By Peter Huntoon
The bold overprinted charter number on the faces of $10, $20, $50 and $100 Series of 1882 Brown Backs was moved from a vertical position next to the left vignette to a horizontal position above the Treasury seal during September 1890. The move required that they lower the Treasury seal.
Somewhat fewer than 14 percent of the 10-10-10-20 and about 20 percent of the 50-100 Brown Backs were printed with the vertical variety. The survival rate among them is appreciably lower than these percentages owing to the fact that they were the first issued.
A request from Comptroller of the Currency E.S. Lacey to move the charter number was logged in at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing on Sept. 9, 1890 (BEP, 1890).
Lacey specified that it should be moved to the upper right. No explanation for the change was given. Generally such orders were implemented without delay by the numbering division. It then took up to a few days for the newly overprinted sheets to appear in deliveries to the Comptroller’s office.
The arrival of the new variety is not flagged in the Comptroller’s receipts ledgers, so there is uncertainty about the changeover serial numbers between the varieties. The Treasury serial numbers printed during September 1890 were the following:
The earliest possible changeover Treasury serials would have been between the following shipments although it is likely that the changeovers arrived a couple of days later.
The Series of 1882 Brown Back 10-10-10-10 combination was introduced in September 1906 so all were printed with the horizontal variety. The Treasury serial number set for the Brown Back 10-10-10-10s utilized Treasury serials A1 through A273475. Consequently, if you have an A-block $10 with the horizontal variety, it was printed from a 10-10-10-10 plate.
Reference cited and sources of data
Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Sept. 2, 1890, Correspondence to and from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing: Record Group 318, U.S. National Archives, College Park, Md., v. 3, p. 312.
Comptroller of the Currency, 1863-1912, Receipts of national bank currency from the engravers: Record Group 101, U.S. National Archives, College Park, Md.
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