World Coins & Paper Money

Below you will find answers to many commonly asked numismatic questions that we receive on a regular basis. If you have a question that does not appear below or for more information about the American Numismatic Association, please contact us at ana@money.org or call 1-800-367-9723. Our museum and library staff will be happy to assist you as you discover and explore the world of money.

Depending upon the extent of the research necessary to answer individual questions, a research fee may be required. If a fee is required, our staff will provide you with a cost estimate before conducting research on your behalf.

  • Do coins from other countries hold collector value?

    Just because an item seems rare in the United States, this does not mean that it holds numismatic value above the legal-tender amount in the issuing country. Just like U.S. coinage and currency issues, foreign money holds numismatic value based on rarity and condition. You can ascertain a retail value range from  Standard Catalog of World Coins and the  Standard Catalog of World Paper Money both published by Krause Publications. These sources are often found in libraries and bookstores or you can order them directly from the  Wizardcoinsupply.com. You may also want to consult a local ANA-member dealer for evaluation.

  • What is a Philippine centavo?

    It does seem a bit odd that a coin from an Asian country would bear a denomination that is usually attributed to Spanish countries, but there is an explanation. The Philippines were held by Spain until the end of the 19th century, when the islands were ceded to the United States after the Spanish-American War. However, the monetary system remained unchanged.

    The islands were invaded by Japan during WWII. Originating from this time period we find occupation currency announcing the Japanese government, written in English, but bearing Spanish denominations. Although the Philippines became a self-governing commonwealth of the United States in 1935, monetary reform did not occur until after 1965.

  • My Grandfather left me several 10,000 mark notes from Germany dated 1922. Am I rich?

    Such notes are inflationary currency from the Weimar Republic in Germany after WWI. Due to war reparations, this period in German history is marked by extreme economic depression and high inflation. The high denomination of the notes is evidence of the government's efforts to combat the rampant inflation. Notes were printed in denominations of millions and even billions. While these notes no longer carry legal-tender value, since the Weimar Republic in longer a functioning government, some hold collector value. The  Standard Catalog of World Paper Money; 1901 to Present has an excellent section detailing these issues.

  • What can you tell me about notes from the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp of World War II Germany?

    Theresienstadt (Terezin), a Jewish ghetto created by the Nazis, was located in Czechoslovakia. It was built specifically as a high-profile camp for prominent Jews, WWI veterans and heroes and the wealthy. It also served as a stopover for prisoners on their way to one of the death camps in Poland. Terezin was a "model" ghetto and was designed and maintained to impress the International Red Cross. It was the only concentration camp to allow visitors. The elaborately printed notes, featuring an engraving of Moses, made the money seem quite impressive; in reality the notes were just for show and only good for library rentals.

    Until the early 1970s, the notes issued from this camp were thought to be quite rare and so held a high collector value. However, in 1973 941 complete sets were sold at auction. Also, shortly after WWII, when bulldozing the remains of the ghetto, a soldier found enough 20 Kronen notes to fill a suitcase. These notes have been distributed as well.

    Since collector value is heavily based on rarity and condition, these finds caused the market values to drop dramatically. Current published listings show a collector value of approximately $10 for each note in new condition, and no premium for a full set.