I always find it so amazing when I look at older banknotes (some even older than me – I know hard to believe) to think that at some time; pre cell phones, computers, and even TV (to you younger collectors, yes this time did exist – around the time of dinosaurs I know) that people went out to work every day to earn the money that we are now collecting. They received cash in a wage packet and had to make it last the week (no credit cards either – the dark ages time) so they would take the banknotes they had and use them to pay for food, cloths, rent and other necessities.
I love to think about the world at he time when these notes went into circulation. Just think about how the notes were being spent, and how life was so much different. This is what makes banknote collecting so interesting to me.
For example in 1960 here in the United States:
- an average house cost $12,500
- the average income was $5,315.00 a year (not much change there for me)
- a gallon of gas was 25 cents and by 1969 was 35 cents
- the average cost of new car was $2,600.00 and by 1969 was $3,270.00
- oven ready turkeys: 39 cents per pound
- The Minimum Wage: $1.25
- A gallon of milk: $0.95
The older banknotes not only have historical value, they are aesthetically exquisite and eye-catching to the collector. The depictions and vignettes are just beautiful, this was true workmanship and art. Whilst today’s notes are still beautiful, colorful and interesting, just think of the craftsmanship required to produce these beautiful notes without the aid of much of technology we have today.
I am frequently asked about the value of older notes and receive emails with images of these banknotes that were handed down or discovered in an old trunk in attic. Valuing older banknotes can be a difficult process and maybe the topic for a future blog, however, the one thing I can say is that grade is everything (read our blog on banknote grading). So if you do discover some nice some old notes, once you have learned about the note’s time period and the history of its era, I would suggest that you keep the note is as nice a condition as possible. If the note is UNC (uncirculated) then do not fold them. Of course some notes that are 50 to even 100 years old are not always going to be in pristine condition, but my advice to always try to keep them in the condition you found them and to not lessen the grade in anyway if possible.
Very shortly we are introducing a questions section on the website where you can post questions (and I will do my best to answer them and post them back on the web – if permission is given) and/or send a message to me.
Here are some of my favorite old banknotes which are available on our website. You can also peruse our complete collection of old vintage (pre-1965) banknotes.
As always you can subscribe to my website and you will receive updates and newsletters every two weeks or so.