In this post, we’re going to dive into the world of Barr notes. These rare bank notes were printed for just 28 days, making them highly sought after by collectors. I’ll be discussing what a Barr note is, how to identify it, and of course, what you really want to know: what is it worth?
What is a Barr Note?
A Barr note is a banknote that bears the signature of Joseph Barr, the Under Secretary of the United States Treasury during President Lyndon Johnson’s administration. This guy:
When the United States printed the 1968 $1 bills, Barr’s signature was included. However, what makes these notes truly unique is that Joseph Barr served as the Secretary of the Treasury for only 28 days, making this note a rare and limited edition.
Identifying Features of a Barr Note
Identifying a Barr note is relatively simple. The most obvious feature is Joseph Barr’s signature printed on the note. The name is prominently displayed in the bottom right hand side of the bill, making it easy to spot.
However, for those who have difficulty reading cursive or are unfamiliar with U.S. banknotes, there is another identifying feature: the series date. Barr notes were only issued in the $1 denomination with the 1963 B series date. This combination is a clear indication that you have a Barr note in your possession.
Different Versions of Barr Notes
Although Barr notes were only issued in the $1 denomination with the 1963 B series date, there are five different versions based on the Federal Reserve cities where they were printed. These cities are New York, Richmond, Chicago, Kansas City, and San Francisco. Each version has its own unique print run number, with the Kansas City version having the lowest print run. Collecting a set of all five versions can be a fascinating endeavor for enthusiasts.
How Much are Barr Notes Worth?
While Barr notes are rare to find in circulation and are worth more than their face value, they are not considered highly valuable compared to other rare banknotes. The sheer number of Barr notes printed—458,880,000—contributes to their relatively lower value. However, circulated Barr notes regularly sell for around $5 to $10, with the Star Note versions selling closer to $20 each. The highest recorded sale on eBay for a Gem mint condition Barr note was $125. It’s worth noting that only 12.3 million Barr notes were issued as Star Notes, which adds to their desirability among collectors.
The Importance of Barr Notes
While Barr notes may not fetch a fortune, they are still worth more than their face value and make for exciting finds. Finding one in circulation or stumbling upon it in your own collection is still pretty cool. Additionally, there is the potential for Barr notes to appreciate in value over time. As with any collectible, their worth may increase as scarcity grows. So, even if Barr notes are not currently considered highly valuable, they hold historical significance and can be a worthwhile addition to a banknote collection.
Where to Buy Barr Notes
The Silverpicker promise is that I always share exactly what I do myself to build my collection. That’s how I know that Apmex is one of the best places to buy Barr notes – and any other currency or coin. Their catalog is exhaustive, and I’m a proud repeat customer.
If you have an appetite for seeking out the best deals, then Whatnot is your best friend. Whatnot lets you hold and participate in live auctions for any kind of collectible – including Barr notes. Unlike other auction sites, Whatnot auctioneers (like me, sometimes) can present the collectible on video and show every angle – so you know exactly what you’re getting into. You can get $15 of Whatnot credit with my link.
For more about buying Barr Notes, as well as other coins and currency, check out my buying guide.
Raising the Barr
As is the case with the best collectibles, Barr notes are a window into history. They may not be worth a ton of money, but they’re still a worthy addition to any collection.