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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$1 1985 Federal Reserve Note. Missing 3rd Printing. Almost Uncirculated To Unc. *error* 1981 Five Dollar $5 Frn-f Atlanta- Reverse Overprint Error- Gem BuUnited States 1989 Five Dollar Note With Misaligned Overprint On Obverse1974 10.00 Federal Reserve Note Printing Shifted To The Right Gem Cu NoteDramatic Miscut Butterfly Foldover Tab Error 1995 Dollar Bill Crisp! See Video!1963 A $5 Federal Reserve San Francisco Third Print Shift Error Note1881 $1 Federal Reserve Bank Of Atlanta George Major Gutter Fold Error Purple Disney Envelope Rare From The 1980's Disney Dollar Map Ticket Envelope 1977-a $1 Federal Reserve Bank Of Kansas City Missing Back 1st Printing Blank 1929 $10 New York ☆☆star☆☆ Frbn National Currency Very Fine+ Rare Fr.1860-b☆1981 $20 Federal Reserve Bank Richmond Virginia Nice Gutter Fold Error1969-c $1 One Dollar Misalignment Error Overprint Serial #s Pcgs 25 Vg Rare1935d $1 Silver Certificate Fold Over Error Pmg 63$1 1935 E ,silver Certificate (misaligment Error)5 Dollar Bill With Gutter Fail $251985 $1 Reverse Printing Misaligned Error Federal Reserve Note1957 $1 Silver Certificate Mismatch Serial Number Gem Uncirculated2003 $1 Federal Reserve Bank Of New York Major Back Alignment Error $10 1969 Chicago Star - Error Overprint (vl1280)$1.00 1969d "mis-alignment Of Both 1st. & 2nd.printing"choice(au)withepq1974 $1 Federal Reserve Note Giant Ink Smear / Stain Error (es*unique* 1999 $1.00 Star Test Note - The Blackout Note Pcgs Au 50 PpqUs $2 Error Yellow Seal 1963 Rare Mismatched Serial Number 20lb 1991 Bank Of England Mid/grade 1935-d $1 Silver Certificate Nice Example Of A Gutter Fold ErrorError Note $10 1990 Vf With Tape And HoleRare 2009 Circulated One Dollar Bill Error Void In George Washington L@@k1981 U.s. F.r.n. Error Note Miscut Note Boston District Mis Cut Error Unc. 2009a $100 *star Note* With Overlooked Errors Ll10000009*1977-a $1 Chicago Federal Reserve ** Error Note ** Full Offset Face On Back !Error 1934 $10 Dollar Bill Silver Certificate. Fr.1704 Blue Seal United States 1977 $50.00 Cleveland Frn 100% Complete Back To Front Offset - Gem Cu1999 Frn Atlanta Notes 2 With The Same Matching Very Low Serial Number - Rare 2 Dollar Federal Reserve Note,1995,off Center Error,uncirculated,paper Money$1 Frn 1988 Multiple Error - Inverted Serial Number, Seal, Misaligned Cut. Au1935c $1 Error Dual Gutter Folds On Face And Back Pcgs 35 Very Fine! Very Nice False (miscut) 2009 $2 (boston) Note "gem Unc"1976 $2 Two Dollar Error Misaligned D20796857a Light Circulation Reserve NoteError Note Ink Smear $1 1985 Series Circulated Dollar Bill2003-a Richmond Xf++ $1 Fold Over Error ** No Reserve **1974 $1 Federal Reserve Note 3rd Printing On Back Error Choice Cu1950 Twenty Dollar Note Error MiscutM1) 2013 Three Consecutive Error $1 Star Notes "dallas,tx" W/stuck Digit / Unc.Uncirculated 1969 Dollar Bill With Ink Stain From Mint*****series 1935 $1.00 Silver Certificate*****minor Faulty Alignment Error!!!!!!1977 $20 Frn Chicago Xf Alignment Error Both Sides Jpcoins P40Very Nice Miscut 2009 $1 Dollar (((boston))) False Cutting Note ErrorSet Of Two Misaligned 1995 $1 Bill Note, One Very Misaligned, Sequential Numbers$1.00 2013 Frn Ink Smear Error - UncirculatedVintage Rare Uncirculated $2 First 1st Day Issue 1976 Two Dollar Lake Forest Il1981 $1.00 Federal Reserve Note - Error Note - #7750