Currency is fascinating for many reasons.
I personally enjoy many types of
During the mid 1970s one particular currency item capitvated my attention – double denomination notes.
For those who are not aware, a double denomination note is a printing error resulting in the front of the note becoming one denomination and the reverse a different denomination. This error comes in many variations.
Heritage Currency Auction #3520, Lot #16652
Dr. Frederick J. Bart, in his book, United States Paper Money Errors: A Comprehensive Catalog & Price Guide, provides a detailed description of the error and how it occurs:
The double denomination note – with the face and back each representing a different value – happens in a rather simple manner. After a currency sheet receives the back printing of one denomination, the sheet enters the face and overprinting operations for another denomination. The confusion presumably arises during the transportation of the currency stock to the second printing stage, after a storage period subsequent to the first printing.
Depending on the orientation of the note, the error is either blatantly obvious or totally obscure to the viewer. When both sides of the notes are visible, as in turning a page in a book, the disparity of denominations is readily apparent. However, when one side is viewed independently no error shows, as each side is perfect unto itself.
The double denomination error is rare, particularly for small size currency. Dr. Bart estimates about 200 examples of small size double denomination notes are known to exist.
I was particularly fond of the 1934 Federal Reserve Note $5/$10 variety, in XF/AU or higher grade.
Now, in the 1970s, when I first began to buy and sell double denomination notes, I paid around $2,500 per note. These currency errors were fun to search for and a delight to display. Collectors loved them and examples sold quickly, in my store or at coin shows.
I continued to buy and sell double denomination notes until their wholesale cost reached about $4,000. Because they were getting pretty expensive and rather hard to find, I turned my focus to other things numismatic.
If we look at current auction records, we learn these notes are still popular. In October 2012, Heritage auctioned a note similar to those I bought and sold for $15,275. This note is pictured above.