Caring for Your Paper Money Collection (2023)

Paper money, especially older issues, should be considered fragile and treated accordingly. The proper handling and storage of paper money is not difficult, and will maintain the notes' natural condition (and value). Appropriate care also helps to preserve them for future collectors, perhaps those in your own family.

Handling Paper Money

Caring for Your Paper Money Collection (1)

A large-size note is placed into a clear page of an archival-quality currency album using white cotton gloves.

(Video) 5 Tips on how to protect your rare paper money & valuable currency!

Many paper money collectors use soft cotton gloves when handling their paper money. This protects the surface of the note from fingerprints and natural oils in fingers or palms that can be damaging to the notes over time. Also, notes should be placed in clear, inert currency holders or albums. A variety of paper money holders and albums are available from Littleton for easy viewing and examination of both sides of a note without actual handling.

(Video) DIY BANKNOTES COLLECTION ALBUM - How to make your own currency album for storing paper money

It's strongly advised that you don't attempt to "clean" a note or use an eraser on it. Also, don't try to repair any tears with cellophane tape – that will damage the note and reduce its collectible appeal more than the original tear itself.

Storing Paper Money

Caring for Your Paper Money Collection (2)

(Video) How to Properly Store Paper Currency/Money and Other Important Documents

Littleton's exclusive 20‑page paper money album will hold up to 70 large- or small-size notes

Caring for Your Paper Money Collection (3)

(Video) Best Supplies for Protecting & Storing Banknotes - Banknote Sheets

Our Small-Size Currency Portfolio holds your U.S. & world notes

High humidity, air pollution, salt air, and temperature extremes can sometimes interfere with the storage of paper money. It is best to store notes flat in protective holders or albums, and to keep them in an area of relatively uniform temperature and humidity, out of direct sunlight.

Protect your growing collection
with our Paper Money supplies!

(Video) Paper Money Collecting & Investing: A Primer on US Large Sized Notes - Numismatics Market Analysis


How do you take care of old paper money? ›

Keep any paper cash, currency, and valuable paper records locked in a quality, humidity-controlled, fire-resistant safe. If you have valuables such as paper cash or other important/sensitive documents, you absolutely need to invest in a quality safe with UL-rated security and certified fire protection.

How do you store money so it doesn't mold? ›

The main thing is to keep the money in a cool, dry place. You must ensure that your money is in a place with low humidity, as the recommended humidity is between 45 and 55%. The notes must not be exposed to direct sunlight.

How long can you store paper money? ›

How long is the lifespan of U.S. paper money?
DenominationEstimated Lifespan*
$16.6 years
$54.7 years
$105.3 years
$207.8 years
3 more rows
Mar 9, 2020

How to safely store cash at home? ›

Just like any other piece of paper, cash can get lost, wet or burned. Consider buying a fireproof and waterproof safe for your home. It's also useful for storing other valuables in your home such as jewelry and important personal documents.

Will banks take old paper money? ›

Banks that allow you to exchange paper notes will generally allow you to deposit the money into the account that you hold with them. Banks and building societies happy to exchange the old notes include Halifax, Lloyds, Nationwide, Barclays and HSBC - though keep in mind they may have a cut-off date.

Why do people wrap money in plastic? ›

Why do they Saran Wrap money? In addition to being non-destructive when used as banknote packaging, the plastic wrap has other benefits. You can write on it, you can see through it and it can be removed with a simple bag slicing tool that is inexpensive, safe and will not damage the banknotes.

Where should I store money so it grows? ›

The Best Places to Save Money
  • High Yield Savings Accounts.
  • Certificates of Deposit.
  • Traditional Savings Accounts.
  • Money Market Accounts.
  • Treasury Bills and Bonds.
  • Retirement Savings Accounts.
Nov 8, 2022

Can you vacuum seal cash? ›

Vacuum packaging is an efficient way to keep your money, banknotes and other valuable documents safe and to make storage and transport easier and traceable. Choosing the right vacuum sealer for money depends on your packaging needs in terms of quantity and frequency.

What should I store my money in? ›

  • Savings Accounts.
  • High-Yield Savings Accounts.
  • Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
  • Money Market Funds.
  • Money Market Deposit Accounts.
  • Treasury Bills and Notes.
  • Bonds.

Is the freezer a good place to hide money? ›

Take advantage of your kitchen for hiding money. The freezer is one of the safest places for that. Put your money inside an ice cream container and stack it there, tape an envelope with money behind the refrigerator or any other appliance.

How much paper money should I keep in my wallet? ›

Carry $100 to $300

“We would recommend between $100 to $300 of cash in your wallet, but also having a reserve of $1,000 or so in a safe at home,” Anderson says.

Is paper money worth collecting? ›

Paper bills, or “fiat” money, also have no intrinsic value; their worth is determined solely through supply and demand, and they are declared legal tender by government decree. The most important element that separates one national currency from another is its value.

What is the maximum amount of cash you can keep at home? ›

According to the rules, there is no limit for keeping cash at home. But it is necessary that whatever cash is available with you, you should have a complete account of it. Where did that cash come from and what is the source. If you have a large amount of cash, then tax should be paid on it.

Should I keep large amounts of cash at home? ›

From a security point of view, cash is the most insecure asset you can have. Keeping it to a minimum in the house in the case of fire or theft is a good rule of thumb, said Ryan McCarty, CFP from McCarty Money Matters.

Where is the safest place to hide cash? ›

Here are the Top 10 secret hiding places for money we've found:
  • The Tank. There's plenty of room in the toilet's water tank for a jar or some other watertight container stuffed with cash or jewelry. ...
  • The Freezer. ...
  • The Pantry. ...
  • The Bookshelves. ...
  • Under the Floorboards. ...
  • Old Suitcases. ...
  • Closets. ...
  • Bureaus.
Jan 9, 2023

Can banks take washed money? ›

Soiled, mutilated or imperfect currency notes are not useless. Such notes can be exchanged by any bank branch or Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issue office on the condition that they are not fake. Importantly, notes on which religious or political slogans are written cease to be legal tender and are not exchangeable.

Can you destroy paper money? ›

In the United States, burning banknotes is prohibited under 18 U.S.C. § 333: Mutilation of national bank obligations, which includes "any other thing" that renders a note "unfit to be reissued".

Can I take old money to post office? ›

You may be able to deposit withdrawn notes at your own bank or with the Post Office. Alternatively, you can exchange withdrawn banknotes with selected Post Office branches or with the Bank of England.

Why should we not use paper money? ›

It is easily lost and stolen, and can be easily destroyed by getting wet or burned. It physically wears out in a short time and is costly and troublesome to replace.

What is Russian dirty money? ›

Laundered cash, both foreign and domestic, has become integral to Russia's economy. Whether the money comes from drugs, arms sales, prostitution, or other illegitimate activities, it finances banks, keeps state industries afloat, and buys Russian raw materials.

What are the dangers of paper money? ›

Paper currency and coins may be a public health risk when associated with the simultaneous handling of food and could lead to the spread of nosocomial infections. Banknotes recovered from hospitals may be highly contaminated by Staphylococcus aureus. Salmonella species, Escherichia coli and S.

Where do rich people store their cash? ›

Where do millionaires keep their money? High net worth individuals put money into different classifications of financial and real assets, including stocks, mutual funds, retirement accounts and real estate. There were 24.5 million millionaires in the U.S. in 2022. And only 21% of them inherited money.

Where can I put my money instead of a bank? ›

  • Higher-Yield Money Market Accounts.
  • Certificates of Deposit.
  • Credit Unions and Online Banks.
  • High-Yield Checking Accounts.
  • Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Lending Services.

Where is the smartest place to keep your money? ›

The best places to save money and earn interest include high-yield savings accounts, interest-bearing checking accounts, money market accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), and Treasury savings bond accounts.

Why do people vacuum pack money? ›

Why vacuum pack banknotes and documents? Vacuum packaging is an efficient way to keep your money, banknotes and other valuable documents safe and to make storage and transport easier and traceable. Choosing the right vacuum sealer for money depends on your packaging needs in terms of quantity and frequency.

Why do you wrap money? ›

Currency vacuum packaging

Vacuum packing is the most reliable and effective way of storing currency, which is protected against tarnishing, e.g. from moisture and dirt. Vacuum-packed banknotes also take up less space in containers used for transportation. Currency units are vacuum packed using a vacuum sealer.

Can cash get ruined? ›

Currency notes can become mutilated in any number of ways. The most common causes are fire, water, chemicals, and explosives; animal, insect, or rodent damage; and petrification or deterioration by burying.

What to do with money sitting in the bank? ›

What to do with extra cash
  1. Pay off debt. If you have a significant amount of debt, consider putting your extra money toward paying that down or off. ...
  2. Boost your emergency fund. ...
  3. Increase your investment contributions. ...
  4. Invest in yourself. ...
  5. Consider the timing. ...
  6. Go ahead and treat yourself.

What is the most money you should keep in a bank? ›

Most financial experts end up suggesting you need a cash stash equal to six months of expenses: If you need $5,000 to survive every month, save $30,000.

Why do people hide money in mattresses? ›

They stash their money in a hiding spot in their homes. During the Great Depression (and for centuries prior), hiding money under mattresses, in sock drawers, or in other hiding places around the house was perfectly normal. After all, before FDIC security was in place, if a bank went under, your cash went with it!

What is the 50 20 30 rule? ›

For those who don't know, the 50-30-20 budget plan is an American concept that seeks to save money and budget your money smartly. After taxes, your income should be divided into: 50% on essential needs; 30% on wants; and 20% on paying off your debt or setting aside funds in case of an emergency.

How much cash should you keep at home for emergency? ›

How much should you save? While the size of your emergency fund will vary depending on your lifestyle, monthly costs, income, and dependents, the rule of thumb is to put away at least three to six months' worth of expenses.

How much does the average person have in savings? ›

The average amount of personal savings in the U.S.

According to the Northwestern Mutual Planning and Progress Survey for 2022, the average amount of personal savings in 2022 came in at $62,000. This is a considerable decrease from the $73,000 average amount of personal savings reported on the same survey in 2021.

How much is a $2 bill worth? ›

An estimated price list published by US Currency Auctions suggests that some $2 bills may be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars. According to the aforementioned company, the dollars that are still in circulation have a variable average value that oscillates between $2 and $2,500, depending on the year.

Can paper money lose value? ›

Because fiat money is not linked to physical reserves, it risks losing value due to inflation or even becoming worthless in the event of hyperinflation. When people lose faith in a nation's currency, the money will no longer be of any value.

How do I know if my paper money is valuable? ›

Low Serial Number

The lower the serial number, the more valuable the currency is considered to be; a bill with the serial number 00000001 could be worth $15,000, according to

How much is too much cash in savings? ›

In the long run, your cash loses its value and purchasing power. Another red flag that you have too much cash in your savings account is if you exceed the $250,000 limit set by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) — obviously not a concern for the average saver.

How much cash can you out in the bank at once? ›

Checking Withdrawal Limits
BankDaily ATM LimitDaily Debit Limit
Bank of America$1,000 or 60 individual bills$5,000
Capital One$5,000 for most accounts$5,000 for most accounts
4 more rows
Dec 16, 2022

Is there a cost to holding too much cash? ›

One of the most significant adverse effects of holding excess cash is paying more interest on debt than is necessary. If you have stockpiles of cash and outstanding, high-interest debt balances, you have too much cash on hand.

How much cash should I keep in my cash drawer? ›

Though the exact amount might vary from business to business, make sure to have cash, sometimes referred to as petty cash, on-hand in the morning. For a small business, $100 to $150 should be more than enough. A good rule of thumb is to keep at least $20 in five-dollar bills and $20 in one-dollar bills.

Where do burglars not look? ›

Your attic is not likely to be visited by a burglar because they are usually hard to find and access. So, it is always a good idea to store valuables in attic storage containers. As an extra safety precaution make sure to mark them with labels like “winter clothes” or “old shoes” to throw a burglar off of your scent.

Where is the safest place to put a large amount of money? ›

U.S. Treasury securities, such as Treasury bills, notes and bonds, are considered to be among the safest investments because they are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government,” Boothe said.

Where not to hide money in your house? ›

Hiding Places to Avoid:
  1. areas that can damage your valuables with water or invasive matter, such as the water tank of a toilet, inside a mayonnaise jar that still has mayonnaise in it, or a paint can filled with paint. ...
  2. a jewelry box. ...
  3. your desk drawer, bedside drawer, or underwear drawer. ...
  4. inside CD cases.

Is it okay to wash paper money? ›

If you want to launder your money, soap and water is best, the Bank of Canada says. “If you want to take additional safety precautions, you can clean your polymer bank notes with a bit of soap and water since they are resistant to moisture,” bank spokeswoman Amelie Ferron-Craig said.

How long can bacteria live on paper money? ›

Paper money can reportedly carry more germs than a household toilet. And bills are a hospitable environment for gross microbes: viruses and bacteria can live on most surfaces for about 48 hours, but paper money can reportedly transport a live flu virus for up to 17 days. It's enough to make you switch to credit.

Are old bills worth keeping? ›

Worn bills could be worth $100 or more for $20 bills, $250 or more for $50 bills, $1,000 or more for $100 bills, $2,500 or more for $500 bills, and $2,000 or more for $1,000 bills. Confederate Issues are bills issued during the Civil War (1861-1865). They are typically not sought by collectors.

What does blue ink on money mean? ›

The ink on these banknotes is from anti-theft devices, also known as intelligent banknote neutralisation systems (IBNSs), which are activated when criminals open a protected cash container, such as an ATM or a safe in a cash transportation vehicle.

How do you clean dirty paper? ›

Vulcanized natural rubber sponges can be very useful when cleaning paper. Sponges are more effective than brushes, but have greater potential for damage. They are not as effective or abrasive as plastic erasers. Suitable sponges are available from several archival supply companies.

Why do people wash money with water? ›

The money normally comes from activities like drug and sex trafficking, terrorist activities, and other illicit means. It is considered dirty and is laundered to make it look like it came from a legal source(s). Money laundering is a serious crime that carries heavy penalties, including jail time.

Why we should not have paper money? ›

Paper currency is dirty and is a major transmitter of disease as it goes from unwashed hand to unwashed hand. It is easily lost and stolen, and can be easily destroyed by getting wet or burned. It physically wears out in a short time and is costly and troublesome to replace.

Can you clean money with vinegar? ›

Here's our surefire way to clean tarnished coins: In a plastic container like those for storing your leftover foods or a small child sized bucket, add 1 cup of white vinegar and soak 4-5 coins in it. The longer you leave them to soak, the better the effect of the vinegar will be.

Should I wash my hands after touching money? ›

When paying with banknotes and coins, pathogens like E. coli and salmonella can be transferred as you never know who has touched the money before. Make sure you always give your hands a good scrub after handling cash to avoid bacterial contamination.

Can paper money be washed in washing machine? ›

How to Clean Paper Money. While it's not very practical to clean each and every dollar bill you come into contact with, it is possible. "Paper bills can be washed in the gentle cycle of your washing machine using cold water," says Bell.

Can you get sick from touching dirty money? ›

For example, if you touch the money, then touch someone else's hand, you can spread the germs to them. Or if you touch dirty money and then touch a door knob, elevator button, or the touchscreen at the ATM, you could also spread infection.


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