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Collectible U.S. Currency Info To Know Before Going To Auction

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020
small coin collection of U.S. currency

There are thousands of types of currency available to collect, including both paper money and coins. For U.S. currency, there are many places for collectors to find new pieces. These include online and at auctions. Here are some of the most common pieces of paper and coin currency that you can find.

Paper currency

There are a lot of types of paper currency from the U.S. to collect and you can often find these at estate auctions. They include bank notes, large bills, colonial notes, confederate money, and misprinted currency.

Bank notes

These pieces of currency, also known as national currency, were given out by banks between 1863 and 1935. Records show that 12,635 individual banks released their own notes during that time. The notes were signed by the president and cashier of the entity and often times they are saved and passed down through banking families. If you are attending an auction, you may hope to find these notes, which are often in great shape, but keep in mind that they can be rare. The following are the five basic types of bank notes you can find.

  1. First Charters: These are some of the earliest and most valuable bank notes. They were issued by banks opened from 1863 to 1881.
  2. Second Charters: These notes were printed with brown or blue seals and were printed between 1882 and 1901. The best pieces can be sold at auction for more than ten thousand dollars.
  3. 1902 Red Seals: These are rare because they were exclusively printed from 1902 to 1908. Be sure to check the serial number on these notes as well as their quality.
  4. 1902 Blue Seals: These are the most commonly found large bank notes available to collect, but they can still be valuable. Their value largely depends on the bank where they were issued since some released less than others.
  5. 1929 Brown Seals: These were the last type of bank note to be released in the U.S., but they can still be valuable at auction. Their value will depend on their serial number and the bank where they were issued.

Large bills

These are categorized as being produced between 1861 and 1923 and are the most collected by enthusiasts. Although there are hundreds of types of large bills out there, you will most likely see about a dozen, potentially less at auctions. Here are just some of these.

  1. Silver Certificates: These were part of a series printed in 1878, 1880, 1886, 1891, 1896, 1899, 1908, and 1923. Those from 1878 and 1880 are rarer than the other years.
  2. Gold Certificates: These are dated between 1863, 1882, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1913, or 1922 and are rare to find in higher qualities.
  3. Federal Reserve Notes: These can have either blue or red seals and can date as 1914 or 1913. Their value largely depends on their condition.
  4. Federal Reserve Bank Notes: All of these large bills are from the series that is dated 1918, have a blue seal, and a portrait on the left front face.

Colonial currency

Colonial and continental currency are actually quite common. You can often find this type of paper money at antique and curio stores, auctions, and online. The value of each piece depends on many factors including condition, year, and signature. These notes can range from tens to thousands of dollars.

Confederate paper currency

This is a popular form of U.S. currency for collectors, but a large majority of pieces are in poor shape or are fake. It may be difficult to find higher-quality examples because they are much rarer.

Misprinted paper currency

These pieces of U.S. currency are interesting because they are errors. Their value is placed on their condition, rarity, and severity of the error. As is common for auctions, they may not go for what you think they will. Bidders will have to create a budget and pay attention to how others are bidding to see if they can get a great deal.

Coin currency

Coins are extremely popular with collectors and are often found at auctions as well. People find that many types of coins are simply interesting, no matter their value. Some of the most well-known examples of collectible coins include Lincoln wheat pennies, Mercury dimes, buffalo nickels, Washington quarters, gold coins, Morgan silver dollars, commemorative coins, and misprints. As is true for paper currency, U.S. coins are valued on their quality, rarity, collectibility, intrinsic value, and face value. If you are a coin collector, check out estate auction catalogs to see if there is anything you are interested in available.

Are you looking for U.S. currency at auction?

At High Plains Auctioneers, we offer a variety of auctions throughout the year, many of which include currency collections. To see if we have anything that may interest you, call us at (806) 244-6776 or Send Us an Email for more information. You can also check out our Upcoming Auctions to see what we will have available.