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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Mega Error 1963 $2 Legal Tender Huge Reverse Shift Gem Uncirculated***inverted Back Error*** $1 Silver Certificate - Fr1607 Series 1935 Uncirculated 1981 $10 Bill. Misaligned. Faulty Alignment. Misprint Error. 1988 A $5 Error Note Multiple Gutter Folds Vf Condition!Mismatched Serial Number 1$ Bill 1974 $1 Federal Reserve Note - Inverted Overprint Error - Fr.1908-h 1988a $1 Error Note (big Oops Look) Philadelphia District2013 Star $1 Double Error, Missing Serial Number Ink And Miscut1969 $1 Federal Reserve Note One Dollar - Gutter Fold Error Circulated1969 Five Dollar Consecutive Error Note Series. Solvent Smear Ink Transfer /m1011976 $2 Minneapolis **star** Bi-centenial Pmg Gem 65epq Uncirculated Fr.1935-i*Dramatic 1988 $1 Federal Reserve Note Overprint On Back Error Vf1974 $1.00 Frn Atlanta District ***star*** Note With Gutter Fold Error-rare!!1995 $1 Federal Reserve Note "gutter Fold Error" Circulated Pm-91Fr.1963-b* 1950b $5 New York ***star*** Pcgs Gem New Uncirculated 66ppq Rare1990 $20 Federal Reserve Note - Offset Printing Error - Fr.2077-b1969 $1 Federal Reserve Note Mismatched Serial Number Error5 Consecutive 1995 $10 Federal Reserve Notes W/ Ink Smear Error Fr.2031-b Au/unc$20.00 1977 Bf-block With" Full-deep Dark B2f Offset Transfer Error"~crisp(vf)2013 One Dollar Gutter Thru Federal Reserve Stamp Error NoteFr.859b 1914 $5 Cleveland "type B" Cutting Error Frn +choice New Uncirculated+Error U.s. Ten Dollar Bill1988a $1 Ink Smear Error On Back1981 Frn $1 Minor Ink Smear Error On Back.2001 $5 Federal Reserve Note W/ Gutterfold Error - Fr.1988-hError Note ~ One Dollar Bill 1969 D Series ~ Missing Green Ink 1974 $1 Federal Reserve Note - Misaligned Overprint 3rd Printing - Fr.1908-h7 Radar Matching (same Serial #) $1 Dollar Bills Notes Cu + 3 Cut / Print Errors Cu Giori Press Test Note - Lincoln Washington Grant Blank Reverse1977 $20 Federal Reserve Error Note- 2 Gutter FoldsFake Error Dollar Bill Uncirculated Conditioned1935-c $1 Silver Certificate W/ Misalignment Error - Fr.1612(2) Off Center Error Us 2 Dollar Bill First Day Issue Postmark Apr 13 1976 Unc1999 $1 Error, Missing Serial Number InkCu Giori Press Test Note Reverse Designs From Many Denominations Blank Reverse1969 $5 3rd Print Shifting Error2009 Error $10 Bill Missing Green Treasury Seal Note Money Currency Printing 103-1976 $2 Dallas "3 Consecutive *star* Serials" Bi-centenial + Gem Uncirculated1969 D Dollar Fed Note With Rare Sn #1999 $1 Partial Ghost Print Boston District1934 C $20 Fr - ***miscut!!!*** ***crispy Au+++*** See Our Store!1977 A $1 One Dollar Bill Offset Printing Error Note Us Currency 1977 $1 C.u. Major Printing Error From Federal Reserve Bank Of Chicago,illinois1963a $1 Vertical Ink Smear Error On Back1996$100 Frn Missing Magnetic Ink Error.1981 A $5 Ink Smear Error$1 2006 + $2 1976d + $5 1963 - ( 3 ) Green + Red Seal * Star * Notes1969d $1.00 Frn Ink Smear Error - Extra Fine1969a $1.00 Frn Star Note Ink Smear Error - Choice About Uncirculated1993 $1.00 Frn Partial Offset Print Error Cu( 2 ) $1 Unc * Bold Digit + Fancy Poker 4-9's * Consecutive Star NotesRare Old Vintage $10.00 Federal Reserve Note 1977a Miscut Misaligned Seal ErrorOne Dollar Bill Miscut**error** 1935e Blue Seal $1.00 Silver Certificate - Very Rare! See All Pics!!1999 $1 Offset Error1977 A $10 Federal Reserve Offset Ink Transfer Error Note!!!1 Of 3 Scarce 1928 Plain Series Frn, Waved Serial Numbers, See Them, F-vf1950 B $10 Fr - *** Minneapolis! *** Au+!! *** Off Serial! See Our Store!1977 $1.00 Frn Ink Smear Error - Choice Crisp Uncirculated( 3 ) $1 Unc * Bold Digit + Fancy Poker 4-9's * Consecutive Star Notes