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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$20 Error Frn Pmg Gem 65 Epq Missing Over Print Insufficient Inking Dramatic$1 1957 Error Silver Certificate Rare Mismatched Serial Number Pmg Gem 66 EpqRare $5 1995 Error Frn Pmg 64 Epq Missing Back Insufficient Inking Spectacular$20 1977 Frn Error Inverted Overprint Pmg 45 Epq Type 1 Usa / Federal Reserve Note Chicago, Gutter Fold Error - $20, 1977. Pmg 63epq. Multi Error Misprint $1 One Dollar Bill Federal Reserve Note Rare 1981front Back$10 Error Pmg 1950 Pmg 64 Epq Major Fold Over Flag$1 1974 Frn Error Pmg 65 Epq Gem Inverted Overprint DramaticFr. 2076-l $20 1988a Federal Reserve Note. Pmg Choice Extremely Fine 45. Error!!1985 $20.00 Note Error Seals And Serial Numbers Missing$20 1977 Missing Printing Back Error Frn Pmg 64 Epq Dramatic Error Note1928 $5 Legal Tender Error Major Insufficient Inking Error Pmg Unc 64epq$1 1985 Overprint On Back Error Frn Pmg Gem 65 Epq Dramatic $1 Error Frn Ink Smear Pmg Gem 65 Epq 1974 $1 Offset Printing Error With Bep Red Rejection Mark Pmg 64 Epq AtlantaRare 1990 Faulty Alignment Error $100 Two Notes Showing And Serial/seal Shift 1976 $2 First Day Issue Stamp - Partial Offset Printing Error - Crisp Unc. Rare$1 1969 B Error Offset Printing Pmg 64 Epq St Louis $5 Error Very Rare Mismatched 76/06 Serial Number Pmg 64 Epq 1985 1995 $1 Federal Reserve Note Third Printing Fold Error See Pics 1232$10. 1988-a Boston Face On Back Dark 100% Offset Ink Transfer Frn Error1974 Federal Reserve Note Rare 3rd Print Shift Left Gem Cu!!!L@@k Us $1 Dollar Bill 1999 No Seal/series Error Federal Reserve Note CurrencyVery Scarce $20 1969 C Double Offset Printing Error Pmg 64 Epq Kansas City2004 Series A Twenty Dollar Error Note Missing SealHgr ((error)) 1974 $1 ((offset Print)) Pmg Choice Unc 64epq(star)1990 $10.00 Error Note Gutter Fold1993 $10 Double The Error - Misaligned And Offset Print Error - Crisp Xf+ - RareMultiple Error Cu $2 Federal Reserve Note Series 1976$5 1950 A Gutter Fold Error Pmg 63 Epq Frn$20 Super Rare Major Misalignment Error Old School 1969c Series Huge Shift Nice!2004a $20 Bill - Missing District Seal1928 $1 Silver C. Cutting Error - Pcgs 53 - About New - Rare2003 A $1.00 Frn Error Note Extra Seal$10 1969 Gutter Fold Error Pmg 64 Epq Frn Cleveland2009 $1 Overinking On Serial # Error Pcgs Gem/new 66 Ppq #e08029966g - Odd ErrorUnc 1935 E $1 Dollar Bill Misalignment Error Silver Certificate Currency Note1976 Star Error $2 Federal Reserve Us Two Dollar Note 3rd Print Shift &miscut NrDollar Error Wet Green Ink Transfer Treasure Seal On Reverse 2009 CirculatedUs Currency Error Series 1974 $1 Fed Note Off CenterDollar Bill Error Note1969 B $1 Error Frn, Major Alignment Error, Fr. 1905-g1950 A $10 Star Error Seals Slightly Right And Cutting Margin Right Is Large 1974 $10 Offset Transfer Obverse Error Federal Reserve Note! No Reserve!2009 $1 Overinking On Serial # Error Pcgs Ch/new 63 Ppq #e08029958g - Odd Error2009 $1 Overinking On Serial # Error Pcgs Gem/new 66 Ppq #e08029959g 1977a $1 Green Print Shift Error Pcgs Ch/new 63 Ppq #k93294105fMulti Error Misprint $1 One Dollar Bill Federal Reserve Note Rare 2003$1 Silver Certificate Missing 3rd Printing 1914 $10 Large Frn~4d Cleveland Scarce Type A, "serial # Not Lined Up" Error2013 $20 Bill Miscut/errorUsa - 5 Dollars 1995, Partial Front To Back ErrorHuge High Grade Ink Smear $20 Frn 1985 Series Rare Cleveland District Too!$5 Frn 2006 Ladder Serial Number 12345672 Non Error Rare 67ppq Pcgs Superb Gem1981 U.s. F.r.n. Error Note Miscut Note Boston District Mis Cut Error Unc. 1976 A - $2 Unc * Minor Miscut + Wet Ink Transfer + Shift Error * Note1977a $1 Green Print Shift Error Pcgs V-ch/new 64 Ppq #k93294144fUncirculated 2003 $1.00 *star* Note2009 $1 Overinking On Serial # Error Pcgs Ch/new 63 Ppq #e080299955g$1 2009 Star Note Lot Of 10 Consecutive Numbers F Series Crisp Bills