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 On Back)) Pcgs Au-58ppqHgr ((error)) 1990 $20 X-rare ((seal + Serial#'s Missing)) Pcgs Au-53Hgr ((error)) $1 X-rare ((missing Face Print)) Pcgs Au-55ppqHgr ((error)) 1995 $5 X-rare ((seal + Serial#'s Missing)) Pmg Gem Unc 65epqHgr ((error)) 1981 $1 Rare ((misaligned Black Overprint)) Pcgs Au-50ppqDramatic Major Ink Smear $1 Federal Reserve Note Error 1981Hgr ((error)) 1985 $1 X-rare ((seal + Serial#'s Missing)) Pcgs Choice Unc 64ppq1985 $1 Fr#1913-d Mint Error Pcgs Gem New 65ppq Currency Frn * Overprint On BackHgr ((error)) 1981a $5 X-rare ((seals+serial#'s On Back)) Pcgs Vf-35ppqError 1988 A $5 Note, Five Dollar Bill W Misaligned Digit In Serial Number 1935 E $1 Silver Certificate Fr.#1614 H/h Blk. Rare Error Missing Blue SealHgr ((error)) 1935e $1 Silver Cert ((1st Print Misaligned)) Pmg Au-58Hgr ((error)) 1977a $5 X-rare ((mismatched Serial#)) Pcgs Gem New 65ppqHgr ((error)) 1977a $1 Frn ((x-dark Complete Offset)) Pmg Vf-25Error 1988 A $1 Note, One Us Currency Dollar Bill With Offset Printing Rare Mismatched Serial Number 54/55 $1 Silver Certificate Error 19571969 A $10 Dollar Bill Misaligned Overprint Error Fed Note Currency Paper MoneyCutting Error Or Butterfly Fold? 1950d $20 Note, Us Currency Twenty Dollar BillRare 1974 Error Misprint $20 Twenty Dollar Bill Excellent ConditionError 1974 $10 Note, Ten Dollar Bill With Partial Offset Printing Error 1985 $20 Bill Misaligned Black Overprint Error Note Currency Paper Money Ef-auHgr ((error)) 1995 $10 ((complete Offset Print)) High GradeCutting Error Or Butterfly Fold? 2013 $20 Note, Us Currency Twenty Dollar Bill Scarcer Ac Block Of Hawaii 1935 A $1 Silver Certificate Note, One Dollar Bill 1934c $10 Frn Light Green Seal Fr.#2008-c ""multiple Errors"" {rare}1935 E $1 Silver Certificate. Obstruction Error. Extremely Rare Find.1963 $1 Frn Fr.#1900-g Chicago. ""rare Major Ink Smear"" Gem New1985 $20 Dollar Bill Misaligned Back Print Error Fed Note Paper Money CurrencyError 1977 $1 Note, One Dollar Bill With Two Errors (offset Printing Misaligned 1976 Series $2 Dollar Federal Reserve Note Error Serial # Over Washington Dc1977 $20.00 Offset Wet Ink Transfer Error Dark Reverse Print On Front Crisp Frn!Matching (same Serial Number) $2 & Star $1 Dollar Bills Notes Ink Smear Error Cu1981 $1.00 Offset Wet Ink Transfer Error Dark Reverse Print On Front! Nice Frn!Error 1985 $10 Note, Faulty Alignment Print On The Back Of Ten Dollar BillError 1977 A $10 Note, Ten Dollar Bill With Partial Offset Printing Error 2 Of 2 Consecutive Error Notes, 1974 $1, One Dollar Bill Us Currency Matching (same Serial Number) $2 & Star $1 Dollar Bills Notes Ink Smear Error CuUnc 2009 $1 Dollar Bill Cutting Error Note Paper Money Currency Pcgs Gem 65 PpqError? 1993 $5 Star Note, Five Dollar Bill With Slight Offset Printing Error?Error 2009 $1 Note, One Dollar Bill With Error, Pcgs Gem New 66 Ppq Error 1963 A $1 Note, One Us Currency Dollar Bill With Gutter Fold Error 1985 $10 Note, Faulty Alignment Of The Front Of This Ten Dollar Bill Error Note $10 1974 Part Of The Note Below Showing.fineJoseph Barr 1963 B $1 Note, One Dollar Bill Graded By Pcgs Gem New 66 PpqUs $ 1.00 Silver Certificate With Fold Misstake 3/4 AcrossError 1935 E $1 Silver Certificate Note, One Dollar Bill With Faulty Alignment 1977 $10 Frn New York Ny Completely Missing Back Printing Error Nice ConditionError? Hawaii 1935 A Silver Certificate Note, One Dollar Bill -wet Ink Transfer?1977 Error Gutter Currency Twenty Matching Radar Quad Center $1 Dollar Bills Notes Cut / Print Alignment Error Cu!1934 $1 Silver Certificate - Gutter Fold Error1 Of 2 Consecutive Error Notes, 1974 $1, One Dollar Bil Us Currency Series 1988a $1 Bill With No Ink On The Back2009 $1 Overinking On Serial # Error Pcgs Gem/new 66 Ppq #e08029943g 1963 A $1 Dollar Bill Misalignment Shift Error Note Paper Money Currency Dallas1995 $1 Dollar Bill Experimental Web Fed Press Note Light Ink Error One Currency1933-i 2006 $1 Fw Error Cbn 55 Pcgs Full Face On Back 1928 F $2 United States Note Fr.#1507 Error Note Over Inking On The Red Seal$20..00 1999 New York Federal Reserve Error Note.$20.00 Us Error Bill Double Printed On Back