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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Usa $2 1976. Major Fold Over Error, Unc!1969-c Error $20 Federal Reserve Note Huge Shift Misaligned Overprint Fr. 2070-cMultiple Errors - $1 Frbn Mule - Pmg 35 Epq - Fr. 1918-gm$20 1974 Federal Reserve Note, (offset Printing Error)Hgr ((error)) 1981 $1 ((complete Offset)) Pmg Gem Unc 66epq1957-b $1.00 Silver Certificate- Mismatched Serial Number Error- Pmg66epq$5.00 3rd Printing Error No Serial Number Seal Neat Mint1928 $1.00 Silver Certificate- Inverted Back Error- Pcgs Fine 12- No Reserve1977-a $5 Vf Very Fine San Francisco Mismatched Serial # L44/l45 Rare1977 $1 Gutter Fold Federal Reserve Note Error, 1963a $1 Star Note5$ 1985 Misalignment Error Pmg64 EpqGiori Press Test Note Single - Front/obverse Design Starting At A Penny!1981 A U.s. $10 Federal Reserve Note W/ Full Offset Transfer Error1935-a $1 Dollar Star Note Silver Certificate Rare Multi Error Bill U.s.currency$10 2001 Frn Misaligned Overprint Error. Cb56011275a.1928g $2 Dollar Bill Old Us Note Legal Tender Paper Money Currency Red Seal P78*uc* 1985 $1 Insufficient Inking Of Back Printing Error Note! Pcgs Ch Ab New 58One Dollar Frn Error Note Nice Overprint Shift UncirculatedOne Dollar Federal Reserve Note Ink Smear Series 1995 1$1990 New York $50 Fifty Dollar Bill Vf "lucky Four 4's" Serial, Error, & Star1976 Uncut Two Dollar Sheet Of Star NotesUsa $2 1995. Frn Star Note, Insufficient Inking Error, Pmg 62!1963-a $1 With Gutter FoldNice Dark One Dollar Frn Error Note Nice Offset Printing Uncirculated2003-a $1 Error Federal Reserve Note, Offset Print, Washington Dollar Bill (282mUncirculated $1 Dollar Bill Printing Error And Cut2004 A - Circulated $20 Twenty Dollar Bill Missing Treasury Seal Error Note1988 One Dollar Error Note Circulated Condition Major Print Shift On Reverse*error* 2001 $1 Boston (partial Front To Back Offset) Error! Gem Uncirculated!1988 A $5 Federal Reserve Note(misaligned Back Printing)1976 Frn $2 Minor Misalignment Of Face Printing Error Pcgs 63 Choice New1999 Frn Atlanta Notes 2 With The Same Matching Very Low Serial Number - RareVintage Original Series 1935e Us $1 Dollar Silver Certificate Mis Cut Error NoteOne Of A Kind Limited Dollar Bill Art3-1969-b $1 Frn Insufficient Inking Of L.l. Serial # Pcgs 64/63 Very Choice New!$2 1976 C Philadelphia Misaligned Face Printing Error Pcgs 53 App1976 B New York - $2 Unc * Miscut * Stamp Note2009 $100 Error Note. President Security Water Mark Error, Inked In Margins TooNicer Series 1969d Gutter Fold Error Note $1 One Dollar Small Federal Res. NoteVintage Rare $2 First 1st Day Issue 1976 Two Dollar Bill Money Stoughton Wi Vnc1956 Dime Curved Clip Error With Blakesley Effect1981 U.s. F.r.n. Error Note Miscut Note New York District Mis Cut Error Unc.