Many of the World’s Finest-Quality Historical Banknotes


World Banknotes/Argentina El Banco de la Provincia de Buenos Aires 500 Pesos

Pick #S569 Specimen 1883 PMG 66 EPQ (PMG population: the only one in any grade)


Banknotes from Around the World.  This is a museum-quality collection of world banknotes.  This site displays hundreds of world banknotes, many of which are among the finest in existence.  Most of the pieces are scarce, the intaglio printing superb, the colors outstanding, and the grades mostly gem or better.  Dates generally range mostly from 1850 to 1930.


Specimen and Proof Banknotes.  Proofs and specimens were not sent into general circulation.  Proof banknotes were generally test runs for the printing plates and designs; they were mostly single sided and without serial numbers or signatures.  Proofs were also sometimes run to test color options.  Many of the proof banknotes were mounted on cardboard for stability in working their way through the approval process.  The mounted notes often had printers' notations written in pencil on the back side.


Many of the specimens were samples used to check the design and/or colors prior to full printing runs.  Others were sent to central banks to help them recognize the issued banknotes.  Most of the specimen notes had serial numbers that were all zeros.


There are more than 1,000 world banknotes in the collection, and they represent more than 50 countries.  Some of the strongest representations are the old banknotes of China, Mexico, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Cuba.  The world banknotes in this collection were accumulated over decades from private sales and public auctions.


Our banknotes for sale are accessed through the country links shown below.


World Banknotes by Country








Costa Rica





Dominican Republic






Iran (Persia)




El Salvador



Other Countries



Intaglio Printing of World Banknotes.  Intaglio is a printmaking technique in which the image is incised (usually engraved) into a plate (normally copper or zinc).  Banknotes are made by applying ink to the plate and then wiping off the excess from the face, leaving ink only in the engraved spaces.  A damp piece of paper is placed on top, and the plate and paper are run through a printing press that presses the paper into the ink.  The paper then has on it a mirror image of the engravings on the plate.  Intaglio-printed banknotes often have some texture from printing press pressure into the engravings.


The American Bank Note Company Archives.  A significant percentage of the world's banknotes were printed by the American Bank Note Company and its predecessors.  ABNC printed banknotes for the U.S. government (prior to 1874), foreign governments, and private banks.  It also printed stamps, stock and bond certificates, and other materials.  Sale of items from the ABNC archives began in 1990-91.  Three auction houses, Christie's; H.R. Harmer, Inc.; and Stack's, have sold much of the material from the archives.  There is an active aftermarket for items from the archives.


Professional Grading of Banknotes' Condition; Population Reports.  Most of the world banknotes in this collection have been professionally graded by Paper Money Guarantee ("PMG"), an independent paper money grading service headquartered in Sarasota, Florida, and PCGS.  One of the PMG resources is its online world banknote population report on the number and grade of each banknote it has graded.  Many of the world banknotes in this collection represent the finest examples ever professionally graded.



brazil s551Bs 66

venezuela s273s 66



Please also visit,

an introduction & pricing guide to U.S. obsolete currency.


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