General Tips for Collectors:
Most importantly, collect for fun. As a beginner, don't collect as an investment or for profit. Just buy the bank notes you like and have fun doing it!
Decide what type of collection you want to have. Some people only collect banknotes which contain a certain image (fish, tractors, etc.). Others strive to obtain collections of currency from countries which no longer exist (Biafra, Rhodesia, etc.) Some focus on one single country while others try to collect from every country. It's all up to you and your interests. The variety of banknotes out there is so vast that there is bound to be some category you are interested in.
Tell everyone you know that you are a collector, many people will give you specimens they have collected on trips to foreign countries. Some people may have friends or relatives from other countries coming to visit who will bring you representative banknotes from their country in exchange for US dollars when they arrive. You'll never get anything if you don't ask, it's always worth asking.
Always start looking in the inexpensive places first if you purchase your banknotes. You may be surprised at what you can find very inexpensively. For example, many coin shops have boxes of currency for sale for 10 cents each, 25 cents each, and on up. Sometimes they are behind the counter, you may need to ask for them. Often you can find great bargains this way.
Always try to collect uncirculated notes if they are current issues. In many cases, a note that is in less than uncirculated condition will never be worth more than face value. The colors are usually more vibrant on an uncirculated note and the artwork is frequently more 'crisp' and easier to discern. Of course older notes can often only be found in various degrees of circulated condition. In this case, only buy notes which are visually pleasing.
September 16, 2012