and head-scratching reactions everywhere it goes.