A misprinted $5 bill with upside-down serial numbers and a $1 bill with double serial numbers are on display at the 2023 National Money Show, hosted by the American Numismatic Association at the Phoenix Convention Center on March 2, 2023. (Photo by Lydia Curry/Cronkite News)
PHOENIX – The 2023 National Money Show, hosted by the American Numismatic Association, brings hundreds of millions of dollars worth of rare coins and paper money to the Valley through Saturday.
Collectors and curators have come together at the Phoenix Convention Center for a weekend of history through currency.
Some of the coins date back all the way to 1796, and others are simply misprinted, with upside-down serial numbers or different amounts printed on each side.
Show spokesperson Donn Pearlman explained that paper bills are printed three times.
“They run it through a third time to print the serial numbers and Federal Reserve location on the right,” Pearlman said. “So there’s three chances to screw things up.”
The U.S. Mint brought its own collection to the show. The agency is in charge of printing the country’s money, creating Congressional medals and more.
On Thursday, the U.S. Mint dropped its 2023 American Eagle $1 coin. It retails for $80.
Ventris C. Gibson, the director of the U.S. Mint and the first African American woman in the role, was at the show Thursday signing autographs for avid coin collectors.
“We produce 1.2 billion coins per month,” Gibson said. “We have a rich history, and through 1,700 employees, we deliver all of these services, and they are phenomenal people.”
National bank notes were a precursor to the United State’s modern currency. They were issued by the federal government and were generally accepted for nearly all forms of payment. According to ANA, the national banking system ended in 1935, and the notes are now collectibles, with some featured at the Phoenix show.
In addition to featured items at the show – including a 1913 Liberty Head nickel insured for $3 million – the event features notes and coins on display from Arizona collectors.
Ben Weinstein, nicknamed “The Coin Geek,” owns Old Pueblo Coin in Tucson.
“Arizona notes usually are anywhere from $500 to $5,000. And some of them are really expensive beyond that,” Weinstein said. “The banks from the Western states are really rare because there were less people. … Most of the banks didn’t print as much money.”
The Tucson booth also displayed a paper bill salvaged from the SS Andrea Doria, which sank in 1956 about 300 miles east of New York. Weinstein said salvaging paper money from shipwrecks is rare, and the $1 note is on sale for $300.
It’s not all coins: Tom French, a vendor at the show, has been buying and selling political memorabilia since 1968.
“I tried to sell things that are interesting that aren’t coins,” French said. “Tokens and medals, presidential campaign buttons going back to the 1890s … just fun stuff.”
On display at French’s booth Thursday was an Abraham Lincoln tintype, dating back to his 1864 presidential campaign. Tintypes are a type of old photograph and circulated in the 19th century like political buttons do today.
Mark Balch browsed coins at the Old Pueblo Coin booth and said that it was his first time attending a big ANA show. “It’s just great to be able to learn and meet people and be part of it.”