By Peter Huntoon and Doug Murray
While perusing the scans of the proofs on the Smithsonian website, Doug Murray spotted an extraordinary situation. Every Series of 1882 $1,000 gold certificate proof, including the countersigned Fr.1218a variety, utilized a misspelled Thousand in the central banner; specifically, “One Thonsand Dollars.”
This heretofore unrecognized mistake by the numismatic community is an out-and-out engraving error that was created when a letter engraver engraved the banner on a component die, the banner was lifted onto a component roll, and the image transferred onto the master generic full-face dies for both the countersigned and non-countersigned varieties.
Full-face rolls lifted from those masters were used to lay-in the generic faces onto the six 4-subject plates that ultimately were used to print the notes, which remained current for the next 25 years. We find it extraordinary that the mistake never was corrected.
Shown here a subject from the Fr.1218c proof (above) and a detail from the Fr.1218a countersigned proof (below).
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