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European Paper Money

European paper money has much in common with the coinage of the region, although some of its history can be a little harder to trace. In 2002, the European Union moved to the euro standard, which replaced the individual currencies of its member nations. Euro denominations range from 5E to 500E. A unique feature of euro banknotes is that each denomination is a different size and color, increasing in size with the value of the bill.

European paper money began in 17th-century Sweden, where the first national European paper currency was created. The run of Swiss banknotes were signed by 16 politicians and trusted officials, certifying that they could be redeemed and hold value. This was necessary because merchants were very uneasy about paper money as a concept. The bills were a success and rapidly spread throughout Europe. However, European bills were frequently accompanied by economic turbulence and inflation as governments struggled to find a balance between printing and devaluing.

Each European nation's paper money tells a story all its own: varying famous individuals, events, architecture, and regalia featured on bills relate what was important to that country at that time in history. While the Euro has reduced the historical appeal of European paper money, the rich historic tapestry of antique European bills still exists.


Quick Facts

  • In Norway, there was a shortage of small coins after each World War. To compensate, 1- and 2-kroner bills were printed in lieu of coins
  • In 2003, Romania issued a one-million-lei banknote on polymer material. Although no longer legal tender after a sweeping currency reform, this curiosity maintains interest as the highest-denomination polymer banknote currently in existence
  • The Bank of England was established in 1694 to print official government banknotes. It remains the longest-running contiguous issuer of banknotes today

Recommended Items at Auction

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Currency Commission - Ireland Legal Tender:  Note: £5 (Five) "Lady Lavery Series," War Code "C",
Dec 07, 10:15 AM GMT
Currency Commission - Ireland Legal Tender:  Note: £5 (Five) "Lady Lavery Series," War Code "C",
by Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers
Est: €80- €120
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Full Lady Lavery Series Set Central Bank of Ireland - Legal Tender Note Set to include:  * £100 [(
Dec 07, 10:15 AM GMT
Full Lady Lavery Series Set Central Bank of Ireland - Legal Tender Note Set to include:  * £100 [(
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Allied Military Currency 1944 2 French Francs Grades xf
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
Allied Military Currency 1944 2 French Francs Grades xf
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Est: $25- $100
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Military Payment Certificate (MPC) Series 1944 100 German Mark Grades xf
Dec 03, 11:00 AM EST
Military Payment Certificate (MPC) Series 1944 100 German Mark Grades xf
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1944 France 10 Francs War Era Military Payment Certificate.
Dec 08, 5:00 PM EST
1944 France 10 Francs War Era Military Payment Certificate.
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Belgique - Billet
Dec 16, 1:00 PM CET
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1921 GERMANY NOTGELD 50 PF. 
Dec 19, 12:30 PM EST
1921 GERMANY NOTGELD 50 PF. 
by Museum of Culture and Arts, Inc
Est: $80- $280
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LOT 378 - ORIGINAL ENGLISH £5 NOTE IN DECENT CONDITION WITH A NUMBER OF CREASES AND FOLDS.
Dec 18, 10:00 PM GMT
LOT 378 - ORIGINAL ENGLISH £5 NOTE IN DECENT CONDITION WITH A NUMBER OF CREASES AND FOLDS.
by Authenticautographsjust4u
Est: £0- £0
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Bank of England One Pound Note
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
Bank of England One Pound Note
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Est: $15- $150
$150 Bids
Bank of England Five Pound Note
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
Bank of England Five Pound Note
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Est: $20- $200
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1958 Danmark 10 Kroner Note
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
1958 Danmark 10 Kroner Note
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $25- $250
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Italy Military 5 Lire Note
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
Italy Military 5 Lire Note
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $10- $100
$100 Bids
Italy Military 5 Lire Note
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
Italy Military 5 Lire Note
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $10- $100
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Italy Military 2 Lire Note
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
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Algeria 50 Cinguante Francs
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
Algeria 50 Cinguante Francs
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $40- $400
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Italy Military 10 Lire Note
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
Italy Military 10 Lire Note
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $10- $100
$100 Bids
Italy Military 10 Lire Note
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
Italy Military 10 Lire Note
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $10- $100
$100 Bids
Italy Military 10 Lire Note
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
Italy Military 10 Lire Note
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $10- $100
$100 Bids
Italy Military 10 Lire Note
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
Italy Military 10 Lire Note
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $10- $100
$100 Bids
Italy Military 2 Lire Note
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
Italy Military 2 Lire Note
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $10- $100
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1939 Kingdom of Italy War Veteran VNA 1 Lire Note
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
1939 Kingdom of Italy War Veteran VNA 1 Lire Note
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $10- $100
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1944 Germany Military Allied MPC Currency
Dec 03, 1:00 PM EST
1944 Germany Military Allied MPC Currency
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $25- $250
$250 Bids
Bank of Greece, 1947 Issue Banknote
Dec 15, 11:00 AM EST
Bank of Greece, 1947 Issue Banknote
by Archives International Auctions, LLC
Est: $100- $200
$600 Bids
De La Rue Garny, ND (1950-70), Test Notes Printed for Germany
Dec 15, 11:00 AM EST
De La Rue Garny, ND (1950-70), Test Notes Printed for Germany
by Archives International Auctions, LLC
Est: $100- $200
$600 Bids

Sellers Who Sell European Paper Money


Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Oakwood Auctions

Oakwood Auctions

Archives International Auctions, LLC

Archives International Auctions, LLC