Collecting Paper Currency or Paper Money either term works. It is one of the more esoteric area’s of numismatics and one that a person of average skill can actively profit from. What I mean by that is that it is possible to find notes that have extra collector value from circulating currency.
There are three criteria that can combine to add to a notes scarcity or even to the level of it’s being a rarity.
Fancy Serial Number. There are a number of serial number combinations that increase a notes appeal to currency collection. See this link for a listing of the various fancy serial numbers and their relative rarity.
Star Notes which are replacement notes that were damaged in some manner, are somewhat overblown in the respect that while they are scarcer than normal notes they are generally not rare. This is only a general rule as other aspects like condition and serial number can multiply it’s scarcity.
Grade, quality, or condition of the note. The better the condition of the note the rarer it will be to other notes similar to it.
So if you have a fancy serial number, combined with it being a star note, and it’s in a high grade, preferably uncirculated, then you have the makings of a note with extra collector value.
So how can one actively make money from collecting paper currency. Simply watch your change when making purchases or better yet get a few stack of bills from your friendly neighborhood bank. Ask the teller if they have older stacks of bills as you are more apt to find something interesting there.
Now that we have covered the modern side of paper currency, let us not forget about the classic paper currency that creates the basis of this hobby and the area’s that allow for an interest in collecting paper money in the first place.
Outside of small size Federal Reserve Notes you are not apt to see the above notes in circulation. They are out there though and all it takes is some searching and investigation to locate them. It is an everyday occurrence to be contacted by someone who found them in a garage sale, listed on Craigslist, through a parent, grandparent, or relative who put them back. There are plenty of lesser known sites on the internet that have paper currency listed for bargain prices.
It’s a great big world out there with opportunity abounding. Grab the reins and ride.