Perhaps you have leftover bills from trips to other countries tucked away in a drawer. Perhaps, your souvenir bills are in an envelope or a plastic baggie. Maybe some of the bills are so dirty and worn, they’re a bit scary to touch. Or maybe you have quite the collection in an archival box, shoebox-sized like Ron Wise.
According to this article published in the Seattle Times, Wise has more than 10,000 bills and knows which ones are his favorites and how to keep the collection looking pristine.
The value of a currency lies partly within the shape its in. That wrinkled, sad looking dong I kept from Vietnam has sentimental value, but isn’t a collector’s item, for example.
A collector wants bills that are pristine and crisp, not crumpled or torn. To get such bills, before you leave a country buy currency at an airport money exchange. You’ll pay more, but you’ll have a better looking item. (So, that’s how I could have rupees that look more like those in the photo!)
Another suggestion for acquiring crisp, clean bills is to buy currency by using an ATM machine with a credit or debit card. Once you get your lovely bills, Wise suggests putting them between pages of a hardcover book or in an envelope placed in a magazine that you don’t fold until you get them home.
Once home, store the bills in archive quality plastic holders or an archival box, and keep the collection in a low humidity. Humidity can cause damage.
If you frame the currency, hang the frame out of direct sunlight and consider using glass that prevents UV rays from damaging the bills.
If you want to find out about other people’s currency collection and share your own, head to Wise’s website World Paper Money Homepage.
Still, there is something a bit precious about my sad-sack dong and rupees. I can only guess how far they’ve traveled.