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New Friedberg number will be tough to get

By Peter Huntoon

A new Friedberg number has been discovered, but one that you probably won’t have the pleasure of owning. The find is a $1,000 Series of 1880 Tillman-Roberts Legal Tender Note issue that Doug Murray discovered by observing a proof with that signature combination.


After seeing the proof, he found from a BEP annual report that one printing of 4,000 notes had been delivered from the plate in fiscal year 1898. The plate, bearing plate number 7003, was certified Aug. 27, 1897. It was subsequently altered to carry the following signature combinations: Lyons-Roberts (Nov. 2, 1898), Vernon-Treat (Jan. 29, 1909), and finally Napier-McClung (Aug. 24, 1911).

The dates in brackets are plate certification dates. No notes were printed with the Napier-McClung combination.

Getting this new note into the Friedberg catalog will create a new mess among the Friedberg numbers. I’ll guess with you what the outcome will be.

There are a surprising number of reported 1880 LT $1000s. The primary reason for their survival is that National Banks for decades had to hold Legal Tender Notes in their cash reserves, so a lot of high-denomination Legals were saved because it was easier to count them. None with the Tillman-Roberts combination have been reported.

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