Even with the demonetization hitting us hard to push towards digital payments, currency notes are still important in our daily lives. The need for paper currency has not reduced even after major digital revolutions.

However, did you ever think how these currency notes are printed and released?

In this article, we will discuss mistakes and interesting errors in the printed currency notes.

The Role of Offset Lithography, Letterpress, and Intaglio

Every currency note (higher denominations) is first passed through an offset lithographic press. Here, every note (paper) is printed simultaneously on both sides.

Once that is achieved, the design of the currency notes is printed through an intaglio press. Here too, both front and back are covered. In this step, security elements such as Security thread, etc., are added to the currency notes.

Finally, these printed notes are passed through a COPE or Currency Overprinting Processing Equipment to add the seal and serial number to the currency. After the final step, these notes become currency, which can be used to purchase items.

Although before these currency notes are released, a thorough quality check is performed, you can still find some discrepancies and errors. Below we have discussed some of these.

Errors in Currency Notes

1. Misalignment

The misalignment error means when the note is correctly cantered from one side and a bit shifted from the other side. This shifting may be more or less. These errors are quite common, widely seen, and accepted.

2. Inverted Back

Inverted back currency notes are commonly referred to as upside-down notes. Here, one side is fine and the other is inverted or printed in an upside-down position. These errors occur when the printed sheet is rotated by 180-degree when feeding to the printer. These types of errors are not usual.

3. Insufficient Ink

When the printer or printing press is poorly filled with ink, insufficient ink error arises. This means that the currency note has images, which are not complete or are faint. However, this error can be minor (Affecting a small part) or major (Affecting a large part of the currency). Usually, these inking errors occur in either the 1st or 2nd stage of printing.

4. Blank Reverse

This type of currency note has been printed on the front or the backside but the other side is blank. When two or more sheets are given to the press at one time, this error can occur.

5. More Than One Impression

When there is more than one impression of the image, the note occurs fuzzy or blurry. This type of error happens when the same sheet of currency notes has been re-fed to the printing press or when the sheet has stayed in the same position for longer.

6. Obstructed Print

A note has missing prints when an obstruction occurs in between. This means that any material like tape or piece of paper came in between the sheet and the plate. Sometimes, this obstruction sticks to the currency note. This type of error is popular and common.

7. Offset Transfer

The offset transfer is another major mistake that might happen while printing currency notes. Here, the head of the printer comes in contact with the bed of the printer when there is no sheet to feed to the machine. Due to this, when the sheet is finally given to the printer, the impression on the bed prints on the opposite of the note.

The offset transfer errors can also be minor or major depending upon the imprint. It is necessary to note that this type of error doesn’t occur when a wet sheet comes in contact with another wet sheet.

8. Additional Back Print

In a back overprint, various details like district number, Federal Reserve District Seal, Treasury seal, and serial number are printed on the back instead of the front. This happens when the uncut sheet of the currency note is fed to the printing press.

9. Shifted Additional Print

Shifted print means that the 3rd print of the currency note is not printed in the right position. The seal and serial number are not in the correct space, which enables these details to cover unintended parts of the currency note.

10. No Overprint

This type of error occurs when the overprint is not achieved on a note. The seal and serial number are not present on this type of currency note.

11. No Second Print

Similar to the above option, when 2nd print is not achieved or missing, the face printing is missing. This means there’s no denomination on the currency note.

10 Rupees currency note with 1st print missing. For the Lower denomination notes, the serial number would be the 2nd impression/print.

1000 Rupees currency note with 2nd print missing error (Rare side).

100 Rupees currency note with 2nd print missing error (Front side)

12. Mismatched Serial Number

Mismatched serial number error is not common, hence, more valuable to the error catcher. In this type of error, the serial number given on the back and front are different. In general, these are supposed to be the same.

It is less common to see differences in serial number characters rather than numbers.

13. Stuck Digits

Stuck digitals errors occur when the digits of serial number get stuck during printing. This means the digital numbers are partially turned on the currency note.

14. Cutting Errors

Similar to printing errors, mistakes can happen while cutting of the sheet as well. When the currency is printed, it is printed on an uncut sheet, which is sent for cutting afterward. During this process, errors can occur such as cutting serial numbers, etc.

15. Blank Crease

Blank crease happens when the uncut sheet of currency note has creases. After printing, blank folds of creases are left on the note. There can be one or multiple creases.

16. Printed Folds

Similar to a crease, when the uncut folded sheet is printed, errors happen on the note. The type of error varies depending upon the nature and the size of the fold.

17. Ink Smears

Ink smears occur on the paper when passing from the press. So, you will see marks of extra ink on the note.


Multiple times while printing, errors occur, as discussed above. Some of the above errors are too common and others are rare such as a mismatching serial number. Check out the images to identify an erroneous currency note if you find one.

If you have any error currency and wish to help me to enhance my collection, drop me a message.