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Signature combination creates flaming rarity

By Peter Huntoon


Brian Lavin made an extraordinary purchase when he bought this Series of 1875 note and then carefully checked it out. It bears Tillman-Morgan Treasury signatures, making it a Fr. 423a, which is a rarity. Not just a rarity, but a flaming rarity!

Those signatures were current between July 1, 1893, and June 30, 1897, ranging 11 to 15 years after the series ceased being assigned to new banks. Treasury signatures were assigned to plates based on the date inscribed in the title block, in this case March 3, 1896. The only way such a late plate date could occur on a Series of 1875 note was for a new plate to have been made for an existing issuing bank either as the result of a title change or the bankers ordering a new plate combination.

In this case, the bankers had been issuing solely from a 5-5-5-5 combination since the bank was chartered in 1879, so they decided to add a 10-10-10-20 plate to their repertoire, and it got an 1896 batch date reflecting when it was ordered. They then issued from both plates until the bank was extended in 1899.

The short 3-year usage of the 10-10-10-20 plate readily explains why they received only 2,542 sheets of 10-10-10-20s in contrast to 66,946 sheets of 5-5-5-5s. Only eight banks in the entire country received Series of 1875 Tillman-Morgan notes in any denomination.

However, only three got $10s; specifically, 2362 Manchester, NH; 2430 Holyoke, MA; and 2541 Provo, UT.

Now the big question is how many $10s have been reported? This is where the rubber hits the road! A careful search of the census reveals that Brian’s jewel is only the second to turn up. Did he ever score!

Ironically, the other one is also from the Holyoke bank and, not only that, from the same printing.

Okay, now that we have your attention, you can find a complete listing of every occurrence of all the rare Treasury signature on large nationals in my article in the March-April 2017 issue of Paper Money. Yes, take a look at the signatures on your nationals!

This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter. >> Subscribe today.

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