Video

Federal Reserve Note Identifiers

Each Federal Reserve note includes identifiers that provide information about the note, such as designating the year in which the note’s design was approved. Learn about these note identifiers by clicking on the image below.

Front of the $100 bill

Serial Number

A unique combination of eleven numbers and letters appears twice on the front of the note. Each note has a unique serial number. The first letter of the serial number corresponds to the series year.

Enlarged excerpt of a $5 note showing the serial number
Year Series Letter Year Series Letter Year Series Letter
1996A 2003D 2004AG
1999B 2003AF 2006I
2001C 2004E 2006AK
2009J 2013M
2009AL 2017N
Front of the $5 note

A “star” suffix is used to identify notes that serve as replacements during the production process. If you'd like to learn more about the U.S. currency production process, please visit https://www.moneyfactory.gov/uscurrency/howmoneyismade.html.

Excerpt of a note showing the -star- at the end of the serial number

Series Year

The series year indicates the year in which a new design was approved by the Secretary of the Treasury, or the year in which the signature of a new secretary or treasurer was incorporated into the design. Capital letters following the series year appear when there is a significant change in the note's appearance.

Excerpt of a note showing the series year.

Federal Reserve Indicators

For denominations $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100, the note has a letter and number designation that corresponds to one of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks. The letter of each indicator matches the second letter of the serial number on the note.

Excerpt of a note showing the letter and number indicators
Front of a $5 note.
Indicator Bank Indicator Bank Indicator Bank
A1Boston E5Richmond I9Minneapolis
B2New York City F6Atlanta J10Kansas City, MO
C3Philadelphia G7Chicago K11Dallas
D4Cleveland H8St. Louis L12San Francisco

For denominations $1 and $2, the note includes a seal that identifies one of the 12 Federal Reserve banks.

Excerpt of a note, showing the seal.

Note Position Letter and Number

For denominations $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100, the note position letter and number indicates in which position on a plate a note was printed. It is a combination of one letter and one number and can be found on the front of the note.

Illustration showing the arrangement of 36 notes on a printing plate.

In 2014, the BEP began printing $1 notes on 50-subject sheets. For these larger sheets, the note position is identified by columns and rows rather than by quadrants. Note position identifiers on the 50-subject sheet ranges from A1 – J5.

Illustration showing the arrangement of 50 notes on a printing plate.

Please view this video to learn more about the 50-subject production change.

Face and Back Plate Numbers

The face plate and back plate numbers identify the printing plates used to print each side of the note. The face plate number is found on the face of the note and the back plate number is found on the back.

Face plate and back plate numbers of different notes.

Federal Reserve notes printed at the Fort Worth, Texas, facility of the Bureau of Engraving & Printing include a small “FW” in front of the face-plate number.

Example of the FW marker

Treasury Seal

A green seal to the right of the portrait represents the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The design of the seal was changed to incorporate an English inscription and appears on all Federal Reserve notes of the 1969 series year or later.

Excerpt of a note showing the Treasury seal.


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