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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Twenty Dollar Fold Over Note Printer Error 1990 B55222149m Non CirculatedUs Currency Paper Money Error $5 Dollar Bill / NotePmg Certified Mismatched Serial Number Error On One Dollar Federal Reserve Note1977-a $1.00 Frn- Front On Back Error- Higher Grade- No Reserve$1 1985 Frn Kansas City Insufficient Inking Error Pmg Can 58 Epq *no Reserve!$1 1985 San Francisco Overprint On Back Error Pcgs Xf451000 Yuan 1944 Central Reserve Puppet Bank Pick J31a Mismatch Serial Pmg 64 EpqUncut Quad Of Giori Test Notes, Both 2 Front & Reverse Pcgs 63 Error Full Offset$1 1985 Frn San Francisco Gutter Fold Error - Pmg Vf 25 Epq *no Reserve!Error 1981 $1 Federal Reserve Note Overprint On Back Fr. 1911-l Pcgs Gem 65$20 1985 Error Insufficient Ink Of Second Printing Pmg 64 Fr-2075e$ One Dollar Bill Error Missing Third Printing No Serial Seal 19991977 $1 Frn Pcgs Very Choice New 64 Ppq Full Face To Back Offset Error2009 Error ~ $1 One Dollar U S Federal Reserve Note ~ Ink Transfer On Reverse1935a $1 Brown Seal "hawaii" Emergency Ww2 Silver Certificate! 1981 $1 Federal Reserve Note Frn W/ Ink Smear Error On Reverse - Au/unc1985 $1 Federal Reserve Note Frn - Printing Shift Error / Misalignment Tcs 1957 "b" $1 "silver Cert" ***star*** ((gem Uncirculated)) Star Note**Tcs 1957 "b" $1 "silver Cert" ***star*** ((gem Uncirculated)) Star NoteL) 2009 $1 Note W/ultra Low Serial Number San Fran,ca. Fr.1934-l $1 "triple Stamped Error"(crispy) (1981 Series) "triple Stamped Error" Rare!2001 Millennium Notes 2 With The Same Number Plus Nice Error Error C1953 Two Dollar Bill! Has Yellow Seal And Serial Numbers! Never Saw One?!**error**ink Smear**1981 $1 Frn**more Currecy 4 Sale**combined Shipping UqLot Of (2) 1$ Dollar Star Notes Series 2006 & 2009**error**ink Smear** $1 1981 Frn***more Currecy 4 Sale - $0 Combined Shipping Wr1988 A $20 Frn~ Inking Error!! No Reserve Auction!!Error Print Serial Number One Dollar Frn 1995 Circulated Vg1999 Frn Atlanta Notes 2 With The Same Very Low Serial Fancy Number - RareUs $1 Error Note With Shadow Obverse On Reverse$2.00 1976 Philadelphia District First Day Issue Wildwood N J Fancy NoUnited States $1.00 Serial Number Is RolledUs Currency & Note 1988a $1 Frn Richmond,va (e) Offset Printing Error On Reverse1953 B - $2.00 Cu Red Seal * Heavy Miscut + Shift Error * NoteUs $10 Error Note With Wet Transfer Along Top Right Of Obverse--1990 SeriesNbc* 1935 B Harder To Find! Vinson Note --- Signed 1 Year! --- Error Note1988 Washington 1 Dollar Note - Mint Fold Error -Uncirculated 1977 $1.00 U.s. Federal Reserve Note$1 2009 Gem Cu Faux Miscut Fake Error, From Uncut Sheet$2 1963 Legal Tender Yellow Seal False Error 2for1 2001 $1slv/egl Wtc Ground Zero Unc &1976"error-n-* $2*"crisp Very Rare$!$ $5 Dollar Error Bill Misprint 19951995 $2.00 Atlanta F/a Block Miscut Note - Cu1995 $1.00 Dallas K/b Block Miscut Note - Cu