It's a pity that William Shakespeare already gave the question: To be or not to be? Because I have a very similar question: What to collect?

It's probably easier to start from your own country, and then switch to another. It's also cheap and quite understandable to collect current sets, they are sometimes available at face value or with minimal extra money. It does also exist a passion to collect graded notes; they are "insured" by professionals. Someone loves to collect fancy numbers like 0101011, 1234567, 9876789 or 2222222.  Many subjective topics are listed in Colnect, like Queen notes, Birds, Musical, Sport, Ocean Life, Architecture, Revolutions, Maps, Poets, Lions, Landscapes etc. I know many friends who collect Denominations of 5, 2 or 1 notes, Hyperinflation notes with many zeros, or simply unusual denominations (like 7, 35, 60 and 150). I can also remind you about  commemorative, error, test, color trial, remainder, overprinted, replacement notes, uncut sheets and even bundles – they are also in focus of some collectors. And someone even collects counterfeits. So, what to collect?

There exist many collecting topics and subjects in banknotes, everyone decides himself. As for me, many years ago I decided to collect only banknotes from SCWPM book, which are legal tender, ordinary issue or commemorative and all of them should be listed in catalog. No Pick number = no interest from me. After some time I realized that many banknotes have minor varieties. They have the same design, same color, but different year and/or signature, catalog give different indexes to them. I found they look very similar and took many place in albums. Then I switched to collecting by type, Catalog numbers are interesting for me, but indexes are not.

Ok, collecting current sets it’s easy task, now we have friends from everywhere to manage them. We can visit many countries and even buy from the central bank online – thanks to the modern age for this. Real collectors need to go deeper, when geography ends, you can start to work with history.

Then I've created a wish list for the most common countries, looking for previously issued  banknotes. I stand the goal to collect all types of banknotes issued by the country. Do you think I’ve completed at least one of them? No, and it is after 35 years of collecting. I found that it’s only possible to collect all banknotes from young countries like Moldova or Uzbekistan. Simply imagine how many items were issued in old countries like Canada, France, China, Germany and so on.  You’ll never get the budget to collect them all.

Collection is growing, you need more and more albums, sheets, sleeves, but where is my bottom line? When I show my album to my kids or friends, I see they are boring to watch, and I found this is because there is not some red line, some topic which unites all notes in the album.

I’ve decided it’s a wrong tactic to collect everything from everywhere. I will try to explain now.

When you have a topic – you are a very concentrated collector, you follow the goal, you do research, you have a strong vector of motivation. You become a real professional in some thin area, and after collecting knowledge, you can start to share them. You may write articles and send them to IBNS and ANA journals, you may present your expertise in webinars, you may manage an exhibition online and offline. And after all you can write a notaphilic book about all of those subjects and activities. You became an expert and you will leave your own heritage traces on Earth after this.

To be an extraordinary and to found my own topic, I've decide to switch to collect banknotes that depict sightseeings which I visited in my multiple trips around the world. From Eiffel tower to the Red Square, from Cappadocia Valleys to the Taj Mahal, from Costa Rica to Dubai, from Italy to Nepal, from Latvia to Cyprus - I've already visited many places and many of them are placed on banknotes. I am sure it gives me more sense in managing my collection albums and gives me a fresh wave of passion to sort them out. This also will turn any future trip of mine to a notaphilic adventure.

What do you think will be the best title for a future book? :-)