A Worthwhile Pocket Paper Money Guide Book: Official Blackbook Guide to United States Paper Money


Everyone already knows that when it comes to paper money, the Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg Paper Money of the United States is the must-have guidebook. This expansive book identifies every note ever released into circulation by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Most importantly, the Friedberg numbering system serves as the standard method by which paper money is cataloged. Without these numbers, everyone would use their own system, which would inevitably lead to messy and confusing auctions.

Unfortunately, the Friedberg book doesn’t fit in pockets (yet). So what options are available for those that want to get accurate valuations of paper money in a convenient carry-around size?

The author of this blog recommends the Official Blackbook Price Guide to United States Paper Money, edited by the Hudgeons family. The “Blackbook” will fit in the pockets of most casual pants, perfect for paper money fans who want a quick and dirty reference to currency with accurate pricing and pictures of nearly all currency ever issued.

Items like Interest Bearing Notes can’t be found in this guide, but then again, Interest Bearing Notes are rare and not something you see everyday. Similiarly, the Hudgeons’ book has a sparsely written high denomination section that offers very rough pricing for notes $500 and above. Compound Interest Treasury Notes are also missing. Their minute supply and rarity essentially preclude them from being part of book for currency lovers on the go.

It’s important to note that there ARE indeed valuations for rare United States currency within the Blackbook. 1875 $100 National Gold Banknotes can be found within the Blackbook’s pages, and these notes easily go for more than $25,000 when they surface at auction. 1933 $10 Silver Certificates are covered, plus the ultra-rare $10 1934 North Africa Star Note, one of the crown jewels of small sized paper money collecting.

You can purchase the Blackbook by clicking on the image below:

Speaking from personal experience, I find reading the Blackbook is a great way to pass time waiting for flights to takeoff (or arrive). It’s also invaluable when one finds an older note in their cash withdrawal from a bank and want to get a valuation on the fly. Those that regularly attend paper money expos wouldn’t be doing right by themselves without this book in their pocket, at-the-ready for an impulse buy.

Of course, it’s great for settling friendly arguments about a particular note’s variety and value. Nothing says “I know currency” like whipping out the Blackbook instantly when collectors butt heads. Heck, you might even get a free beer out of it when you correctly value an uncirculated 1896 $2 Educational Silver Certificate currently listed at $5,000 in the 2012 edition.

Get this book now or you’ll be sorry!

PaperMoneyAuction.com receives a small commission on the sale of each Blackbook from this website. We don’t get rich selling these books, but all the same, we’d greatly appreciate your patronage by clicking on the book image provided above. You won’t regret it!