Q:

What are Barr dollars?

A:

A Barr dollar is a 1963B $1 Federal Reserve note signed by former Secretary of the Treasury Joseph W. Barr. Barr served as treasury secretary for only 28 days, the shortest term on record. He served from Dec. 21, 1968, to Jan. 20, 1969, and signed only the $1 bill.

Barr was the undersecretary of the treasury during the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson from 1965 to 1968. He became U.S. secretary of the treasury after the resignation of Henry H. Fowler. Because of the brevity of Barr's tenure, many people assumed that the Barr bills would appreciate significantly in value. A frenzy arose over collecting these notes when they were first issued, among the public and collectors alike. The Barr dollar notes were not as rare as people assumed they would be because 458,880,000 were printed. Though a dollar bill typically has a life of about 6 years in circulation, so many Barr dollars were hoarded that many circulated bills still exist. A circulated note is worth only face value. According to Old Currency Buyers, as of 2014, one hundred uncirculated notes are available in the original pack for about $250. In general, currency collectors determine value based on condition, rarity and demand. After his tenure as treasury secretary, Barr went on to work in private sector banking.

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