Paper money question with probably obvious answer...

Discussion in 'Paper Money' started by ewomack, Jan 25, 2020.

  1. ewomack

    ewomack Senior Member Supporter

    My knowledge of coins far surpasses my knowledge of paper money, so sorry for any potentially annoying newbie questions.

    I have a small pile of $1 - $2 US notes ranging from 1953, through the 1960s and 1970s. The problem is, most of them have numerous signs of circulation such as folds, wrinkles, one or two torn corners and one or two pen marks. Among them are 2 red seal 1953 $2 with Monticello backs (which appear to be very common) and a few 1957 silver certificates (which also appear very common). Taking all of them as a whole, only a very few of the older bills probably deserve the description "good condition." Most would fall between "circulated" and "heavily circulated."

    Is it fair to assume that these have little to no value beyond face? Are they just spending money? Is there anything in particular in that time frame that I should look for, just in case? Errors, rare printings, etc.? Otherwise, would some of you just reintroduce these back into circulation? Or just cash them at a bank? I will probably keep a few just because, but I don't think I need all of them.
     
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  3. TheFinn

    TheFinn Well-Known Member

    They are spenders, and work great for tips.
     
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  4. mpcusa

    mpcusa "Official C.T. TROLL SWEEPER"

    Since condition is key, i would say most are spenders, if you care to post
    the best ones will be more then happy to help you out :)
     
    ewomack likes this.
  5. ewomack

    ewomack Senior Member Supporter

    Based on what I found online, and the answers here so far, these bills appear to be nothing more than spenders, which is amazing when considering the relative purchasing power of $1 in 1935 versus $1 today. The 1935 silver certificate I have will purchase a lot less for me now than it would have for the person who put it aside some 85 years ago, regardless of condition. Strange that putting aside such bills appears to be a very losing proposition in the end. The lesson seems to be to spend bills as soon as possible because, not having any inherent value, they will just lose value over time. This doesn't hold for all bills, of course, but it seems to apply to the vast majority of bills from the 1920s to the present.
     
  6. SteveInTampa

    SteveInTampa Always Learning

    Not everyone collects with ROI in mind.
     
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  7. ewomack

    ewomack Senior Member Supporter

    Of course not, and I wasn't trying to imply that. I am still going to save a few of these bills for sentimental reasons, especially since they have only face value. I am more amazed at the diminished purchasing power of an 85 year old $1 bill. I totally get why people would still collect these bills - they have quite a bit of aesthetic appeal as well.

    Having been a coin collector for many years I'm completely familiar with the concept of not collecting for ROI.
     
  8. PlanoSteve

    PlanoSteve Well-Known Member

    @ewomack, this:

    For those who collect for the future eventuality of "making money", then these are spenders.

    But for someone who collects for the joy of having a 1935 silver cert. in the collection, then this is a keeper.

    Remember, your collection is what you like, what gives you pleasure to own.

    Your comment:

    seems to imply that you collect based on what others think.

    And:
    What lesson? o_O

    JMO; collect what you like. ;)
     
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  9. ewomack

    ewomack Senior Member Supporter

    That really doesn't follow at all. I have no idea where you're getting that based on that comment. I searched online to find out the value, and the value only, of these bills. I am only asking about value. Not to mention that you're basing that presumptuous comment on a single quote from my well over 1,000 posts on this forum.

    To repeat, my question was around value from the start. I actually said nothing about collecting. I didn't ask about whether I should collect old bills or not, or whether someone should or shouldn't collect what they like, nor did I even imply that the value of a piece should determine whether or not it should be collected. I was asking about value alone, because I personally don't find a lot of gratification in keeping $100 worth of wrinkled, folded bills around, but if I could sell them for more than face value I would. Nonetheless, I am still keeping some of them for sentimental value.

    My comments about "lessons" and such were based on the topic of value, not on collecting. The deterioration of the value of money over time fascinates me and the plummeting purchasing power of an 85-year old bill shocked me a little. That's all. I fully realize that people collect even valueless things. I certainly have some. I've been around this board long enough, there is no need to lecture me about the various philosophies of collecting.
     
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  10. Troodon

    Troodon Coin Collector

    Haven't bothered to post in this thread before now because most of what I would have said has already been said by someone else lol. (Happens a lot on this board. Great minds think alike I guess?) But my 2 cents for what it's worth:

    Yeah value-wise, in the condition you describe they're probably only worth face value as most collectors wouldn't touch them unless they were particularly rare. Were it me, I'd keep some of them (as I see you say you intend to) but spending the excess could be a fun conversation starter, possibly even get someone new in the hobby. I know at a coin store I went to in Newtown, PA when I was 10, the owner just put his excess of older bills and coins not worth significantly over face value into the cash drawer and gave them out as change. Getting some of these really helped maintain my interest in the hobby, and I credit this owner (whose name I wish I knew) with the fact that coin collecting became a life long hobby for me and not just a fad I would have outgrown. So there's that... plus I do this sometimes too because it's fun to see people's reaction (I used to get half dollars buy the roll, keep the best ones and spend the excess; it's amazing how many people don't know that half dollars are still made, and a few cashiers have never seen a half dollar ever!).

    So I say, keep a handful of the most interesting ones and find opportune moments to spend the rest.
     
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  11. SteveInTampa

    SteveInTampa Always Learning

    If I understand the OP, the discussion is about inflation.
    Money is basically lazy. You have to put it to work. Giving money an extended vacation sitting in a SDB or stuffed in a mattress is a sure way to deteriorate its value.
     
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