Brenna P. writes: I am hoping that you can explain to me what “average grade range,” “unc,” and “unc star” mean. We just found several old paper bills and were trying to find out if they are worth anything but we don’t understand those phrases. Please help! Thank you.
Collectors buy and sell notes based on their rarity and condition. There is a grading system that describes the condition of particular notes quite accurately but common notes that have been in circulation, that is, have folds, bends, might be slightly soiled or even have a minor tear are sometimes lumped together under the heading of “Average Circulated”.
Notes that are Uncirculated, that is, considered in new condition, have four sharp corners, no folds or bends, have the original sizing in the paper and have no evidence of being handled.
In the manufacture of U.S. paper money, sheets that are damaged or destroyed are replaced with specially prepared sheets. Each note in the replacement sheet has a star next to the serial number to signify that it is a replacement for a missing sequence number. Star notes are scarcer than regular notes and, in many cases, bring a higher price than comparable regular notes.