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Standard Catalog of World Paper Money (General vs. Special)


SammyT
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I'm new to currency collecting and am looking for a reference book to assist me in identification and valuation of notes. I primarily collect WWI and WWII era currency consisting of World currency, Allied Military Currency and Japanese Invasion Money. A few members here have suggested I pick up a copy of Standard Catalog of World Paper Money to assist me, however, I see that there are several additions of this book. Two in particular are the SCWPM General issue and the SCWPM Special issue. Can anyone tell me what the difference is between these two books as well as give a recommendation on which one would best suit my collecting needs? Thanks.

 

Sammy T.

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Hi Sammy T – Welcome to the forums!

 

Short answer – you might want both catalogs, but start with the General catalog.

 

Long answer - The Catalog of specialized issues is meant for just that – special issues. In other words, you won’t find the 1950 issues of US Federal Reserve Notes in there – they're normal issues from the government, or accepted issuing authority. For example, you would find (some) issues from state banks in the 1800’s listed in there though.

 

For what you want, the general catalog should suffice for now. The one thing you might want to consider though is Philippine Emergency and Guerrilla money, which is in the Specialized Issues catalog. The wartime issues from the Philippine government before and after the Japanese invasion are in the General issues catalog. And since it was issued by the governing body (I’m assuming here) the Japanese Invasion Money is listed in the General Issues catalog… that said, Allied Military Currency issued in Germany is in the General Catalog as well as Japanese issued and AMC issues. WWI issues follow the same line.

 

Now the good news – Unless you are looking for an up to date price guide catalog, you should order an older book – used is fine. It will save you lots of money. The reason for this is that the General catalog (and for the most part the Specialized too) is dealing with older notes, and there is no reason to have an ‘updated’ catalog, as the General catalog only goes to the year 1960 anyway. Prices in catalogs are usually too high or too low, and most of us check prices from auctions and places like Ebay to see what the ‘going price’ is. As for pricing, the catalogs may get you into the ballpark, but not necessarily into the bleachers.

 

Though it’s wonderfully convenient to have your own catalog, until you do, remember that you can ask us here as well, and we’ll help you out as best we can.

 

Hope this helps you out! Good luck!

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Thanks so much Dave! That really was informative and helped me out a lot. I'll have to look around for some used copies... a new copy of the special issue was like $90 at Barnes & Noble and I dont even think it was the most current issue. I'll definitely look for some used ones. Thanks again for the advice.

 

Sammy T.

 

Go Seahawks!

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