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A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO COLLECTING U.S. PAPER CURRENCY

us-paper-currency-collectingWith the prevalence of digital payment systems such as PayPal, bitcoin, and Android Pay and Apple Pay, it might seem as though paper currency’s days are numbered. While these electronic payment systems serve online shoppers well, paper currency still rules the physical world.

It may surprise you to learn that the money we carry in our wallets and purses is more than just a means of paying for things – it can also be collectible! For example, did you realize that over the years there have been different sized bills, or that at one time these paper bills could actually be traded in for gold or silver?

U.S. paper currency can be highly collectible and some notes are extremely valuable. Before you start collecting, you should know a few brief facts about cold, hard cash.

Large-Sized Notes

  • Issued from 1862 to 1929
  • Approximate size: 3.1 by 7.4 inches
  • Also called “legal tender notes”
  • Came in denominations of $1 to $10,000
  • Most common were Federal Reserve Notes of Series 1914 and 1918

Small-Sized Notes

  • Issued from 1929 to 1971
  • Approximate size: 2.6 by 6.1 inches
  • Formerly redeemable for gold or silver
  • Remain valid currency in the United States but are increasingly rare
  • Also called “United States notes”

There is also a third classification of note, which is the one we use today. It is the same size as the Small Notes, but is not redeemable for gold or silver. These are known as Federal Reserve Notes, as you will learn below.

Federal Reserve Notes

  • Issued since 1971
  • Approximate size: 2.6 by 6.1 inches
  • Fiat currency (legal tender declared by the government)
  • Unbacked by any physical asset such as gold or silver

Collectible Currency in Seattle

While today’s paper bills are only worth the amount printed on them, older, more collectible bills can certainly be worth much more. For example, the 1918 Alexander Hamilton $1,000 bill can sell for as much as $8,000 as there are only about 150 of them in circulation today.

Bellevue Rare Coins specializes in the buying and selling of coins and currency including:

  • Colonial Paper Currency
  • Federal Reserve Notes
  • Gold Certificates
  • Silver Certificates
  • Fractional Currency
  • Error Notes
  • Confederate Paper Currency
  • And Much More

Whether you are new to collecting paper currency or want to add to or liquidate your collection, Bellevue Rare Coins would be happy to provide you with a free consultation or evaluation. We are the place to go for paper money collectors in the greater Seattle area and can assist you in finding the specific notes you seek for your collection. Visit us today or contact us with any questions you may have.

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