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Gifts for Bank Note Collectors


As you read this, the holiday season will be upon you. You could be hinting to gift givers that you’d like some books on currency. If so, I have a few recommendations. If you like U.S. notes, a very good research book is available. The seventh edition of The Comprehensive Catalog of U.S. Paper Money by Carlson Chambliss covers everything. If you’re doing an exhibit for a show and are wondering who painted the portrait on the note... it’s in the book. If you’re wondering who engraved the portrait on the note... it’s in the book. In-depth information is the word on this publication. Obsolete Paper Money by Don Kelly does a comprehensive job on the Obsolete notes from all over the country. The best book on Small Size U.S. is the ninth or 10th edition of The Standard Catalog of Small-Size U.S. Paper Money by Schwartz and Lindquist. It is out of print, but you can track down a copy on the Internet. This book tells you all you need to know to get started on Small Size notes.

If you’re looking for albums to store your notes, I use Linden Albums. I find them attractive and pleasant to use. You’re already getting the Bank Note Reporter, but maybe you should recommend it to a friend. I’ve been a subscriber for more than 30 years and I’ve been doing the pricing for 15 years or so.

Large Size types seem to be doing the best in terms of rising prices in Extra Fine condition and better. Small size seems to waver between great prices and bargain prices. Small Size Federal Reserve bank notes seem to make the wildest swings. Look for bargains here on Tuesday night Heritage auctions. High Denomination Federal Reserve notes also seem strong, especially in Almost Uncirculated condition or higher.

National Bank notes continue to thrive on High condition or, more importantly, bank rarity. Identical notes condition-wise can be separated by thousands of dollars due to bank rarity. Putting together a National Bank Note type set can be very economical if you go after notes with large populations to choose from. Fractional Notes from the Civil War area are very economic, and in Almost Uncirculated condition, can be very price friendly. Mint State Uncirculated 65 and higher seem to exist in another dimension of pricing. Obsolete bank notes from the Civil War era and earlier can be very rewarding and many are modestly priced unless you’re looking at Santa Claus Notes and other rare vignettes.

World Currency continues to attract new and old collectors. American Banknote Company and other top-notch quality engraving companies created beautiful notes in Central and South America. For the most part these notes are quite affordable.

I am hoping for the very best holiday seasons for you and your families. I’m looking forward to being able to see many of you at a show soon. I remain