Last night my sister, Suzanne, sent e-mail about some old two-dollar bills she’d found. One has a star in its serial number, she said; what does that mean? Does that make it worth something?

So I sent her this link:

(If you haven’t seen lmgtfy before, go ahead and click through; it’s fun.)

She came back with:

Thanks, wiseass. If I had time to google or read any of the links google returned, I’d have done that myself. Do my homework for me, please.

So I wrote back:

Stars can appear in the serial number of U.S. bank notes of any denomination. A bill acquires a star when it passes through the hands of a celebrity, to show it once was handled by a “star.”

Because movie, music, and other stars are rich and handle lots of money, bills with stars on them are fairly common — though there has been a long-running controversy over whether cash that’s controlled by stars but physically handled by their money managers should get the star notation.

Much more rare (and therefore more collectible) than so-called “star notes” are “multistar notes,” which have accumulated two or more stars in their serial numbers. Savvy members of the service industry will drop everything in order to serve drinks, etc., at a Hollywood poker game, in hopes of being tipped with multistar notes whose collectible value is far in excess of their face value.

Hope this helps!

Apparently she didn’t read it until this morning. She sent the following at 8am:

This doesn’t make any sense. Why would they change the printing after it’s already been in circulation?

to which I replied that she’d better start drinking coffee in the morning.

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