Frequently Asked Questions

Currency and Engravings

Why are BEP products being sold on the Mint website? Why can’t I order directly from BEP?

At the request of the Department of Treasury, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) and United States Mint formed a strategic alliance to sell BEP products through the Mint’s e-commerce system. This collaboration offers collectors, gift-givers, and other customers a better experience and a greater variety of numismatic currency products.

I used to purchase directly from BEP. What should I know now that I’m purchasing BEP products from the Mint?

1. Purchases of BEP products from catalog.usmint.gov or 1-800-USA-MINT are subject to the U.S. Mint Terms and Conditions.

2. Mint shipping and return policies are:

a. The Mint charges a nominal fee to cover shipment. Customers may choose to upgrade their shipping to receive products faster.

b. The Mint’s return policy is different from the return policy at BEP. In particular, our return window is 7 instead of 30 days.

c. See our Information About Shipping for more information.

d. Please note that we do not ship products containing currency to China.

3. Ordering and paying for purchases:

a. The Mint does not accept orders by mail or fax.

b. The Mint does not accept payment by check. We do, however, accept PayPal, which has the option to fund payments from a checking account.

c. For more information on ordering and paying for products, see our FAQs on Order and Payment Processing.

4. All customers, whether they purchase U.S. Mint products, BEP products, or a combination of products, qualify for the U.S. Mint’s Loyalty Program. When you make three or more purchases as a registered customer within a calendar year, you’ll receive free shipping on all future orders placed in the same year and shipped within the United States. For more information, see our Loyalty Program Fact Sheet.

Questions about BEP and Mint website accounts

1. Why can’t I log into my old BEP customer account on the Mint’s website?

a. BEP customer accounts were not transferred to the Mint website.

b. We encourage you to set up an account on the Mint website. While you can purchase from the U.S. Mint without setting up an account, you’ll miss out on benefits like the Loyalty Program, product notifications, easy order tracking, and paying with PayPal.

c. Go to Create an Account to get started. Opening an account on the Mint website is easy and takes only a few minutes.

2. I already have an account on the Mint website. Can I use it to order BEP products?

a. Yes. You can order BEP and Mint products using a single account.

3. I am a BEP bulk customer. What do I do now?

a. BEP bulk sales customers should continue to place orders through BEP at 1-800-456-3408.

4. How can I become a BEP bulk customer?

a. Please contact BEP’s bulk program directly at 1-800-456-3408.

How can I return a product I purchased at a BEP retail location?

If you purchased a product at a BEP retail location, you can return it to that same location. The Mint does not accept or process returns for products purchased from BEP retail locations through its website or call center.

How can I access my past BEP order history?

If you need to access your order history from BEP for products you purchased through its website before September 17, 2018, please contact BEP directly at 1-800-456-3408.

Differences between BEP and the Mint

What’s the difference between BEP and the Mint?

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produces the U.S. Government’s paper currency. It prints billions of Federal Reserve Notes for delivery to the Federal Reserve System each year. BEP also produces engraved art, engraved documents such as military commissions and award certificates, and special security documents for a variety of government agencies.

The United States Mint is the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage and is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The Mint also produces numismatic coins and coin-related products, including proof, uncirculated, and commemorative coins; medals; and silver and gold bullion coins.

Do BEP products have a mintage limit like U.S. Mint products?

Currency products available for sale are extracted from annual orders placed by the Federal Reserve Banks. Mintage limits do not apply to currency because the amount of currency produced is tied to the annual orders by the Federal Reserve Banks.

BEP items, however, may have a product limit. This refers to the number of items made available for public sale, not to the amount of a particular currency produced each year.

I have some currency that was damaged. My bank will not exchange it. What can I do?

The BEP processes requests for reimbursement for damaged United States currency. The BEP's Mutilated Currency Division decides the redemption value of torn or otherwise unfit currency by measuring and examining the portions of the notes submitted. More than one-half of the original note must remain. Currency fragments measuring less than one-half are not redeemable. For additional details, see the Mutilated Currency section of the BEP website.

Questions about uncut currency sheets

Why are the serial numbers on my uncut currency sheet not in order?

The notes on uncut currency sheets are all printed from a single plate. The serial numbers have a relationship to the position of each note in the grid. Because of this, the serial numbers do not proceed in exact sequence as you look at the bills in rows or columns.

Why is the $5 note not available as uncut currency?

BEP expects to release a new $5 note series in 2019. There is not sufficient stock of $5 uncut currency sheets to sell on the Mint website. The next series will be available for sale but a release date is not yet available.

Is uncut currency legal tender?

Yes. The individual notes on uncut currency sheets are legal tender.

Can I cut uncut currency sheets? What happens if the notes on my sheet were cut apart?

Because the individual notes on uncut currency sheets are legal tender, they may be cut apart and spent. Were you to do this, they would only be valued at their face value, even though you would have paid more than their cumulative value for the uncut currency sheet.

Why are all of the notes not available in the same size sheets?

You can purchase uncut currency in sheets of 4, 5, 8, 10, 16, 20, 25, 32, and 50 notes per sheet. Not all notes, however, are available as uncut currency in all of these sheet sizes. Smaller sheet sizes are cut out of the original full-size sheets. The full-size sheet varies between the notes, and there are other manufacturing issues that determine how a sheet can be cut into smaller sizes.

Questions about currency

How can I tell if my money is counterfeit?

Please consult the U.S. Currency Education Program where you will find information on the security features of U.S. currency and related resources and educational materials.

What do I do if I think I’ve received or found a counterfeit bill?

If you suspect you have received a counterfeit note, contact your local police department or local U.S. Secret Service office.

Can I order currency bearing a particular Federal Reserve Bank mark?

No. Currency sold for collecting purposes is extracted from annual Federal Reserve Bank orders. Collectible currency is only available as indicated on our website.

Is there a new series each year?

No. The series date on currency changes the next time a note is printed after one of the following occurs:

1. The Treasurer of the United States changes

2. The Secretary of the Treasury changes

3. The currency design itself changes

The series date will then remain the same until one of these events occurs.

Is there a new series for each United States Treasurer and each Secretary of the Treasury?

The series date changes the next time a note is printed after the Treasurer of the United States or the Secretary of the Treasury changes. It is possible to skip a series change for the Treasurer or Secretary If a note is not ordered by a Federal Reserve Bank before another change in one of these roles.

How long after an administration change does it take to issue new series?

A new series can take several years to enter into circulation.

How do currency serial numbers currency work?

Each note of the same denomination has its own serial number. Up through Series 1995, all Federal Reserve notes had serial numbers consisting of one letter, eight digits, and one letter, such as A12345678B; now only the $1 and $2 notes still use this form.

The first letter of such a serial number identifies the Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) which issued the note; since there are 12 FRBs, this letter is always between A and L. The last letter advances through the alphabet when all eight character serial numbers have been printed for a specific Federal Reserve Bank within the same series. At the time of a series change, the suffix letter returns to the letter A and repeats the cycle.

The letter O is not used because of its similarity to the digit 0, and the letter Z is not used because it is reserved for test printings. On some notes, a star appears in place of the last letter. When an imperfect sheet is detected during the manufacturing process after the serial number has been overprinted, it must be replaced with a new sheet. A "star" sheet is used to replace the imperfect sheet. Reusing an exact serial number to replace an imperfect note is costly and time consuming. A "star" note has its own special serial number followed by a star in place of a suffix letter.

Federal Reserve notes, beginning with Series 1996, have two letters rather than one at the beginning of the serial number. On these notes, the first letter corresponds to the series of the note and the second letter of each serial number now represents the issuing FRB and ranges from A through L. The last letter still can be anything but O or Z, and is still occasionally replaced by a star, with the same meaning as before.

Series Year and Serial Number Relationship Table

Federal Reserve Bank and Serial Number Relationship Table

(From https://www.moneyfactory.gov/resources/serialnumbers.html)

What is a “star” note? Can I order one?

On some notes, a star appears in place of the last letter of the serial number. When an imperfect sheet is detected during the manufacturing process after the serial number has been overprinted, it must be replaced with a new sheet. A "star" sheet is used to replace the imperfect sheet. Reusing an exact serial number to replace an imperfect note is costly and time consuming. A "star" note has its own special serial number followed by a star in place of a suffix letter.

Because of their relative rarity, star notes are popular among collectors.

Star notes are not sold by BEP. They are only found among circulating currency.

Why can I only order 49 pieces of some currency sheets?

Some currency sheets sold in the U.S. have a household order limit. If you need to order higher quantities of these sheets, please contact BEP directly at 1-800-456-3408.

How do I know if my currency is valuable?

It is important to understand that there is a difference between a note’s face value and its collectable value.

All notes that are legal tender of the United States are worth their face value regardless of their rarity or collectability. Any note you bring to a bank or otherwise spend is worth its face value and no more. A $1 bill is worth one dollar regardless of how rare it may be.

As collectible items, however, rare notes may have a market value in the numismatic community that is considerably higher than its face value.

The Department of the Treasury redeems all genuine United States currency at face value only, and does not render opinions concerning the numismatic value of old or rare currencies. If you wish to have your notes appraised, you may look online or in the phone book for a private collector or dealer.

Please be wary of scams if you buy and sell collectable currency or coins. If you are offered a numismatic product at a price far below its usual collectable value, you should exercise extra scrutiny. Know and understand the reputation of dealers before you purchase, and use caution in responding to advertisements in classified pages, online forums, and other sources.

Where can I learn more about currency?

The U.S. Government has several online sources of information on currency:

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing

The U.S. Currency Education Program

The Federal Reserve

U.S. Department of the Treasury

Other questions

Can I purchase a U.S. Treasury Savings Bond from the Mint?

BEP no longer produces paper savings bonds. For more information on purchasing savings bonds, please see TreasuryDirect.gov.

Can you help me find a product that’s no longer for sale?

Neither BEP nor the Mint sells prior-year products once they are sold out. If you are looking for these products, we recommend engaging with local numismatic hobbyists, visiting coin and currency shows, seeking out reputable online forums, and visiting local dealers that sell coins and currency.

For a problem or question about a currency reader or a currency identification mobile app.

For information and assistance with currency identification assistance products, please see BEP’s Meaningful Access Program, call 844-815-9388 toll-free, or email meaningful.access@bep.gov. The Mint’s call center does not provide assistance for these devices and apps.

Questions about engravings

Why is there no portrait of President Trump available?

BEP is in the process of producing the official engraved portrait of President Trump. The release date is not yet available.

Why is the Obama portrait produced on different paper?

The portrait of President Obama is produced on a different type of paper stock that was more suitable for the engraving. Product testing showed that a different stock would work better for his portrait.

Where are the Supreme Court Justice engravings?

The Supreme Court justice engraved portraits are no longer available for sale.

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