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One Paper Money Advantage Over Coins
July 16, 2008

"Leaving a paper trail" is device for accountants or investigators to find out where the money went.

In the case of actual collectors of paper money, the paper trail is vital in knowing the history of a particular bank note you might be considering buying.

If you are buying a high-grade note, it might interest you to discover that it had sold before as a lower grade note. Figuring this out is possible because notes have serial numbers that can be recorded and traced.

Assembling this information, or blazing the paper trail, is Martin Gengerke, a professional in the field who originally introduced the Gengerke Census and now is taking it one step further called the Gengerke Census Lite.

It is geared to coin dealers and paper money newcomers to help them identify a note and assess its rarity. It offers a complete census of large-size type notes issued before the conversion to small-size notes in 1929. It also offers a complete census of National Bank Notes, which were issued by individual banks 1863-1935 with a federal guarantee behind them.

The Gengerke Census Lite is a cheaper alternative at $30 than the version with all the bells and whistles. It comes on a disk and is updated once each year. The full version costs $175 and is updated continuously and can be downloaded over the Internet.

If you have a budding interest in paper money, you might consider e-mailing for more information.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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