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New date on notes

Do you look at the dates on your paper money like you do on coins? If you do, it won’t be long before you will be seeing Series 2006 Federal Reserve Notes in your change. Ed Zegers of Olney, Md., is the first person to report to me his receipt of one, which is shown here.

The note, which looks like it has already seen better days, was issued by the Cleveland Federal Reserve District. That is what the “D” in the district seal helps to indicate. The facsimile signature of Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. appears at lower right.

Zegers said it was the only 2006 he found among 2,500 notes searched. It won’t stay scarce for much longer. I checked the April printing report from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and found that more than 50 million were printed for New York, 32 million for Philadelphia, 38 million for Cleveland, 70 million for Minneapolis, 6 million for Dallas and 83 million for San Francisco in that month alone. Production has hardly begun.

Zegers’ note was printed before April, because its serial number is below the run recorded for April. There are at least 89 million of them out there.

Why has it taken so long for a 2006 to find its way into circulation? Well it all relates to how paper money is issued.

The commencement of Paulson’s tensure in office last year is what prompts the issue of new notes. Unlike coins, U.S. paper money is not issued with new dates every year. A new date is adopted only when the design is changed in a major way or when the Treasury secretary signing the note changes. 2003A is the prior series.

If you wonder what a date with a suffix letter means, like the 2003A, the letter indicates a change in the Treasurer of the United States, who signs at lower left, while the Treasury secretary remained in place.