Standard Catalog of World Paper Money

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The Standard Catalog of World Paper Money is a well-known catalogue of banknotes that is published by Krause Publications in three volumes. These catalogues are commonly known in the numismatic trade as the Pick catalogues, as the numbering system was originally compiled by Albert Pick, but are also referred to as "Krause" or "SCWPM." Since the mid-1980s the titles have been owned by Krause Publications, and from 1994-2016 were under the editorship of George S. Cuhaj, and subsequently by Tracy L. Schmidt.

Numbering system

The numbering system uses an integer to identify a note. Some varieties also have an alphabetic prefix, with a capital letter or letters.

  • A prefix of "A" or "B" is used to insert older series which were not cataloged when the numbering system was established.
  • A prefix of "CS" is used for made-for-collector merchandise such as souvenir folders, uncut pairs/strips/sheets, special serial numbers, booklets, etc.; the numbers after "CS" are sometimes sequential (1, 2, 3, etc.) in which case these products are listed after all regular notes, and other times are the equivalent of the normal note, in which case these items are listed right after the regular version of each note.
  • A prefix of "FX" is used for Foreign Exchange Certificates.
  • A prefix of "M" designates military issues (often occupation issues, or military scrip); these have been moved to the "Specialized" catalog.
  • A prefix of "R" is used for certain regional notes, which have also been moved to the "Specialized" catalog.
  • A prefix of "S" is used to represent "Specialized" issues which are cataloged separately (often, though inconsistently, private banks, regional issues, emergency issues, local notes, etc.).

In common usage, but not in the catalog itself, it is a common practice to prefix "P" to the catalog number (and any prefixes or suffixes, to designate that this is a "Pick" number; however, this is not a practice of the catalog themselves. If there are prefixes, in this usage, they will follow the "P" (e.g. "P5," "PS101a," "PM3" or "PFX").

Inconsistently, if a note has signature or date or other variants, then a lower case letter follows (e.g. P120a, P120b, P120c, etc.); in some cases though, multiple dates are assigned to a single variant; e.g "1936-1940; 1942; 1945." From edition to edition, these variety letters may change, as additional dates and signatures are found, and as the editors decide to add more granularity.

  • A suffix of "ct" is used for color trial proofs (sometimes listed as "tc")
  • A suffix of "r" is used for either a "remainder" or a "replacement" note.
  • A suffix of "p" is used for "proof" notes
  • A suffix of "s" is used for "specimen" notes.
  • A suffix of "tc" is used for "trial color proofs"
  • A suffix of "x" is used to denote certain varieties, such as counterfeits or errors.

Where there are multiple versions of proofs, remainders or specimens, and occasionally other variations, they are often cataloged with a number after the letter, e.g. "p1" or "p2."

If a number needs to be inserted between two numbers, then in some cases, the section is renumbered -- which creates confusion, and some collectors will annotate this with the previous number in parentheses .. e.g. 6(5) would indicate the current Pick number is 6, but it was once 5. But in other cases, the entries are not renumbered, and then the format is to use a suffix capital letter (e.g. P120A).


The sorting of notes is usually by issue series/date, then ascending by denomination.


Regular variants start with the letter a, b, c, ... Error notes usually bears the letter x, while specimen notes have the letter s. Unissued remainders (mostly 19th century incomplete printings) have the letter r, while known 20th century notes issued with replacement serial numbers would also have the letter r. Color trials bear the variant letters ct. When multiple specimens are known, then the format used is s1, s2.


As of April 2018, the most recent editions are as follows:

  • Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, General Issues, 1368-1960, 16th Edition 2016 – digital copy available separately. This is updated every two years or so.
  • Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, Modern Issues, 1961-Present, 24th Edition 2018 – digital copy available separately. This is updated every year.
  • Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, Specialized Issues, 12th Edition 2013 – digital copy available separately. This is updated every four years or so.

See also

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