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Add hot world notes to collecting goals

by Bill Brandimore

For some time now I’ve been commenting on how hot the world paper money market is. The September Heritage world currency auction grossed over $1 million.

Not too long ago that amount would have been a great figure for a U.S. paper currency auction total. Take a peek into this market if your budget is a bit stressed with rising costs for nice United States currency.


The royal family is on the 1935 Bank of Canada series, including this $1 banknote featuring a portrait of George V. Acquiring these notes is a real challenge, especially in the French varieties.

I’ve become somewhat enamored with Canadian paper money, both modern small-size and large-size as well. There are lots of great train and ship vignettes. The royal family is on the 1935 Bank of Canada series and acquiring these notes is a real challenge, especially in the French varieties.

In addition, with the drop in value of the Canadian dollar, these notes are even more appealing.

Heritage auctions continue to realize attractive prices for lower grade Nationals as well as small- and large-size type notes. Colonial notes on the firm’s website also seem to be at bargain rates. Again, this site and Internet-only auctions seem to offer bargains. The trick is to limit yourself before the bidding starts.

The coin market seems to be soft at this time. Will paper currency prices also follow this trend? The best protection would seem to be that of careful shopping. Buy notes that you like the looks of. Even if a note is slabbed, if you don’t like its looks, others won’t either.

I have watched market ups and downs since the early 1980s. Sometimes prices stay flat in certain groups for years. Fractional Currency notes stayed flat from the middle 1980s until the boom of the 1990s. The Thomas M. Flynn, Heritage auction of April 2008 was a high water mark. The ensuing recession and drops in gold and silver slowed things down.

Is the present period a time to take advantage of, or not? I am a collector, not an investor, so my purchases are intended to entertain me, as I enjoy studying my notes and frequently playing with them, as my wife describes my behavior. As a collector my costs are repaid through enjoyment, and while I certainly don’t want to see value evaporate, my enjoyment is part of the overall cost return benefit.

As I mentioned earlier, world currency remains hot. Look into this if you are looking for a new angle in your collecting experience. There has been quite a stir with the new British polymer notes and I think hobby growth is more likely in the world market than in strictly U.S. notes.

Direct questions or comments to me at, and let’s all have a great hobby experience.

This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter. >> Subscribe today.

More Collecting Resources

• The Standard Catalog of United States Paper Money is the only annual guide that provides complete coverage of U.S. currency with today’s market prices.

• Start becoming a coin collector today with this popular course, Coin Collecting 101.