What in the World is Notaphily?

[All of the content on BanknoteNews.com has been the creation of myself, working in conjunction with avid collectors and dealers around the globe who graciously submit leads, images, and information. Today I'm pleased to publish the first full-length article contributed by Vincenzo Desroches, Editor in Chief of Forex Charts, the premier resource for all of your foreign exchange chart needs.—Owen W. Linzmayer]

What in the World is Notaphily?

Notaphily is the formal term used to describe banknote collectors. While people have most likely been collecting banknotes since they were first used to pay for goods and services, it wasn’t really considered a separate area of collections until late in the 20th century. Even the systematic collection of banknotes didn’t really begin in earnest until about the 1940s.

One factor in determining the value of a collectors banknote is the quality of the actual paper. Collectors can expect different grades to reflect this quality. These different grades will be compiled into a grading scale. While grading scales can change from one country to the next, expect to find uniformity in the grading scale within a particular country. For example, if you’re trading in the United States, you’ll probably find uniformity in its grading scale. However, you would not expect the grading scale in America to be necessarily the same as that of a European country.

The grading system used in bank note collecting refers to the quality of the specific note the collector has in their possession. However, some people might choose to keep track of the underlying value of the notes that are still being used in commerce. Historical currency rates can be obtained to facilitate this. Whether it is a foreign currency chart that is needed or one for your native currency, seeing the current underlying value of your banknote can be an exciting thing!

Regarding the actual collecting of banknotes, you first have to determine what type of collection you’re going to focus on. Obviously, it is possible to have too broad a collection goal. It’s just not feasible to collect every type of banknote ever produced. Find a category of note that you find interesting, unique or exciting and use that to define your collection parameters. It is always good to ease your way into any collecting process. You may want to begin by picking up notes that are inexpensive. This will give you some experience both in finding different types of banknotes and in purchasing.

For example, you might choose to collect notes from your favorite geographical location (city, country, or continent). Or perhaps your focus isn’t on location as much as it is time periods. You might be the one who chooses to collect World War II era notes, or notes produced in the 19th century. Of course, there are people who enjoy the specific features found on notes. They might enjoy collecting notes with certain security features as part of the design. In storing the notes, maybe you have some limitations that require you to focus on notes with certain dimensions.
As you can imagine, you can spend quite some time trying to define what type of banknote collection you’d like to have!

One of the best places to start is to find a currency gallery and start browsing. This will give you some idea of what type of notes you enjoy looking at. After all, if you can’t enjoy your collection once you get started, what’s the point in collecting?