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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1988 A $5 Fr#1988i Fed. Res. Note Minn. Insufficient Inking Error Pmg 64, Nr!!1981 $5 Fed. Reserve Note Cleveland Error Pmg Insufficient Inking Fr.1976d Nr!!Fr 1975-l * $5 Error Note 1977 A 1977a Pcgs Very Choice New 64 Ppq Frn Currency1988 A $5 Federal Reserve Note Error Major Printed Exterior Fold Over ErrorSeries 1963a Us $1 Federal Reserve Note- Fold Error1990 $20 Frn 3 Notes Serial Number Link Dramatic Butterfly Fold Over ErrorsUs 1988 A $20 Federal Reserve Error Note Pcgs 64ppq (inverted Overprint Typeii)Giori Press Test Note Uncut Pair Lincoln Washington Grant & Reverse Design1974 $1 Dollar Federal Reserve Note Inverted Upside Down Serial Number Error Vf1977 A $1.00 Error Federal Reserve Note - Gutter Fold Butterfly Note Error Note1976 $2 Fr# 1935b Fed. Reserve Note Ny Mismatched Prefix Error Pmg 64, Nr!!1985 U.s. $10 Federal Reserve Bank Note Huge Gutter Fold Error Unc 1935-e $1.00 Silver Certificate- Pcgs Vf20- Inverted Back- No Reserve1977a Series $1.00 Note Nice Obverse Foldover Printing Error Xf/au Note1995 $1 *star* Federal Reserve Note Insufficient Ink Error *uc* 1981 $20 Misaligned Face Printing Error Note!! Pcgs Very Fine 35Fr.1606 1934 $1 Silver Certificate Funny Back Ink Smear Error About UncirculatedFr.233* 1899 $1 Silver Cert ***star*** Type 1 Faceplate Pmg Very Good 8 Pop.272001 $1 Minor Misalignment Of Overprint Error Frn Pcgs Very Fine 35ppq*uc* 1985 $1 Full Back To Face Offset Error Note!! Pcgs Ch Ab New 55 Ppq!!1985 $5 Fed. Res. Note San Francisco Error Pmg Insufficient Inking Fr.1978l, Nr!$1 Dollar Bill Error Note Major Off Set Ink Transfer 2009 Nice Crisp 24hr No ResGiori Press Test Note Single Reverse DesignHgr ((error)) 1988a $10 ((overprint On Back)) Pmg Choice Unc 63epq1977 U.s. Federal Reserve $20 Twenty Dollar Note Face To Back Offset Error Xf-au$10 Ten U.s Dollar Bill Error Misprint 1988 $20.00 Frn Seal, Emblem,ser. Number And Signatures Off RegisterFr.1508* 1928g $2 Legal Tender Red Seal ***star*** U.s. Note Rare Very Fine+1981 $20 Bill - No Serial NumberRare $20 Usd Error Missing Treasury Seal Mint Bill Currency Nr Usa 2004 A TwentyIndiana License Plate - Backwards Mistake Inverted Backward Rare Error Nos1974 $1 Federal Reserve Note 100 % Error Offset Printing Back To Front Hi Grade 1862 S4 Mpd1950 A $10 Us Federal Reserve Note Major Misprint Error On Reverse1950c $5 - Butterfly Cutting Error - Exf1981 $1 Dollar Bill Stuck Digit Aka Gas Pump Error Federal Reserve Note Currency1988 $20.00 Frn Seal, Emblem,ser. Number, Wet Ink Transfer Error1985 $5 Federal Reserve Note Offset Printing Error Of Back To Front Major XfRare 1963 $1 Star Note Error Repeat Serial Number 6 Lucky 1's L@@k G 11113115 *Star Note Error! Mismatched Serial B06-b26 Rare F/vf Us Paper Money Error1993 $20 Federal Reserve Note Offset Error Gem 651988 $10 Federal Reserve Note 100 % Error Offset Printing Front To Back ErrorScarce 1960 Franklin Half Dollar With A Clip Not A Junk Drawer,unsearched Wheat Penny Roll,error Coins, Error Us Paper,cards$1 2009 Gem Cu Faux Mismatched And Miscut Fake Error, From Uncut Sheet 1996 One Hundred Dollars Federal Reserve Error Note Missing Seal ,circulated1999 $100.frn Rare "missing Green Seal" Error Note High Grade Pmg James Macarthur Error Pmg 1968-79 - Signed Currency Certified By PmgFr 2125-d * $50 Error Note 1993 Pcgs About New 53 Ppq Frn Currency * Mis CuttingMisprint One Dollar Bill Ink Error Off Print Over Print 2009 Rare 1979 Washington Quarter With A Very Interesting Major Clip1952-d Washington Quarter With A Very Nice Clip 1950 A $20 Uncirculated Off-cut Error Note1978 Washington Quarter - Broad Struck 1953 & 1976 G - ( 2 ) $2.00 * Misalignment Shift Error * Star Notes1974 Washington Quarter Missing Clad Layer Us Paper Money Error1978 Washington Quarter That Was Struck Out Of Collar 2 2006 $1 Frn *error* District Seals Missing Letters (gem Uncirculated) 2consec