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How to Collect and Curate a Paper Money Collection

Updated: Jun 26

Benjamins, cheddar, bucks: whatever you like to call the dollar bills in your pocket, we all know just how valuable paper currency can be. But did you know that some people spend their free time collecting rare and old money? If this sounds up your alley, it's time to start your money collection—and we can help you get started!

Define Paper Currency

While some people with a money collection focus mainly on unique and rare coins, others specialize in paper bills. Paper currency is best defined as the official printed piece of paper issued by a government to act as legal tender for goods and services. These will look different depending on which country you're in, from the green 2 dollar bills of America to the rainbow palette of renminbi currency in China

Why Do People Collect Currency?

Display of currency for sale at antique mall booth

Whether you grew up collecting beginner-level coins or inherited an heirloom collection of foreign bills from a relative, it's important to note that there are countless reasons people collect currency. One of the top reasons is that it's a fun-for-all-ages hobby. With hundreds and hundreds of years' worth of coins and paper bills to look for, this hobby is best for passionate collectors who love the thrill of the chase. 

Certain people with a money collection are in it for the…well…money! From an ultra-rare 2 dollar bill to an uncirculated banknote from a hundred years ago, certain pieces of currency can fetch hundreds, thousands, or even millions. These collectors know that every addition to their set is an investment, whether they've become a vendor to sell to interested buyers or sit on their cherished bills until the right time to sell. 

Is Uncirculated Money Worth More Than Circulated Money?

If you stumble across an untouched, crisp bill, chances are you've found paper currency that was never introduced to the market. This type of damage-free bill is called "uncirculated." While any type of money collection can have value, uncirculated versions will always have the highest value possible—not only that, but each price tag will likely increase over time! 

3 Tips for Starting Your Money Collection

Collectible currency

If this type of money collection piques your interest, it's time to get to it! Follow these three quick and easy tips and visit a Florida vendor mall to start your journey:

Tip 1: Choose a Money Collection Niche 

When you first start collecting, it can be difficult to resist the urge to buy every vintage or rare bill you come across. But it's important to narrow in on a specific type or set of paper currency to personalize your money collection and make your search easier overall. Someone could have any kind of niche, from modern bills from one country to vintage 2 dollar bills from one year and anything in between—the options are endless. 

Popular Types of Paper Money Collections:

  • Type: a set made up of one example of each paper currency design, such as every 20-dollar note produced in Canada.

  • Seal type: a set that includes the different colors of seals the United States used, seen next to the face in either red, green, yellow, or blue. 

  • Thematic: a set built around a specific theme as determined by the collector, such as misprints or designs with political and historical figures.

  • Location: a set of banknotes made from a particular location, whether it be a country or a specific mint. 

  • 2 dollar bills: a set made of 2 dollar bills, whether collecting the rare ones that are worth more than face value or an average variation (which many people do, believing they're a sign of good luck).

Tip 2: Learn the Grading System

Collection of paper money from the USA

The grading and authentication of a banknote lets you know exactly what your find is worth. Whether you're buying a regraded bill at a Chicago antique mall or have stumbled across one ungraded, you have to learn the scale for a successful money collection. 

Paper Money Guaranty, or PMG, is a top-trusted grading company specializing in paper currency. When you send your banknote in, they will grade it based on condition, rarity, and design using a 1-70 scale (1 being bad and 70 being mint condition). The higher the grade, the more it is worth!

Tip 3: Store and Display Your Money Collection with Care

Once you have a few 2 dollar bills in your collection, you have to learn how to properly store your treasured finds. Whatever display method you choose, you must make sure the area is humidity and temperature controlled, as higher humidity or temperature fluctuations can cause paper to break down over time, reducing the value. 

3 Favorite Ways to Store a Paper Money Collection

Thomas Jefferson collectible money

Do you want to keep your 2 dollar bills on display for everyone to see? Are you looking for a method that keeps them completely safe from sun damage? There are a few tried-and-true storage methods that paper currency collectors and our vendors swear by:

  1. Paper money sleeve: similar to collecting and storing baseball cards, banknotes like a 2 dollar bill can be kept safe and sound in individual plastic sleeves. 

  2. Paper money album: if you want to be able to flip through your collection, store your banknotes in a paper money album that can hold your entire set in one place.

  3. Frames: for particularly rare bills (and a way to show off your finds in your home décor), find a frame with museum glass to fully protect your bill from light damage. 

Where Can You Find Collectible Paper Currency?

Antique Mall booth with paper currency collection

Rare currency can be found just about anywhere, from a 2 dollar bill underneath your own couch cushions to specialized online forums—it just takes a keen eye to spot whether or not it's something of value. One of the best places to look is the specialized showcases in a vendor mall, where every money collection is kept pristine and on display for you to search through. Connect with the vendor, attend a coin and paper money collection event, and find like-minded collectors at one of our antique mall locations.  

There's only one thing more exciting than discovering that the random 2 dollar bill in your home is actually worth hundreds—dedicating your free time to curating an entire money collection! Choose your paper currency niche and get started today at your local antique mall.  

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