Error Note Chronicles: Doubled Print Error

Posted on 9/20/2022

This printing mistake can be valuable — and a bit disorienting to look at.

Paper Money Guaranty® (PMG®) is the world’s leading authority on banknote errors, a popular segment of numismatics. In Error Note Chronicles, we take an in-depth look at different errors. This month’s topic is the Doubled Print Error.

A Double Print Error occurs when the print is "struck" by the intaglio plate more than once, usually resulting in a blurry appearance. This 1988A $10 Federal Reserve Note shows doubling on the First Print: the back of the note.

1988A $10 Federal Reserve Note (San Francisco) with a Double Print Error involving the First Print, graded PMG 45 Choice Extremely Fine EPQ
Click images to enlarge.

Often, one of the printings in a Doubled Print Error looks fainter than the other. This error is distinguishable from an Offset Printing Error, which involves a mirror image of the other side of the note. The 1977 $5 Federal Reserve Note shown below has a Doubled Print involving the Second Print, which contains most of the design for the front of the note.

1977 $5 Federal Reserve Note (Chicago) with a Doubled Print Error involving the Second Print, graded PMG 63 Choice Uncirculated EPQ
Click images to enlarge.

The Doubled Print Error can also affect the Third Print, sometimes called the overprint. As you can see on the 1976 $2 Federal Reserve Note shown here, this affected the seals and the serial numbers — and each of the two prints left a different set of serial numbers! This particular note is available as part of a Heritage Auctions sale in October 2022, with an estimate of $12,500 and up.

1976 $2 Federal Reserve Note (Cleveland) with a Doubled Print Error involving the Third Print, graded PMG 64 Choice Uncirculated EPQ
Click images to enlarge.

The Doubled Print Error can occur on world notes, as well, as seen on the Chinese note here. Notes with these errors can sell for thousands of dollars, which creates an incentive for counterfeiters to try to mimic the error. PMG has detected this deception on numerous notes, including a Singpaore ND (1987) 1 Dollar and a Singapore ND (1992) 2 Dollars. The way that the ink on the note interacts with special lighting used by the PMG grading team can uncover the deception.

China 1980 2 Yuan with a Doubled Print Error graded PMG 20 Very Fine
Click images to enlarge.

PMG, an independent member of the Certified Collectibles Group® (CCG®), has certified many exciting error notes, including the famous “Del Monte” error note that realized $396,000 in a January 2021 sale.

Collectors and dealers with error notes can submit them to PMG for certification under an applicable grading tier with “error” or the specific error noted under the Variety/Pedigree column on the submission form. There is no additional fee for this service.

For more information about submitting to PMG, visit

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