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Size matters for sheet buyers

Uncut sheets of the new Series 2017 $1 Federal Reserve Notes will go on sale for the first time next week.

On Jan. 30 at 8 a.m. Eastern Time, collectors will be able to purchase sheets of 50 $1 notes for $86. That works out to $1.72 apiece.

The sheets are being sold by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which is the federal agency responsible for paper money production.

This is the first time collectors will be able to acquire paper money with the printed “signature” of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

It is paired with a cursive signature of Treasurer of the United States Jovita Carranza.

Dates on American paper money indicate either the arrival of a new Treasury secretary or a major change in design. They do not change with the calendar.

Mnuchin took office last year, meaning the Series 2017 date will continue to be used until he is replaced.

Should the treasurer leave, standard practice has been to add a suffix letter following the date.

There are other sizes available.

The 25-note half sheet is $50.50. A 20-note sheet is $43. Ten-note sheets are $27, and five-note sheets are $18.50.

Go to the BEP website,, to make your purchase.

You can also telephone 800-456-3408.

I expect buyers are less interested in the history embodied in the sheets than the impression the sheer size creates.

I know the first time I bought a sheet it was for the novelty of the experience.

The first sheets offered to collectors on a commercial basis were the Series 1981 with the signatures of Angela M. “Bay” Buchanan and Donald T. Regan.

The largest size was 32 subject, which was the biggest the BEP could print at the time.

I bought mine at the International Paper Money Show in Memphis.

It was a memorable experience.

However, the experience began to wear thin very soon afterwards.

I had flown to the show. How would I get my new sheet home unspoiled?

Thanks to a kind and helpful airline stewardess, my sheet was stowed in the front coat closet.

I therefore got the sheet home without damage.

Next problem: Where do you put such a sheet? That really stumped me.

It ended up in the back of a closet.

When I moved, it moved to another closet. It has been there ever since.

I still feel a warm attraction to the sheet even though it is inconvenient.

I am glad I made the purchase, but I have never bought a large sheet since.

An occasional four-note pane was as adventurous as I have gotten.

My buying a sheet indicates to me that I wanted to make a splash and own something that was not generally available.

It was a novelty for me, but I did not take the sensation as far as some did.

An arrest or two was made in those early days over three decades ago of sheet buyers who very publicly took a sheet, cut off individual bills, and handed them to a waiter to pay a bill.

Is it any wonder they were suspected of counterfeiting?

That probably won’t happen this year. But if you want to try it, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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