Rookie needing advice

Full disclosure..... I am a baseball card guy with no expierence with currency but the old bills fascinate me. I am wanting to put together a run of all denominations of a particular year when they were all available from a $1 through a $1,000 bill.
I want to buy these graded for security and investment. So can I get some tips on what year makes most sense to go after when all are available and second what grade. I am used to the baseball card world of psa 7 or 8. So what currency grade is equivalent to that? Is there more than 1 grading company? Most recommended? Thx


  • TookybanditTookybandit Posts: 3,276 ✭✭✭
    edited October 30, 2017 5:56PM

    Small size $500's and $1,000's were only issued in the series years of 1928 and 1934 so that will help narrow down your search. Can't help you on the grading scale vs. sports cards.

    Green seal $1's started in 1963 so you will have to choose a red or blue seal example.

    Small size green seal $2's started in 1976 so if you want all the color seals to match just nix that denomination.

    PCGS Currency is considered the premier third party grading company. PMG is also a good choice.

  • VintagemanEdVintagemanEd Posts: 696 ✭✭✭

    When you say small size does that mean the size we use today?

  • VintagemanEdVintagemanEd Posts: 696 ✭✭✭

    So what is the grade that if you look at it for 5 seconds it is really nice then upon closer examination you see the flaws? That is kind of what a psa 8 is in sportscards I would say

  • I believe that a PSA 7/8 would equate close to the currency grade of VF30 to XF45. Currency grades are from the low single digits (2-8) as about good/good all the way up to 70. Most premium graded notes fall into the 60's range (uncirculated), then on down from there. I'm no expert, but depending on your budget, I would recommend small size notes (yes the size of today's notes). And as before mentioned, the 1934 series would be a good starting point, with Federal Reserve Notes (FRN's or Green Seals). Within the same era is the United States Notes (USN's or Legal Tenders) as well as the Silver Certificates (Blue Seal). But keep in mind that the FRN's went to the $1,000 note, the others did not. Now if your budget isn't limited, you could make an attempt at putting a set together of the large size notes (late 1800's thru the early 1900's). But some of those can get quite pricey without being a better grade. Just my 2¢ worth as it is. Good luck!

  • VintagemanEdVintagemanEd Posts: 696 ✭✭✭

    Good info.... so it sounds like the FRN of 1934 is a good starting point even though I can't get the small size $2 bill. Are there green or blue seals or any other variations in 1934 FRNotes?

  • mainejoemainejoe Posts: 242 ✭✭

    If you're intrigued and want to put a set together, yes, start with the 1934 Federal Reserve Notes. Pick a series (34,A,B,C, or D) and work on putting the complete series set together ($5-$1,000). The fill in denomination(s) would be the 1935 $1 silver certificates (as the $1 note) and the 1928 $2 Legal Tender (Red Seal, as the $2 note). Then at some point if you are inclined, fill in with the 1934 series $5 and $10 Silver Certificates (which are also in many series, 1934, A,B,C, and D). I would suggest that some literature be gotten before jumping into this adventure. The old saying of "a little knowledge can go along way" does work well in this instance. I myself would suggest the K/P Standard Guide to Small-Size U.S. Paper Money 10th Edition. You can find them online most anywhere, new or used. Even try a local book store or coin/currency shop. That book gives great reference even being aged (so don't put heavy stock in some of the price guide), but use it to guide you in your search for what you may be looking for.

  • sellitstoresellitstore Posts: 982 ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 30, 2017 5:05AM

    1934 FRNs or 1928 FRNs are the only two series of small size issued in all denominations from $5 to $1000. All of these have green seals. 1928 and 1934 dated $1s and $2 are not FRNs and will have blue or red seals (silver certificates and legal tender or US notes). No FRNs were printed in the $1 denomination until 1963 and the $2 until 1976.

    It is important to note that series 1928 and series 1934 notes probably weren't printed and released in those years but somewhat later. Unlike coins, dates on currency are not changed every year. A series date is the year that series started and the series isn't changed until there is a significant design modification or change in signatures. A letter is added or advanced when a signature change occurs. Series 1934 dates weren't changed until 1950 when the design was modified, so there are no FRNs dated between 1934 and 1950 but rather 1934, 1934A, 1934B, 1934C and 1934D notes issued during this period. Similarly 1928, 1928A and 1928B notes were printed and issued during the 1928-34 period.

    There are a few exceptions where earlier series notes continued to be printed and distributed after the new series was released, but dates on these notes don't correspond with years of production as they do on coins.

    Collector and dealer in obsolete currency. Always buying all obsolete bank notes and scrip. Ebay listings
  • VintagemanEdVintagemanEd Posts: 696 ✭✭✭

    This is great info. Thank you all. Now this leads to the next question.... for 1928 and 1934 do the series go beyond D? Then which series is the most desireable desirable and from what year? Is one year or series seem to increase in value more? Again not knowing anything about this I would think that currency of this time period would have steadily been increasing in value? And would remain a solid investment as well?

  • TookybanditTookybandit Posts: 3,276 ✭✭✭
    edited October 30, 2017 5:54PM

    Collect what you like. "Investing" will be a crapshoot, what's hot today may not be hot 5-10 yrs from now. The series, denomination, SN block, the district (on Feds), print run, plate numbers, and condition (circulation, centering, registration), will all be factors that determine what a note is worth. Buy some reference books, dig in, and enjoy the ride! Collecting currency is a ton of fun. :)

  • synchrsynchr Posts: 780 ✭✭✭

    CU 60 or above

  • gnatgnat Posts: 545 ✭✭✭

    For the most common 1934 or 1928 series notes Ch.CU 63PPQ/EPQ or higher would be the absolute minimum grade you should consider. Grading is a very different game for currency than sports cards.

    Any Uncirculated note below a 63 is likely one with issues and unless very scarce or rare, you should avoid.

    For high denominations, AU58PPQ/EPQ can present a good value and great look for a reasonable price.

  • boimre1972boimre1972 Posts: 758 ✭✭✭

    @VintagemanEd said:
    When you say small size does that mean the size we use today?


    Collecting small-size star notes.
    Mishawaka, IN
  • ParlousJoeParlousJoe Posts: 242 ✭✭✭

    There is only the 1934 "Funnyback" and 1934 Star "Funnyback" Notes in the Silver Certificate $1 dollar denomination. The lower graded star notes aren't too bad price wise but anything uncirculated it will cost you a good sum more just like anything else actually.. The "Funnyback's" start in 1928 Red Seal only, so these are a little costly, 1928 Blue Seal plain, A, B, C, D, E and go up to 1934. This is the series I like to collect and the 1899 Black Eagle $1 Large Note and the 1923 Horseblanket $1 notes plus the series starting in $1 Silver Certificate 1935 up to 1957, A & B. The best thing you can do to help yourself out is to buy a currency book so you know what exactly you would like to collect and the prices of each note that you would like to collect plus also watch the auction sites so you know about what the notes are selling around.

  • VintagemanEdVintagemanEd Posts: 696 ✭✭✭

    I appreciate all of this..... I am looking at a $500 FRN from 1934-A...... BA Block graded PMG 50....... what is the equivilant to that grade if it was PCGS graded? And back to my comparison before what does this 50 equal in Baseball card grades? Psa 5-6?
    Lastly, how has a bill of this denomination and grade performed over the last 10 Year’s in the market?

  • TookybanditTookybandit Posts: 3,276 ✭✭✭
    edited December 8, 2017 12:00PM

    PMG notes often will not cross over at the same grade to PCGS Currency holders. At an AU range there will not generally be a massive swing from one brand to the other. However, PCGS Currncy tends to be more conservative. Every note is different, the note you are looking at may cross at the same grade and it may downgrade.

    Cards and notes are completely different animals both on a totally different grading scale. Just start fresh and learn currency grading.

    $500's are extremely common especially on NY and Chicago. These boom and bust over time. They are always available in mass quantity. Buy one if you want one and enjoy it, but don't buy an example just because you hope it will appreciate in value.

  • gnatgnat Posts: 545 ✭✭✭

    @VintagemanEd said:
    I am looking at a $500 FRN from 1934-A...... BA Block graded PMG 50.......
    Lastly, how has a bill of this denomination and grade performed over the last 10 Year’s in the market?

    As Tooky indicated, these are VERY common and I would not expect to see any appreciation in value (you might even lose money).

    If you are set on getting one, get an AU that is either PPQ or EPQ.

  • VintagemanEdVintagemanEd Posts: 696 ✭✭✭

    So if the $500 FRN’s from 1934 are fairly common what high grade is uncommon and more rare. Is that 63 and up?

  • synchrsynchr Posts: 780 ✭✭✭
    edited May 1, 2018 6:52AM

    @Tookybandit said:
    PMG notes often will not cross over at the same grade to PCGS Currency holders. At an AU range there will not generally be a massive swing from one brand to the other. However, PCGS Currncy tends to be more conservative.

    Three to 5 years ago I would completely agree with the statement above, but not in the last two years - it has been dead even or possibly PMG is slightly more conservative.

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