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 $1 Frn Fr# 1909-j Pmg Unc 65 Epq- Paper Jam Error- 4 Of 4 Consecutive Rare!Error 1928 $5 Note, Five Dollar Bill W Partial Sheet Number On Back, Pmg 62 Epq Hgr ((error)) 1988 $1 Missing Seals/serial#'s ((rare Grade)) Pmg Gem 65epqRare Mismatched Prefix $2 1976 Frn Pmg 64 Epq Error 1 Of 2 Consecutive OfferedError 1969 A $5 Note, Five Dollar Bill W Misaligned Third Printing Error 1974 $10 Note, Ten Dollar Bill W Misaligned Digit, Pmg 66 Gem UncError 2009 $1 Note, One Dollar Bill With Full & Complete Offset PrintingRare Mismatched Prefix $2 1976 Frn Pmg 64 Epq Error 1 Of 2 Consecutive Offered$10 Error Federal Reserve Note Missing Blank Back Pmg Gem 66 Epq 1988 A BsotonError 2004 $20 Note, Twenty Dollar Bill W Misaligned Third Printing 1950 $5 Dollar Bill Fold Over Butterfly Error Fed Res Note Currency Paper MoneyError 1963 A $10 Note, Ten Dollar Bill With Big Gutter Fold Error 1969 A $20 Note, Twenty Dollar Bill W Gutter Fold Error 1993 $1 Note, One Dollar Bill With Full & Complete Offset Printing 2004 A $10, 19 Consecutive Unc Ink Smear Error Notes Gf 45260501 A - 519 A1977 $1 Frn Fr#1909-j Pmg Unc 65 Epq- Offset Printing Error- 3 Of 4 Consecutive1977 $1 Frn Fr# 1909-j Pmg Unc 65 Epq- Offset Printing Error- 2 Of 4 ConsecutiveError 1985 $20 Note, Twenty Dollar Bill W Ink Smear On The Back1963 B $1 Federal Reserve Note Dollar Bill - Error Offset Printing1993 $10 Frn Misaligned Black Overprint Error Pcgs Extremely Fine 45ppqError 1977 $10 Note, Ten Dollar Bill W Ink Smear, Pmg 55 Epq About Uncirculated 2009 $1 Overinking On Serial # Error Pcgs Gem/new 66 Ppq #e080299947g Twenty Dollar Note Double Error Seal And Serial Number Series 1999Error 1981 $20 Note, Twenty Dollar Bill With Large Ink Smear, Frb Of New York Error 1988 A $20 Note, Twenty Dollar Bill W Misaligned Third Printing Error 1985 $10 Note, Ten Dollar Bill W Misaligned Overprint Error 1977 $10 Note, Ten Dollar Bill With Offset Serial Number Printing Error Rare $10 With Third Print On Back - Pmg 30 Epq, Plus Error Not Listed On HolderExtremely Rare 1928e $5 Mule Legal Tender Gem Almost Uncirculated2013 $1 Frn Insufficient Inking ,rare Error Note Error 1996 $20 Note, Twenty Dollar Bill W Partial Offset Printing Error 1977 $1 Frn Fr#1909-j Pmg Unc 65 Epq- Offset Printing Error- 1 Of 4 Consecutive Error 2001 $20 Note, Twenty Dollar Bill W Faulty Alignment / Misaligned Cutting 1969 D $1 Dollar Bill Misaligned Back Print Frn Error Note Paper Money CurrencyError 1969 D $1 Note, One Dollar Bill With Gutter Fold Error & Misaligned PrintLot Of Two Error $1 Frns - Ink Smear & Major Overprint Shift! Super!Lot Of 3 $5 Error Frns - Solvent Smear, Ink Smear, Gutter Fold -nice Raw Variety1974 $1 Frn Double Errors Ink Smear & Misaligned Black Overprint Pcgs 64ppqError 2003 A $1 Note, One Dollar Bill With Butterfly Cutting Error?$100 Dollar Bill 1969 Error Note New York Federal Reserve 1988a $1 Frn Ink Smear On Back Error Pcgs Gem New 65ppq2013 $1 Frn Insufficient Inking ,rare Error Note 1977 $1 Frn Foldover Misprint Error Note Au-unc2003 $2 Frn Minor Misalignment Of Digit In Ur Serial Number Error Pcgs Gem 65ppqUs Currency Error- $102003a $1 Frn Misalignment Error Pmg Gem Uncirculated 66 Epq(10) 1935 & 1957 Series Nice Us Silver Certificates--no Reserve!!!! #141950 $20 Dollar Bill Misaligned Overprint Error Note Currency Paper Money 2059-b1974 $20 Offset Transfer Obverse Error Federal Reserve Note! No Reserve!1990 $20 Dollar Bill Print Error Federal Reserve Note Currency Paper Money1976 $2 Frn Misaligned Face Printing Error Pcgs New 62ppq1977 $1 Frn Cutting Error Pcgs Very Choice New 64ppqError Note: Separated Paper 1935 E $1 One Dollar Silver Cert. Blue Seal - #c641981 Wooden Federal Reserve Note Board$1 "super Ghosting Error" 2003-a "super Ghosting Error"!!super Rare!! GhostingError 1999 $20 Note, Twenty Dollar Bill W Faulty Alignment / Misaligned Cutting Rare Genuine Error $5 Major Insufficient Inking Face Pcgs 58ppq Choice About NewError Set (4) Consecutive 1977 $1 Note, One Dollar Bills Ink Smears/offset Print2006 $1 Frn Stuck Digit In Ur Serial Numbers Error Pcgs Gem New 65ppq$1.00 1995 Bh-block"experimental Web Note"with Overink Of Face Print~(vf)