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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Hgr ((error)) 1990 $20 X-rare ((seals + Serial#'s Missing)) High GradeHgr 1995 $5 Missing Seals/serial#'s ((rare Grade)) Pmg Gem Unc 65epq1988 A $1 - Missing 3rd Print On Front Note Is Printed On Back *1935 E $1 Silver Certificate Fr.#1614 Rare Misalignment Error ""very Fine +1985 $1 Dollar Bill Printed Foldover Error Note Currency Paper MoneyAu + 2001 $1 Dollar Bill Missing Print Insufficient Ink Error Note Paper Money$20 - Federal Reserve Note - Butterfly Fold ErrorMisprint Error On 1974 Us One Dollar Bill1 Dollar Error Note Misplaced SealUnc 2013 $1 Dollar Bill Missing Print Insufficient Ink Error Note Paper Money 1963 $1 Frn Fr.#1900 C Stuck Digit With Apparent Mismatch Serial Numbers1981a $20 Frn Insufficient Inking Error Choice Crisp UncirculatedDollar Bill Miss Print Mis-print Rare Paper MoneyError Dollar Bill - Dropped Print ErrorJackson Imprinted Over White House $20 Error1950 C $5 Frn St. Louis Fr.#1964-h ''third Printing + Cutting Error"" Very Rare1974 $10 Federal Reserve Note Offset Error Front To Back--wet Transfer Au+! #1001963 Dollarsaint Louismulti-errorscrisp(vf+-f)/1974 Ten New York Multi-errors Lot Of 25 Us $2 United States Notes$5.00 1981 Ja-block With "nice 2nd.printing Misalignment Error"~pmg-58..1935 A $1 Dollar Overprint On Back Error Note Silver Certificate Pcgs Graded 251974 $10 Federal Reserve Note ErrorMisprinted $1 Bill1934 A Five Dollar * Plate & Cut Error * Blue Seal Silver Certificate * Circ *1985 A ~ $5.00 Federal Reserve Note With Wet Ink Transfer Error ~ Free Shipping Fr.1654 1934d $5 Silver Certificate (set 2 Of2) - Gem New 65ppq By Pcgs Currency$10 1934 A North Africa Emergency Issue Pmg63 Epq Fr.2309 Error Seal Shift? LookReal $2 Bill - 2003-a Crisp Unc - Cut Way Off Center - False Cutting Error$1.00 1977 Chicago Type With"multi-errors & Fancy Repeater Too"~choice(au+)epq1981 $5 Dollar Bill Offset Error Federal Reserve Note U.s. Currency Paper Money 2013 $1 Dollar Dallas "k" Error Star Note Only ((500,000)) PrintedFr.1654 1934d $5 Silver Certificate (set 1 Of2) - Gem New 65ppq By Pcgs Currency$1 1963b Joseph W. Barr [[ Barr Note ]]1928 Uncirculated $1 Silver Certificate With "funny-back" - Fr. 1600 - #54( 2 ) $1 1928a Funny Back + $2 1928f Red Seal* Over Black Line Cutting * NotesReal 2006 Crisp Uncirculated $5 Bill - Cut Way Off Center - False Cutting Error$2 1976 H31285890a Uncirculated