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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Hgr ((error)) 1935d S.c. $1 ((upside Down Seal + Serial#'s)) Major Error!!Pmg 50epq 1969c Misalignment Shift Error Federal Reserve Note 1969c $20 Frn - Third Print Shift ErrorOhio, Sandusky, Bank Of Sandusky, $5, October 4, 1848Series 1993 $1 Mismatched Serial Number Error Frn Atlanta District 2235 &12352009 $100 Bill Error Security Strip With Corner Of Another $100 EmbeddedTcs 1928 "a" $1 ***funnyback*** ***gem Uncirculated*** Exceptional QualityGiori Press Test Note Single - Back/reverse Design - Starting At A Penny!Error Note 1957-b Nice Error With Large Ink Spot On Reverse Fine2009-a $100 Star Note Great Serial Number With Misaligned/partially Stuck DigitsOhio, Wilmington, Goshen, Wilmington & Columbus Turnpike Co., $5, June 5, 1840 1977 Washington Quarter Struck 90% Off Center Error 1963a $1 Frn Graded Pmg 25 Very Fine - Ink Smear Error1995 $1.00 Error Note Front (3rd) Overprint Printed On Back Extemly Fine Pmg ItError 1928 $20 Gold Certificate United States Currency Paper Money Off CenteredOhio, Sandusky, Bank Of Sandusky, $10, October 2, 1848$1 1981 False Cutting Error Richmond District Gem Cu$5 1950e San Francisco Foldover Error Pcgs 30ppq Z089 (miscut) 1976 $2 (atlanta) F **star** Note "gem Unc" Numbers F01216520*Fr.# 237 1923 $1.00 Large Size Silver Certificate Error Note Pcgs Vf-25 ApparentError!! Type 60 1863 $5 Csa Pf-4 Cr-450-1st Series Mostly Gone Rarity15 Awesome!Ohio, Worthington, No Issuer, 50 Cents, 18-- (1800's), Unissued$1 1981 False Cutting Error Richmond District Gem CuRare $5 Rhode Island Obsolete 1800 Farmers Gutter Fold Error$5 "super Shift Error" 1969-c "super Shift Error" (kansas)"shift Error" Crispy!!((miscut)) 1976 $2 "dallas Texas" *star* Note "gem Unc" Numbers K01174712*$1 1981 False Cutting Error Richmond District Gem CuNew York, The Troy & Albany Stage Company, 5 Cents, October 18, 1862New Jersey, Key Port & Middletown Steamboat Co, 10 Cents, Nov 20, 1862, UnissuedNew Jersey, Key Port & Middletown Steamboat Co, 25 Cents, Nov 20, 1862, UnissuedNew Jersey, Key Port & Middletown Steamboat Co., 5 Cents, Nov 20, 1862, UnissuedNew Jersey, Key Port & Middletown Steamboat Co, 50 Cents, Nov 20, 1862, UnissuedOhio, Worthington, No Issuer, $1, 18-- (1800's), Unissued Us $10 Dollar Error Note Crisp Gem Un Circulated Ink Transfer Over 100% Front1990 $20 Dollars Star Federal Reserve Note Bill Error Light PrintSeries 1995 $1 Partial Offset Transfer Reverse$20 "double Error Note" (2nd Note Shows Left & Back Normal) 1985 New Yorker!!U.s. $1 Error Note With Slanted 1/2 Of Obverse Printing On The Reverse-vg+ CrispVery Nice Miscut $2 Dollar BillMiscut Very Nice 1988 $1 Dollar (boston) "a" Note Gem Unc.$1 1981 False Cutting Error Richmond District Gem Cu$1 1981 False Cutting Error Richmond District Gem Cu$1 1981 False Cutting Error Richmond District Gem Cu$1 1981 False Cutting Error Richmond District Gem CuUncirculated Us $20 Bank Note With Gutter FoldMaryland, Baltimore, Baltimore Savings Institution, $1, August 4, 1840?Miscut Very Nice 1988 $1 Dollar (boston) "a" Note Gem Unc.$1 1981 False Cutting Error Richmond District Gem CuMassachusetts, Ashburnham, Barrett's Facilities, -- Cents, 182-, Unissued$1 "error Note" (upshift & Miscut)"front & Reverse" San Francisco Nice Note!!$1 1981 False Cutting Error Richmond District Gem CuUs Paper Currency Error1988 A $1 Dollar Bill MisprintVery Nice Miscut 1999 $1 Dollar (((dallas))) "k" Note Error Gem Unc.1995 $1.00 Error Note Front (3rd) Overprint Printed On Back Extemly Fine Pmg It2009 $1 Error Margin Shift Serial Circulated One Dollar St. Louis 8 Ha Frn RareSet Of Three $1 2013 Frn Error Raised Serial #