Error Note Chronicles: Gutter Fold Error

Posted on 10/18/2022

Folding before ink reaches the paper is what causes this common and sometimes-spectacular error.

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 Gutter Fold Error.

A Gutter Fold Error occurs when a fold becomes embedded within the paper prior to ink reaching it. When the paper is later unfolded, there will be a gap in the design. Sometimes this white space is quite prominent. As you can see with this 1995 $100 Federal Reserve Note, the Gutter Fold also significantly affected the cutting stage. The fold occurred after the First Print was done on the back of the note, where the design appears normal. (This particular note is part of a Stack's Bowers sale in November 2022; to learn more, click here.)

1985 $100 Federal Reserve Note (New York) with a Gutter Fold Error, graded PMG 55 About Uncirculated
Click images to enlarge.

Gutter Folds can affect all the stages of printing. This 1934A $500 Federal Reserve Note (Dallas) shows a Gutter Fold Error running through the black seal on the front and the last A in AMERICA on the back. The crease was evidently present before any ink made it to the paper and remained until the printing process was over. (This particular note realized $2,160 at a January 2022 Heritage Auctions sale.)

1934A $500 Federal Reserve Note (Dallas) with a Gutter Fold Error, graded PMG 30 Very Fine
Click images to enlarge.

Sometimes, the error is isolated to only part of the printing process. This 1977 $50 Federal Reserve Note (Kansas City) has a normal back and mostly normal front, but the stage of printing involving the seals and serial numbers clearly shows a Gutter Fold Error. This fold in the paper was evidently resolved before the note was cut from the sheet. (This particular note realized $660 through Heritage Auctions in June 2022.)

1977 $50 Federal Reserve Note (Kansas City) with a Gutter Fold Error, graded PMG 65 Gem Uncirculated EPQ
Click images to enlarge.

Gutter Folds can occur on world banknotes as well, and more than one can occur on the note. In fact, the Gutter Fold Error is one of the most common types of paper money errors, which is not surprising considering the challenges involved in creating sheets of banknotes using multiple printing stages. This Bangladesh 2003 100 Taka shows multiple Gutter Fold Errors.

Bangladesh, Bangladesh Bank 2003 100 Taka with Gutter Fold Errors, graded PMG 40 Extremely Fine EPQ
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

Other Error Note Chronicles columns:

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