Error notes are examples of paper money that somehow managed to make it into circulation, despite the obvious printing mistakes displayed on their faces (fronts) and backs. It shouldn’t be too surprising that a certain number of error notes exist. After all, the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing produces more than 10 billion notes a year, so a statistically tiny number of errors is hardly an indication of lax quality standards. But that very scarcity is precisely what makes error notes so interesting to collectors.

Errors are often organized by when the error occurred during its printing and handling. U.S. paper money produced during the 20th century is printed in three waves. The first printing creates the image on the back of the note, the second printing is for the face, and the third printing adds serial numbers and seals to the face. Other errors are due to the way the paper is handled (folding and cutting errors) during any of these printings. In all cases, the more dramatic and glaring the error, the more valuable it is to collectors.

The so-called “king” of paper-money errors is a note with mismatched denominations on its face and back, which means the mistake occurred during the second printing (sometimes a mismatch error is perpetuated through the third printing, too). A less-valuable but related error is a note whose face is inverted. Double printings at any stage are also sought, evidence that a sheet has gone through the press more than once. The result is usually a note whose face, back, or overprints appear blurry, since the images are not perfectly aligned.

Lack of ink, or too much, is a relatively common error. In general, the bigger the blank spot or smear, the more valuable the error. Offset printing errors refer to those goofs that result in some of the face appearing on the back of a note, or vice versa. Notes printed out of register are also fairly common. In these situations, the image intended for the back or face of a note might appear to be cut off at the top or bottom. In fact, the error is due to the printing of the note, not its cutting.

That said, sometimes an error in cutting is exactly the problem, although such notes are only considered valuable if you can see approximately 50 percent of bottom and top halves of the face or back, stacked on top of each other like a movie projector that’s gone haywire.

Finally, errors committed on the various types of large-size notes issued from 1861 to 1928 are even more rare than the ones that have been produced since. In general, that means that an error on a large note such as a Silver Certificate will be worth more than the same error on a modern Federal Reserve Note. Still, as always, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, the value of an error found on most National Bank Notes, which were issued from 1863 to 1935, generally has more to do with the inherent rarity of that particular National note rather than the type of error on it.


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1977 $5 Dollar Error Overprint On Back Old Rare Antique Currency Paper Money NrTop Pop Rare$1 Dollar Missing Face Printing Error Pcgs 67ppq Superb Gem New WowGiori Test Note Pcgs 63 Choice New! Error Full Offset On Back! Uncut Pair PigmanDramatic $10 Frn Error Multiple Cutting Foldover 1985 With Sheet Check LetterStar Radar Note $1 Dollar Bill Fancy Serial Number + Stuck/rolled Digit Error Cu1999 $1 Error Note Oops LookStunning $1 Error Third Printing On Reverse 1988 Frn Almost UncirculatedFr. 2085-e $20 1999 ** Fold Over ** Federal Reserve Note.1935e $1.00 Silver Cert, Foldover ErrorHgr ((error)) 1977 $5 ((offset-back Print On Front)) Appears Gem UncirculatedUnc 1995 $1 Bill Misaligned Misalignment Miscut Error Note Currency Paper MoneyHgr ((error)) 1969 $1 ((mismatched Serial#'s)) X-rare On This Series!!!!Where's Blue Seal? $1 1935c Silver Cert. Fr1612 $1 Pmg 58 Ink ErrorHgr ((error)) 1985 $10 ((major Shifted Print)) Drastic Error!!!Rare 1988 A $1 Dollar Bill Misaligned Overprint Shift Error Note Hgr ((error)) 2003a $1 ((offset-back Print On Front)) Near Uncirculated1969d Gutter Fold $1 District 5Fr.2307m* 1934a $5 "mule" ***star*** Bp# 927 Silver Certificate Vf Very Rare1990 $100 Richmond Virginia Federal Reserve Note Alignment ErrorBinary Radar & Bookend Repeater $1 Dollar Bill Serial # + Cut / Print Error NoteHgr ((error)) 1977 $1 X-rare ((fold Over Print)) Appears Superb Gem UncirculatedPrinting Error T-67 1864 $20 Confederate Currency Pmg 53 EpqSeries 1917 Us $1 United States Large Size NoteFr.1621* 1957b $1 Silver Certificate Rarest "star A Block" Gem New Uncirculated1935 E Silver Certificate Error Note Misaligned Consecutive Lot Of 4Stunning 54 Years Old $10 Reverse Ink Smear Must See Error ! Free Ship! $1 Series 1935d S.c. Inverted Overprint Major Error - Rare!Fr. 2032-f* 1995 $10 Atlanta **star** Gem New Uncirculated Very Rare Collectible1988a $1 Frn Insufficient Inking Of Back Printing Error Pcgs Choice New 64ppq1935 E $1 One Dollar Silver Certificate Error Back To Face Offset$1.00 1981 3rd Printing Misaligned Dallas Federal Reserve Note ErrorFr.1962-b* 1950a $5 New York **star** Choice New Uncirculated Rare Collectible1928d Pmg Certified F15 Two Dollar Small **star Note** Error Replacement Note 1862 2c Verandah, Troy, New York Series 1995 Us $10 Federal Reserve Note- ErrorInk Smeared Five Dollor Bill Series 19811935 E Silver Certificate Error Note Misaligned Consecutive Lot Of 2Yellowstone National Park $2 Colored Note Uncirculated In CaseStunning 24 Years Old $20 Reverse Ink Smear Must See Error ! Free Ship! 2013 $1 Bill - Cut Way Off Center - 2 Different Serial #'s -false Cutting ErrorSeries 1923 Us $1 Silver Certificate Large Size NoteSeries 2009 Us $2 Federal Reserve Note- Gold ToneSerial Number Inking Error Note Smeared Numbers 2009 Dallas, Texas Very Fine CirUnique Series 1985 Misprinted, Miscut, Misalighned $20 Bill1995 $5 Federal Reserve Note Gutter Fold Chicago Frb Error1934 $10 Silver Certificate Mule - A65154850a3-1976 $2 Dallas "3 Consecutive *star* Serials" Bi-centenial + Gem Uncirculated$1 And $5 Dollar Bill Off CenterError Cut 2$ Unc Gem Excess BorderError 1977 $1 Federal Reserve Note Take A Look ErrorPmg 53 Au $500 Error Note Super Desired Denomination Wet Ink Transfer 1934a Wow!3-1976 $2 Atlanta "3 Consecutive *star* Serials" Bi-centenial + Gem Uncirculated2009 Fancy Star Five Dollar Us Federal Reserve Note Ser# Ja06077173*The Rochester Clearing House Association One Dollar NoteError 1977 $10 Federal Reserve Note Take A Look ErrorVintage 1981 Printing Error $20 Federal Reserve Note Green Seal Washington FrnError 1977a $1 Federal Reserve Note Take A Look Error$20.00 2006 Major "sheet Fold-under On 3rd.print & Mis-cut"choice(au)-wow!!