Pinholes in Notes

Question: I have an 1862 Legal Tender $1 that has several pinholes at one end. I’ve read about pinholes, but I haven’t seen any on modern notes. Were these a test of some kind, or why did people often put pinholes in currency? -N.B.

Answer: There were two main reasons. The first was to pin one or several pieces of paper money to the inside of a coat or jacket, for security purposes. The second was simply to attach small groups of bills together, such as a handful of $20 (or whatever) notes in a bank or counting house, so they wouldn’t’ have to be counted again. By the early 20th century the paper clip took the place of pins for this purpose—leaving paper clip stains (rust marks) on some 20th century notes.

Join our mailing list

Don't miss an auction!

Subscribe to our newsletter.


Contact Us

West Coast Office • (800) 458-4646

Midwest Office • (800) 817-2646

East Coast Office • (800) 566-2580

[email protected]

Hong Kong, China Office • +852 2117 1191

[email protected]

Copenhagen, Denmark • +45 80 40 49 42

[email protected]

Follow Us

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter

We are sorry, an unexpected error occurred!
Please enter a valid email address

I'm Interested In...

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Stack's Bowers Galleries e-newsletter.