Beginners Guide to Collecting Currency




Have you ever wanted to start a currency collection? Well this Instructable will teach you the basics of collecting currency.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Decide on What Type of Currency to Collect

There are many different types of currency collections that you can start but here are just a few.

Large-size types, lower denominations: A collection of $1, $2 and $5 values.
Interesting serial numbers: Low serial numbers such as 00000001, 00001429, 000016776, and others sell for a premium. Another example is a "radar" note, which is currency with thew same serial number forward and backward, such as 12344321 or 44888844.
Star notes: When a note is found defective after printing, it is replaced with a star note. On federal reserve notes, the star is after the serial number, while on all other issues, the star comes before.
Currency errors: All sorts of interesting errors and misprints exist, such as a double denomination, such as a $10 printed on one side and a $5 written on the other. (The serial numbers were blurred a bit.)

Step 2: Know Your Facts

Before going out and purchasing currency, be sure to know all of your facts. Some dealers may try to overcharge, while others do not. To determine what you should be paying for currency, you will need to know the grading system. To determine what you should be paying for a note, you can look in The Official Red Book, or similar books. You can also check auction sites such as ebay.

Grade | Numeric rating | Description

Gem Uncirculated | Unc-65 | A note that is flawless.
Choice Uncirculated | Unc-63 | Almost as nice as Gem Uncirculated, but not quite there.
Uncirculated | Unc-60 | Retains its original crispness. It may show signs of improper handling.
About Uncirculated | AU-50, AU-55 and AU-58 | Appears new but shows very slight signs of use.
Extremely Fine | EF-40 and EF-45 | Shows some faint evidence of circulation.
Very Fine | VF-20, VF-25, VF-30 and VF-35 | A note that has been in circulation, but not for long.
Fine | F-12 and F-15 | A note that shows much evidence of circulation.
Very Good | VG-8 and VG-10 | A note that shows considerable wear or circulation.
Good | G-4 | A note that is badly worn.

If you send your currency off to a third party company to be graded, be sure to send it to a reputable company such as PMG.

Step 3: Purchase Your Currency

Now that you know what you want to collect, and what you should be paying for it, it is time to purchase your currency. If you live in the U.S., you can purchase some currency from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing here. You can also look up currency dealers in your phone book, or check newspaper ads. Another place is an online auction site such as [ ebay], but be careful. Some sellers may have their currency over-graded. Check the seller's feedback before making any purchases.

Step 4: Handling Your Currency

After you have purchased your new collection, you will need to handle it properly in order to prevent damage of the note/s. Try to avoid any direct contact with the currency. Whenever handling it , be sure to wear cotton gloves, and do not bend the currency.

Step 5: Storage

It is best to store currency inside a currency "sleeve" which you can purchase from a local currency dealer. Be sure to keep your currency in a dry place to prevent a build up of moisture.

Step 6: Let Your Collection Grow

Now that you know the basics of collecting currency, you can let your collection grow. Soon you will have a large collection, and will be amazed at how much it can sell for.

If you don't see some information in this guide that you think should be present, comment below. Don't forget to rate and comment.

Good luck with your collection.

The Instructables Book Contest

Participated in the
The Instructables Book Contest

Be the First to Share


    • CNC Contest

      CNC Contest
    • Teacher Contest

      Teacher Contest
    • Maps Challenge

      Maps Challenge

    22 Discussions


    Question 1 year ago

    I want to but currency album . I am looking it for long long time


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Its really nice tips for currency collection. I read all article and get many tips and ideas. Such a good work.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    There are several factors that have direct impact on the value of Canadian coins today. Some of them are the reason why coinage from Canada sometimes receives warm appreciation, and times are ignored and shrugged off. To comprehend the drive of Canadian coin values, you must familiarize yourself with the history of how they were originally rated.

    Coin Values


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, i have some some good collection too..check my site out


    10 years ago on Introduction

    at school, i traded a fruit roll up for a u.s. $10 silver certificate from 1934, but it was ripped in the middle but....oh well! haha


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I have about 10 $2.00 bills from the 1930's through 2006. My brother has quite a few silver certs, and a large note. We love to collect currency, along with coins.

    1 reply

    11 years ago on Step 1

    I looked through my wallet to look at the star notes, and I picked out 2 that seemed neat. Here are then numbers: 60000875. One of the first 60 million. 60866668. Really weird. Mostly 6s, with 2 8s and 0.

    2 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    If you visit here, you can view other notes like that. These notes usually tend to sell for a few more dollars than their face value, and they are pretty good to collect also.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    This is another real quality instructable from you. Nice job! I haven't collected much currency, I just have a few silver certificates. 5 stars and favorited!