Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Paper Money Collecting: Paper Currency in Todays World

It seems that paper money notes as popular as they are with everyone either as a user or as a collector, has one or two real snags. Yes they are lighter than coins, so never had the problem of being to cumbersome to carry around, yet it has become obvious that there are some negative factors to consider. Take the US for example, one of the reasons why the issue of currency got centralized was to help reduce the high rate of counterfeiting that was so rampant. The problem is that counterfeiting is still a big problem today. This is why USA has totally overhauled their currency and continue to do so. The new $5, 10, 20 and 5o notes are a result of this effort. In other countries polymer notes are being introduced.

One thing that amazed me was a police raid a couple of months ago that revealed that a printing outfit that looked like it was solely printing menu's etc for the Chinese restaurant next door in Glasgow, was actually a front for a man who is now known as probably the most notorious counterfeiter in Europe, "Hologram Tam" Thomas McAnea. This outfit could print out near to perfect £20 notes to the tune of £1 million pounds daily. With all the watermarks and security features on our notes some "brilliant" guys are still beating the system.

It is therefore paramount that both the general public and the paper money collector in particular better be very careful, study and know your paper money or you may find yourself in possession of some useless and valueless notes.

Another problem, is found with the commonest notes in any currency, usually the 1 and 5 denomination notes, these get used more often, and therefore their general life span is no more than 2 years. Yet these notes usually never make their way back to the banks, they therefore are not replaced or taken out of circulation as and when due. Instead they get rumpled in our purses or the store tills. Everyone needs these small notes as change of for the odd item. So collectors of current paper money be warned. When you come across new £1 or £5 notes, treat them with respect, keep them safe if you want to. You may find it difficult to find decent ones in the future. The use of polymer notes instead of paper money in some countries recently will help a lot to solve this problem.

Paper money is not heavy like coins are, but as for safe and durable that is another matter, all we can do in the meantime is protect the notes via technology and ourselves through knowledge.

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