• seperator

Exotic misprints never before observed

By Peter Huntoon and Lee Lofthus

In all affairs of men, if it can happen, it will. What follows are transcripts of letters and memos we found in correspondence files in the National Archives. These represent fragments of voluminous correspondence pertaining to misprints. What we are reproducing here are records of misprints that were made, the likes of which have not been recorded from the large size series in numismatic collections.

 

Case 1. This type of national bank note back/face mismatch never has been reported.

CASE 1

February 3, 1915
Chief, Division of Loans & Currency
Public Debt Service
Treasury Department
Sir:
During the great rush in getting out the emergency national bank notes, the Bureau working day and night and Sundays to expedite the delivery of perfect notes to the Comptroller of the Currency, there was some confusion of sheets of the various banks, and it will be necessary in order to balance the account of this Bureau to deliver the mutilated sheets of one bank as sheets of the same denomination of another bank.
[Several entries list simple substitutions of otherwise normal sheets. Then there was this jewel.]
There is also delivered herewith as 1 mutilated sheet of national currency faces, series 1902-1908, on the back of which is printed 4/5s, 1902-1908, and on the face was erroneously printed 4/5s, 1882-1908, faces, of the Lincoln National Bank, New York; the sheet can not be connected with its proper order.
Respectfully,
Acting Director
Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
[The foregoing was caught by inspectors before the seals and serial numbers were printed.]

 

Case 2. This type of FRN face/FRBN back mismatch never has been reported. If you owned it, would you even notice your note had the wrong back?

CASE 2

February 8, 1924
Federal Reserve Board
Washington, D. C.
Attention Mr. W. L. Eddy
Dear Sir:
In the handling of our cash we today ran across the following described note:
On the face of same a $5 Federal Reserve Note of our issue, 5-E, serial #E7436260A, plate No. D, the reverse side of same being a Federal Reserve Bank note of the $5 denomination.
We were just preparing to send this note in for redemption when the error in engraving was noticed and we are asking whether the Bureau at Washington were aware of this mis-print, under what classification the note was issued, and whether it is the Department’s wish that the note be sent in specially for redemption or included with our regular shipment.
Respectfully,
Geo. H. Keesee
Cashier
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

Telegram
February 9, 1924
Keesee – Richmond
Please mail to me tonight the currency note referred to in your letter February 8th.
Eddy
Federal Reserve Board
Washington, D. C.

February 11, 1924
Federal Reserve Board
Washington, D. C.
Attention Mr. W. L. Eddy
Dear Mr. Eddy:
In accord with your wire today, we are enclosing the $5.00 note described in your letter of February 8th, being 5-E Federal Reserve Note, No. E7436260A, plate D, with the reverse side of same a $5.00 Federal Reserve Bank Note.
We have charged this out in one of our expanse accounts so that we will ask that you give us a special advice in the accounting in order that proper entries may be made by us.
Respectfully,
Geo. H. Keesee
Cashier
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

February 13, 1924
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
Dear Mr. Keesee:
I am sending you herewith check for $5.00 drawn to your order, the proceeds of which please turn over to your bank in exchange for the freak $5 Fed sent to me with your letter of February 11th. I have turned the Federal reserve note over to the proper Treasury officials, in compliance with their request therefor.
Very truly yours,
Walter L. Eddy
Secretary
Federal Reserve Board
Washington, D. C.
[note turned over the Secret Service Feb 13th]

 

CASE 3

February 6, 1923
Federal Reserve Board
Washington, D. C.
Attention Mr. Walter K, Eddy, Assistant Secretary
Sirs:
There has come to us from Chicago in a shipment of Federal reserve notes of this bank, the enclosed $5 note which, you will notice, is engraved 2-B but which seems to bear a Chicago serial number with the prefix G. [G63191103A]. The Chicago strap which contained this note was dated January 24, 1923.
We are naturally curious to know how this freak came into existence, how many such notes were produced, to which Federal reserve bank they were originally issued and just which Federal reserve bank should be responsible for their retirement.
Can you give us any light on this? We shall appreciate your returning this note to us after you have inspected it.
Respectfully,
Shepard Morgan
Assistant Federal Reserve Agent
Federal Reserve Bank of New York

February 8, 1923
Memorandum for Chief
Secret Service
Washington, D. C.
With reference to the attached letter dated February 6, 1923 regarding a $5.00 F.R. note 2-B with Chicago serial no. G63191103A, check letter G894, this letter signed Shepard Morgan, Assistant Federal Reserve Agent, I respectfully state that upon examining the records of the Bureau of Engraving & Printing I find that the plate from which this note was printed, which is #15650, serial #894, corresponding with check number on note, was certified May 12, 1921 and finally dropped October 12, 1921. This note was numbered as a Chicago F. R. Note June 20, 1921, and was delivered to the vault June 22, 1921 in a package of four thousand. This package was shipped to the Chicago F. R. Bank September 11, 1922. The work is delivered in packages of one thousand, four subject sheets, from the Examining Division to the Numbering Division, where verification is made by physical count before it goes to the press. When it goes to the press both pressman and receiver are required to verify the top sheet as to bank and number. In this case the work must have become mixed, a sheet of New York notes being in a package of Chicago notes, and probably a sheet of Chicago notes in a package of New York notes. Which division is responsible for this error I am unable to determine as there does not appear a discrepancy in the record of either of them on these two particular banks. If this error was made as the circumstances indicate there would be four notes wrongly numbered on each bank. The numbering was done by pressman Richard Percell with Miss Shackelford as receiver, who is now out of the services. The package was examined by Mrs. L. Miller, F. Boss, now Seeman, E. Bundy and D. Harvey, all supposed to be experienced examiners.
I respectfully return the letter with the note attached.
Respectfully submitted
Henry C. Shepherd
Operative

February 14, 1923
Mr. Shepard A. Morgan
Assistant Federal Reserve Agent
Federal Reserve Bank
New York, N. Y.
Dear Mr. Morgan:
The $5 New York Federal reserve note which bears a Chicago number and which you forwarded to me with your letter of February 6th is returned herewith. I am also enclosing copy of report made by the secret service operative who looked into the matter, which is self-explanatory.
Very truly yours,
Walter L. Eddy
Assistant Secretary
Federal Reserve Board

 

Case 4

August 26, 1925
Mr. Walter L. Eddy, Secretary
Federal Reserve Board
Washington, D. C.
Dear Mr. Eddy:
Confirming telephone conversation, we are enclosing herewith two $20.00 Federal Reserve notes, issued by this bank [Philadelphia], Nos. L23674108A and L23674106A.
You will note that the letter in front of the numbers is AL@ instead of AC@. Will you kindly remit $40.00 to cover, and oblige.
Yours very truly,
S. R. Earl
Assistant Cashier
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

August 31, 1925
Mr. S. R. Earl
Assistant Cashier
Federal Reserve Bank
Philadelphia, Pa.
Dear Mr. Earl
I received your letter of August 26th, enclosing two twenty-dollar Federal reserve notes of your bank, Nos. L23674108A and L23674106A. The notes in question were handed to the Chief of the Secret Serviced Division and his attention called to the fact that the letter AL@ appeared thereon instead of the letter AC@, the letter being the letter used to designate notes of your bank. The notes were returned to me by the Secret Service Division and I was advised verbally that there would be no objection to their being put back into circulation. The matter of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing using the wrong letter on these particular notes is being investigated.
I am enclosing herewith my personal check for $40.00, payable to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, in exchange for the two notes.
Very truly yours,
Walter L. Eddy
Secretary

 

Source of Correspondence

Bureau of Engraving and Printing, 1915, Central Correspondence files: Record Group 318, U. S. National Archives, College Park, MD (318:450/79/10/boxes 17-23/file: Shortages, Excesses & Etc).

Federal Reserve Board, Records of the Federal Reserve System 1913-1954, Record Group 82, box 2605, file 610-3 Errors in Printing FR Notes: U. S. National Archives, College Park, MD (82/450/65/1/1+)

 

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