Cashing in your rare currency
A rare piece of currency always is a valuable find
The dream is a scary one with a happy ending. It’s one that conjures up from midnight’s deepest darkness the sudden discovery of riches. The treasure could be a cache of colorful colonial postage stamps or a roll of silver certificates squirreled away in an old tobacco can.
Your treasure may be a bundle of bank notes, gold certificates or rare currency preserved from dust and decay in the rafters of an abandoned farm house. Bats and spiders stand guard over the rare currency. But the varmints are no match for your sweaty, groping hand. Suddenly, the treasure is yours—in your dream.
A more realistic scenario might be one in which you purchase the components of your collection from a well respected dealer, an accredited mint or retail outlet. Chances are you do a lot of reading and research before deciding to make an offer, especially to buy a group of items from another collector.
Where can one find advice on rare currency?
You might also make the acquaintance of other collectors, historians or specialists in numismatics—the study of medals and coins. Fields of expertise frequently overlap when the subject is rare currency. Those who enjoy stamp collections will seek out experienced philatelists. Satisfaction and peace of mind are ensured when knowledge augments one’s desire to have and to hold rare currency. There are numerous varieties of legal tender and related valuables that bring pleasure to collectors all over the world.
• Paper money from the U.S.
• Paper money from foreign countries
• Bank notes
• Misprinted error notes
• Coins of the world
• Coins of the United States
• Gold and Silver certificates
• Postage stamps and commemoratives
How is value determined in paper money?
The value of bills, bank notes, certificates and mostly all other types of paper currency depends upon many variables. Lots of questions are asked before a value is set on a particular item. Inspection under high magnification is a help in detecting counterfeit paper of all kinds.
A crisp, flawless bill that has never been circulated is a wonderful find. But in normal, circulated money the color of the images and the background colors are factors. Experts know about authentic inks and how the inks change in hue as they age. The condition of rare currency is important. Are there tears or corners missing? Folds and creases also may impact the value. Smudges and fingerprints could bring down the price. A long-established grading system is used by professionals to determine the value of rare currency from America and beyond.
What are some cautions about buying currency?
Caution must be used at all times. Many unscrupulous sellers have concocted ways to cheat the honest collector. Crooks have been known to wash and iron paper money that’s soiled. They may steam a bill to press out creases. It’s also possible to mend tiny rips by applying glue-laden fibers as fillers. Luckily, there are ways experts can detect even the most subtle of these machinations.
Counterfeit bills are a worry for many collectors. Some of the bills police have confiscated are superb in quality and akin to artwork. But others are terrible attempts at making a reproduction resemble an expensive bank note, bill or certificate. The pulp content of the paper and the paper’s absorbency also can be clues as to the item’s authenticity. Is it rare currency, or fake currency?
What makes collecting so much fun?
Silver and gold certificates, postage stamps from days gone by or more common collectibles such as lesser known denominations of paper money can be fun to collect. It’s the challenge of a hobby that keeps it fresh. Making a find and adding it to one’s collection is a thrill. Filling in an empty spot in a stamp album is rewarding. And even small wonders can bring satisfaction.
For instance, it’s not too often that one sees nowadays a two-dollar bill. But they’re out there. Chances are there is a stash in somebody’s sock drawer or a few in an old purse hanging in the back of the closet. One may have worked itself down into the upholstery of the couch in the den.
But for maximum thrills nothing beats a dream come true. Is there an old tobacco tin somewhere on your property? Have you taken the opportunity to climb up a ladder and take a peek into the dusty old rafters of that abandoned farm house up the road? It might be exciting to take a good, long look around you every now and again. Who knows? You might find treasure, bills or bank notes—or, some rare bats and spiders.