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First banknote for 7 year old's collection?


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I am not a numismatic hobbyist, but my son has been an avid collector of coins and fan of American history for two years. This year he had only one thing on his list for Santa, which was a dollar bill from 1776. However, after I pointed out that Santa might not be able to afford gifts for other kids if his wish were granted, he changed his wish to "a bill from under the date 1920."


I wonder if you could offer some advice on a modestly-priced (maybe $20-$30?) banknote that would fulfill his wish, and how to start off finding it? We are located in the Bronx, NY.


This is my first post on this forum so please excuse me if I break some convention!


Thank you so much for your time and help! I have Santa's reputation to uphold!


Yours truly,


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A nice, crisp $2 bill!




Reasons why:


1) It shows the 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence

2) You can find it at some banks and all coin stores.

3) They are still considered legal tender!

4) You will always find one in new condition

5) Even if it is decades old! (which means you can find older, more historic varieties.

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Hello Jean and welcome to CoinPeople. I'm glad that your son is so interested in coins and American History. There are no dollar bills from 1776, and other types of notes from that era are probably not appropriate for his collection. I'm wondering if you have ever seen Bureau of Engraving and Printing Souvenir Cards. They are commemorative cards created by BEP for special Coin and Stamp conventions and such. They're reasonably priced and most are printed in intaglio printing - the same as US currency and from the original dies. Here are a few examples that might be of interest as gifts for him.



B061 ANA 1983 by UGotaHaveArt, on Flickr



B119 ILNA 1988 by UGotaHaveArt, on Flickr


Each card is approx. 8x10 inches and on heavy fabric based paper. They can be found at most coin dealers and on the internet at ebay and some specialty dealers. Here are some links that you might find helpful.


Link to Art's Souvenir Card Collection


Ken Barr's online store for Souvenir Cards. He's a super person to deal with.


If you go to ebay and just type in "BEP Souvenir Cards" as search criteria, you'll find a bunch of them.


ALSO: I have a giveaway going on for some very nice Uncirculated world banknotes - Ghana, Peru, and Dominican Republic. Send me a pm with your son's name and mailing info and I'll send him a few.

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Other picks may include:


A British halfpenny from the 1770s - they also circulated in the colonies and in lower grade (with readable date) can be had for $10 or less.


Spanish colonial 1700s reale or two reale - again, coins that were used in the colonial US. A bit more expensive here, perhaps $10-20 for a well worn example, but definitely good value for age and history.

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Thank you so much for your helpful suggestions! I have certainly come to the right place!


In fact, my son longed for a $2 bill for months, got a nice crisp one, and treasures it.


The BEP Souvenir cards are fascinating and I think he'd really like the beautiful engraving. Same with the halfpenny or reales. He'd love them all.

Maybe as a birthday present!


But last year Santa got a huge boost in credibility after coming through with an unexpected silver half-dollar, and I'd like to see if he can pull off one last miracle. I just did some looking around on eBay, and saw some fractional currency from the 1860s-1870s for sale, running around $20 or less for some ragged but legible specimens. Would these be for real? Fortunately my son is not hung up on condition, and anything old and elaborate makes him happy. He likes to think about the designs on the money, who held it, and what it was spent on. I would not get him anything of real value yet, because he's still a little kid.


He had his interest in the 1776 banknote (I guess not a $1 bill after all) because he went to a fair and saw some sort of Revolutionary War currency on display there (I didn't look closely but he was hanging out there for a while.) Coins and currency are quite a hobby with him... he persuaded us to visit the Federal Reserve last year, and has been collecting coins of the world from friends and family. I also got him a couple of penny albums and he has been busily filling them up back to the early 1900s.


Art, thank you heaps for your kind offer! I will PM you soon... it may be an exciting Christmas!

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Yes, fractional notes in lower grade are quite affordable.


Of note - in the 50s and 60s there were some cereal box giveaways / promos that included replica colonial currency made on paper that was made to look aged. Usually $1-2 when available.

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i believe it would be better something original than a copy

one day he might get disappointed to know something he loved and 'trusted' so much was just a replica or a copy - it's my opinion :)


maybe pair a real not expensive piece with some replica (telling him about it) just for knowledge and learning


his dreams wont get spoiled, he learns certain things cannot be bought (unless we are rich, or if we are old enough) and he enjoys the reality for what it is



if i mishunderstood, forgive me, i'm slow to understand and english is not my language


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