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Collecting Rare Currency

Why collect rare currency? I'm glad you asked such a good question!

There are several reasons to collect.

  • Collecting is an enjoyable part of our hobby
  • It is very educational and historical
  • It could turn out to be an ideal investment

In regards to the last reason, I always encourage people to collect for an aesthetic aspect; should it turn out that you make a return on your investment, it’s icing on the cake.

Of course you can’t collect all the rare currency that was ever made. It just doesn’t happen that way. Even Bill Gates couldn’t do that! There are lots of notes that are one or two of a kind and, if not on display at the Smithsonian Museum, they may be held by individuals not willing to part with them at any price. Believe it or not, there are some people, usually with deep pockets, who won’t part with their notes at any price! Of course the average collector can’t afford the millions of dollars necessary to pay for these notes anyway. But it never hurts to dream.

Normally we refer to rare currency as just not being all that readily available, for instance, National Currency from small towns throughout America. These notes were produced in 1863 through the 1929 series.

Type Notes include the very popular:

  • 1899 $ Indian Chief
  • 1901 $10 Bison
  • 1896 $1, $2 and $5 Educationals
  • 1918 $2 Battleship
  • 1923 $5 Porthole (Lincoln)

...and the list goes on and on.


Most of these notes can be purchased for less than one thousand dollars, but in lower grades. With rare currency, it’s always the condition that counts the most and determines the market value of a note.

There are many aspects to collecting rare currency or bank notes. Many collectors like to focus on one or more of the following types of paper money:

  • Error notes
  • Obsolete currency
  • Star notes
  • Fractional currency
  • United States notes
  • Silver Certificates
  • Gold Certificates
  • National Currency
  • Military Payment Certificates

See our product catalog to view a variety of notes in each category.

Large size notes (1861-1923) and small size notes (1928-present) are collector’s choices for U.S. currency.

Broken bank notes and obsolete currency are available from the late 1700’s to the 1860’s.

Colonial currency is very collectible and don’t forget that there is an abundance of foreign paper money and many countries to select from.

The category choice is yours to make - you can see many samples in these categories on this website. Notes can be purchased for a few dollars right up to the thickness of your wallet. Most of all have fun and learn with this great hobby.

Dig in to a great hobby! Check out reference books at your local library or through our numismatics books page.