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Questions & Answers (FAQ)

I am new to world paper money
collecting. Where do I learn more about this
exciting hobby and who can teach me how and
what to start collecting especially if I am on a
tight budget to buy so many truly magical notes?
Answer: Please read all answers on this page
and then visit the following page of this web site:
Introduction to World Banknote Collecting

Question: What is a Banknote (Bank Note)?
Answer: The technical definition is a promissory
note on bank of issue promising to pay its face
value to bearer on demand. A more common
definition would be paper (or polymer plastic)
money issued with the
intent to use as legal
tender in a particular
country or region.

Need Help?
Question: What types of banknotes should I collect?
Answer: Many collectors choose to collect one note from as many countries as
possible, while others may choose to specialize in a particular country or region.
You could even collect a particular theme or topic, such as banknotes with ships,
trains, birds fishes, boats or even nudes depicted. More advanced collectors start
collecting error notes, misprints, notes with funny serial numbers such as: 111111
or 000001.
Girls from Eritrea   Question: I have a banknote (or a paper money collection) that I can not identify, because it is
printed in a language that I don't understand
and the letters on the note(s) seem to be
different from latin or some kind of strange
characters or hyeroglyphs. How can I find out
it's(their) value and possibly to sell them?
Answer: You have to describe the banknote(s) in DETAIL, every detail is important and you
have to scan it's/their image in JPEG (.jpg)
format in order to show the banknote(s) to us
(or send a xerox copy or an original by mail to
us). To do that the following page will help you:
Banknote Appraisals (Evaluation). Also: Offers.

Question: I have a Five Dollar/Mark/Franc (etc.) banknote dated 1900 (example),
what's the value of it? Are you interested in buying it?
Answer: That is the kind of inquiry that needs much more detail in order for me to respond to it. Please read the above (previous) answer and go to: Appraisals

Question: I'm at this page now: (example) and
I'm interested in buying some of these banknotes, but I do not see any price listed
on there. Are these items for sale?
Answer: You are actually at our Photo Gallery (Currency Museum). Any items
displayed on our Gallery/Museum pages are not for sale. To view what we have for
sale please go to our
Text Pricelist or to our Store (shopping cart). Simple rule: if
there is no price displayed - the item is not for sale or it has been sold (out).

Slave trade scene   Question: Are these real money or
reproductions that you're selling?
Answer: All the banknotes (paper
and plastic currency) on this web
site are genuine real currency and
genuine real collectible banknotes
(not reproductions) unless noted


Question: What is my banknote worth?
Answer: Please visit: Banknote Appraisals. I am unable to give answers via email
or via telephone. You'll have to pay to get your bank note appraised. That way I'll
make sure I don't get flooded with too many requests for free appraisals, since I have
a lot of other work to do to provide you all with more and more beautiful images and
exhausting information on many thousands of fantastic banknotes from all over the

I don't need an appraisal, but I'd like to know whether the banknote(s) I
own has/have any value (no proper form submitted).
Answer: The fact that you are asking this question means that the stuff you have in
your possession is valuable to you; otherwise you would have thrown it into a trash
can. You can either keep it or give it away. Never throw anything into the trash unless
you are going to recycle it. Any banknotes you have, always will have some value,
be it $0.05, $1, $10, $100 or more. So, if you are not willing to spend time and effort
and present your holding properly, then it is unnecessary to contact me.

What books could you suggest for a beginning and/or advanced
collector of world banknotes?
Answer: Please click on the following link to view and buy most popular books for a
beginning and/or advanced collector:

Question: How do I grade paper money?
Answer: Grading information is located at the following page: Grading.

Lempira, Honduras   Question: What are Replacement Notes?
Answer: They are notes issued to replace damaged
notes. The usually have a star, asterisk or special
prefix in the serial number to indicate that they are
replacements. Due to their scarcity, they can

command a significant premium over the regular
issued note.

Question: What's a Specimen Note?
Answer: It is a sample note, usually with a special serial number (usually all-zero
serial number such as 000000) and an overprint or perforation with the word
"Specimen" in the language of the country of origin. They are usually distributed to
banks, treasuries and law enforcement agencies to familiarize them with newly
issued currency. They are not intended to be used as actual currency.

Question: What are known reproductions of US colonial, confederate, obsolete and
other paper currency?
Answer: Paper money reproductions are also known as BOGUS, FAKE,
COUNTERFEIT banknotes. Here are two internet pages listing some of most well
known repros (USA only). These links will lead you away from my site so don't
forget to bookmark this page or to remember "BANKNOTES.COM":
Known Reproductions:

Question: What is Seigniorage?
Seigniorage is the difference between the face value of the currency
note or coin and the cost of printing or minting.

Hungarian woman   Question: I have discovered a lot of paper money
on my grandmother's attic. They seem valuable to
me, but I know nothing about them. Where can I
get them appraised?
Answer: To appraise your paper money please go
to the following page:
Banknote Appraisals.

Question: What are the names of the famous people depicted on various
denominations of U.S. paper currency?
Answer: 1 dollar note depicts George Washington;
2 dollar note depicts
Thomas Jefferson;
5 dollar note depicts
Abraham Lincoln;
10 dollar note depicts
Alexander Hamilton;
20 dollar note depicts
Andrew Jackson;
50 dollar note depicts
Ulysses S. Grant;
100 dollar note depicts
Benjamin Franklin;
500 dollar note depicts
William McKinley;
1000 dollar note depicts
Grover Cleveland;
5000 dollar note depicts
James Madison;
10000 dollar note depicts
Salmon P. Chase;
100000 dollar note depicts
Woodrow Wilson.

Question: Is there an international banknote collector's club or society
that I could join?
Answer: Yes, please visit the following page: IBNS.

Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon - Maimonides, Israel   Question: What is intaglio printing?
Printing plates are covered with ink
and then the surface of each plate is wiped
clean which allows the ink to remain in the
design and letter grooves of the plates. Each
sheet is then forced, under extremely heavy
pressure (estimated at 20 tons), into the
finely recessed lines of the printing plate to
pick up the ink. The printing impression is
three dimensional in effect and requires the
combined handwork of highly skilled artists,
steel engravers, and plate printers. The
surface feels slightly raised. This process
is called intaglio printing.

Question: How can I start my own collection of world banknotes from a scratch
and at a low cost without spending many days and weeks collecting one banknote
at a time?
Answer: Please consider purchasing a "beginner set" on the following page: Beginning Collector Sets.

Question: What are the guidelines for sending you a banknote offer?
Please click here to view detailed info on how to offer bank notes to us.

Question: What are the dates of the end of redemption periods for majour European
Answer: End of redemption periods *

Country   Coins   Notes     Masks by Belgian Artist James Ensor
Austria   Unlimited   Unlimited  
Belgium   31-12-2004   Unlimited  
Finland   29-02-2012   29-02-2012  
France   17-02-2005   17-02-2012  
Germany   Unlimited   Unlimited  
Greece   01-03-2004   01-03-2012  
Ireland   Unlimited   Unlimited  
Italy   01-03-2012   01-03-2012  
Luxembourg   31-12-2004   Unlimited  
Netherlands   01-01-2007   01-01-2032  
Portugal   30-12-2002   30-12-2022  
Spain   Unlimited   Unlimited  

* last day of redemption at national central banks (DD-MM-YYYY)

Question: How do I clean a bank note?
Cleaning, washing or pressing paper money is generally harmful and
reduces both the grade and the value of a note. At the very least, a washed or
pressed note may lose its original sheen and its surface may become lifeless and
dull. The defects a note had, such as folds and creases, may not necessarily be
completely eliminated and their telltale marks can be detected under a good light.
Carelessly washed notes may have white streaks where the folds or creases were
(or still are). Processing of a note which started out as Extremely Fine will reduce it
at least one full grade. Glue, tape, or pencil marks may sometimes be successfully
removed. While such removal will have a cleaned surface, it will improve the overall
appearance of the note without concealing any of its defects. Under such circum-
stances, the grade of the note may also be improved. One should not iron a bank
note to remove creases and folds. The heat can cause the colour of the note to
change or flow and thereby destroy patterns. Folds and creases are part of life of
a bank note and should therefore be accepted as such. Any kind of tape should not
be used in repairing a banknote. Chemicals that are used on the tape can damage
the banknote and its grade will be severely reduced or even make it worthless. Ink
and stains can sometimes be removed by using soap, water or alcohol. The treated
banknote has to be be washed with clean water after any treatment. Afterwards it
should be dried, which can be done by pressing it between paper sheets (in a book).
Now when it comes to professional bank note cleaning and improving techniques we
are not a good advisor to you since we do not clean, wash, press or improve any
banknotes in any way other than straightening bent corners and folds with a finger
and naturally "pressing" the notes in holders while they are stored in a stock box.

Pyramid Sonata Although we do occasionally sell some
banknotes that have been already
improved (washed, cleaned, pressed,
glued, restored etc.) by someone else.
Only experts, called paper conservators,
should repair paper money.

Question: We need certain banknote scans at a high resolution (300 dpi) for our
upcoming publication. What's the procedure?
Answer: Please email us a list of codes (example: AF-70) of the banknotes from
our A-to-Z
pricelist (not from gallery!) including the time frame you need it done by
and I will get back to you. Please note that we charge you for our time and labour
spent scanning the images. We do not sell the images, we charge for our time and
the intangible service you receive. Total cost of scanning and providing the images
on a server depends on many factors. Alternatively, in exchange to our time/labour
you are welcome to give us a credit by providing a credit to "Audrius Tomonis -" in your book, publication or as a link on your website. Please
note that our digital images/scans are our property, but the physical banknotes
depicted on are not necessarily our property (especially some of
the images in our
Gallery that have been sold or traded with other collectors).

Question: Why most banknotes bear signatures on them?
In the past, many countries required that all issued banknotes be hand-
signed by at least one authorised person. This requirement was in force even before
banknotes were invented. When an obligatory document was created (as equivalent
of paper money), which specified certain financial obligations between the parties,
it allowed the transfer of the financial obligatory document (which was signed and
sometimes sealed) to a third party. Thus, the obligation became legally binding.

Shureimon Gate in Naha, Okinawa, Japan   Question: What is your telephone or fax (facsimile) number?
Answer: Please go to "Contact Us" page
to find our phone and fax number. Please
note that our telephone and fax is on the
same line (number) and in order to send
us a fax (facsimile) you will have to phone
(call) us first or simply send your fax after
the autoresponder (voice mail) message
is finished. Please note that our telephone
line is only for order-related questions.
Please do not call too early or to late. Best
time to phone us is between 10:00 (AM)
and 21:00 (9:00 PM) GMT.

Question: Can you appraise (evaluate; tell me the value) of a single banknote or
coin or a collection of mine over the telephone or fax?
Answer: The answer is - definitely not. Please go to "Banknote Appraisals" (we do
not appraise coins) page to get your item(s) appraised.

Question: Do you buy world banknotes? Can I sell to you?
Yes, we do buy all kinds of world banknotes (paper and plastic currency).
Please click here to view detailed info on how to offer bank notes to us.

Question: Do you buy or sell slabbed ("professionally" "graded" and "certified")

No, we do not. The reason being inaccurate, unreliable, services of
questionable intelligence that add huge multifold and unnecessary cost to the price of
the collectible banknote severely inflating its value with disastrous consequences.
Slabbing (encapsulating) banknotes destroys them for most or all collectors adding
huge unnecessary cost in exchange for questionable services. All collectors and
dealers should learn how to grade yourselves; it is not difficult to achieve.

Example of a severe misindentification by PMG: Click here to view. This is a Pick
catalogue Nș 30 and not P-26. While P-26 is many times more valuable than P-30.
There were other blunders reported on this item alone, but reportedly were corrected
by PMG, yet they still failed to address the most important issue - the catalogue
number misidentification. We have many more such blunder examples available.

Question: I did not find an answer to my question in the Q&A above and my question is not order-related. What should I do?
Answer: Please email us (no phonecalls, please) and I will try to do my best to
answer your question(s). I reserve the right not to respond to questions the answer
to which can easily be found by browsing my web site. Please also check our
section. The fastest way to get a reply to your question is to include it in your
order's "Customer Notes" section.

Bacchus Temple ruins at Baalbek, Lebanon
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