Another large size NBN curiosity

I've always thought it was somewhat arrogant that the BEP added "Engraved and Printed by the Bureau of Engraving & Printing" on federal currency that, in fact, had been engraved by private bank note companies. In truth, the BEP did little more than alter the signatures on many notes after they called in all currency plates in the 1870s.

So I was surprised to notice on a Series 1875 lazy deuce national from the Smithsonian's certified proof collection, the imprint "Printed by the Bureau, Engraving & Printing, Treasury Dept." No mention of engraving. So the BEP had at least started with a more humble approach!
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But then I noticed something else about this particular sheet. Because there was less need for $2 notes, they were printed on sheets of 1-1-1-2. What I never realized was that the $1 nationals were created by American Bank Note, while the $2s were produced by National Bank Note. And yet they were printed from the same plate. You can see the different printers insignias at bottom center of each note. ABNC and NBNC were fierce competitors until their eventual merger -- but that was not until 1879. So this brought up a number of questions for me.
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• Did the BEP create this 1-1-1-2 sheet format from separate plates or was this the original configuration of the First Charter ones and twos? And if so, which company actually did the printing? I've never heard of a collaboration like this.

• When the BEP took over printing, why didn't they remove the bank note company insignias from the get-go?

• When and why did the BEP decide to add "Printed and Engraved" to their own insignia -- and still not remove the bank note company names?



Intrigued by all things intaglio.
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Comments

  • rbethearbethea Posts: 215 ✭✭
    Cool observation! Can't help but I'm interested to hear what the experts say.
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  • Cool observation! Can't help but I'm interested to hear what the experts say.
    same here


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  • STLNATSSTLNATS Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭
    I've always thought it was somewhat arrogant that the BEP added "Engraved and Printed by the Bureau of Engraving & Printing" on federal currency that, in fact, had been engraved by private bank note companies. In truth, the BEP did little more than alter the signatures on many notes after they called in all currency plates in the 1870s.





    Do you have an example you can show? Admittedly I'm somewhat limited to my little corners of the world, but don't recall ever seeing that legend on nationals' altered plates or plates cobbled together from the private banknote companies' master dies, etc. Thanks.



    This unusual 170 $10 1882BB made well after the "takeover" from the private companies, falls into the latter category, but even it has just the "Printed at ... " legend. This is a very early printing for the bank (evidenced by both the serials and the officer's sig) and the subsequent plates ONLY have the BEP imprint at the bottom; I have no reason not to assume that the BEP was solely responsible for replacement dies, plates, etc as well as the printing.



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    edited to add: 2nd edition of the the Oakes-Hickman NBN catalog has an expanded discussion of the private banknote company imprints (pp18-19) where, among other things it's noted that the ABC imprint is on the aces and NBC on the deuce altho either company may have actually printed the notes from time to time (before 1875 of course). It's also noted that the two companies (ABNC and NBNC) had a "close community of interests" and quotes from Ormsby who describes the business interests of the two companies as being "identically the same." Also in 1862 the two companies submitted a joint proposal for US notes and bonds to expedite the work of the government (whose printing needs had been greatly expanded by the Civil War).



    When the BEP took over printing, why didn't they remove the bank note company insignias from the get-go?



    My assumption is that two imprints were used (the BEP and the private BN companies) to acknowledge that the master dies, etc had been privately produced while the printing (after 1875) was done at the BEP. If only the BEP legend/imprint is provided I would think that the BEP was no longer using any of the dies, etc they'd taken from the private bank note companies.



    Edit the edit. I forgot to mention that the 1875 transfer of plates involved only the faces of the NBNs, private banknote companies continued to print the backs until 1877 when all operations were transferred to the BEP.



    Also I wanted to add that altho long out of print with the census and pricing obsolete, the old Oakes-Hickman catalog is another one of those basic references anyone seriously into nationals ought to have for the introduction alone. There's a lot of valuable info about production, history, etc that is consolidated in the introduction much of which was not included in the later Kelly catalog.



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  • gsalexgsalex Posts: 180 ✭✭
    Mea culpa! All this time I've been irked at the BEP for nothing. I went back and look closely at all the Nationals that originated from the private bank note companies. Then I went back and looked at all the early federal currency. There was no instance that the BEP claimed "engraved" if it came from an outside source, only "Printed by". So get out the ruler and whack my hands.

    But the hunt was not without some spoils. I was able to determine when the BEP eventually began to redesign the nationals, dropping the names of the original bank note firms. Surprisingly that did not occur until around 1887 -- perhaps another member can pin down a specific date. Here's a Series 1875 $10 proof from the FNB of Merced, CA showing the new frame with the BEP indicia where the American Bank Note name used to be.

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  • STLNATSSTLNATS Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭
    Here's a Series 1875 $10 proof from the FNB of Merced, CA showing the new frame with the BEP indicia where the American Bank Note name used to be.



    Your Merced note is actually a series of 1882 face proof not an 1875. Charter numbers in the margins is one giveaway plus the bank was not chartered until 1887. Banks chartered or which extended their charter during 1882 and the following 19 years received series of 1882 notes.





    Also note the charter numbers in the margins are different between the Merced note and my 170. I think (but frankly am not certain) that the plates using dies and design elements produced by the private banknote companies used black charter numbers within a box with horizontal lines. I have seen the black charters on early $5 BBs as well - which were entirely BEP products - however. Later BEP products used white charter numbers on a black field but I don't know when the change occurred.



    edited to add: I just spot checked and see that charter 3600 used the white on black margin charter numbers on plates using the private bank note company elements so that is not definitive. Also two notes in the census have the regional letter S meaning the plate was still in use into the 20th century. I also one owned a $20 on 995 (KY) which was similarly printed just before the transition to datebacks and which peaked my interest in the late BB printings using plates containing elements from the private banknote companies. I know I've seen a discussion of this within the last year (or two?) about changes in the rendering of the marginal charter numbers but don't recall the source. Argh.



    edited the edit. I looked at the NBN Census (for 1882 BB $10s and $20s) and found charter 3100 (Wabasha MN, chartered in Dec 1883) and 3124 (Sioux City IA, chartered in Feb 1884) both have what appear to be BEP only produced notes (ie no private banknote company imprint) with marginal charter numbers and layout similar to the Merced note. On the other hand, Peoria's 3070 (chartered in October 1883) at least initially included the "Printed at..." legend along with the private BN company name for $10s and $20s similar to that appearing on my 170 note. This isn't a hard break since charter 3600 mentioned above (chartered in 1886) still had the private bank imprint. Need to find the discussion I keep thinking I read...



    a last edit to correct back to black in my 2nd paragraph.

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  • gsalexgsalex Posts: 180 ✭✭
    As an addendum, I discovered another ABNC / NBNC collaboration: the 1863 $10 Legal Tender notes. The American imprint is at the top of the note (not mine) and the National imprint is at the lower left. This no doubt relates to the Civil War-era joint government proposal you mentioned in a previous post, STLNATS.

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  • gsalexgsalex Posts: 180 ✭✭
    I think I'm going to keep this thread going, as there are all manner of curiosities among these proofs. While transcribing the Pennsylvania boxes I came across the first error I noticed among the proofs - a $5 series 1882 from the Honesdale National Bank with a very apparent plate crack. Of course, it was somewhat easier to spot with the blatant markings and the notation "Make new plate" and "Mend." You'll note, this one was not certified.

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  • dtreterdtreter Posts: 252 ✭✭✭
    Not a large size NBN but...



    The face of the 1st issue fractionals was printed by the National Bank Note Co. while the reverse was printed by the American Bank Note Co. I believe this was done for security. They were making sure one company couldn't print more than was allowed to be issued.



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  • I have a ten dollar note on the First National Bank of Marlboro (MA) CN 2770 dated Sept 1st 1882. In all respects it is similar to STLNATS $10 CN 170.
    2770 was a a replacement for the first First National Bank of Marlboro which liquidated due to the then uncertainty of a second charter renewal.
  • gsalexgsalex Posts: 180 ✭✭
    And here is the curiosity du jour. A $5 series 1902 from the Webster and Atlas National Bank of Boston. But what surprised me about this one was the certification date: March 5, 1929 -- well into the time period that small size notes were being circulated. How late were large size nationals produced?

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  • STLNATSSTLNATS Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭
    And here is the curiosity du jour. A $5 series 1902 from the Webster and Atlas National Bank of Boston. But what surprised me about this one was the certification date: March 5, 1929 -- well into the time period that small size notes were being circulated. How late were large size nationals produced?



    The first small nationals were not placed into circulation until mid (July I think) 1929 and it was an extremely messy transition since the selected vendor experienced significant problems delivering overprinting plates. The demand by banks for new notes to maintain their circulation remained unabated, however. I don't have an exact date at hand, but since new overprinting plates for small notes were still being delivered in October (and maybe later) it's likely that that large nationals may have been produced for a few banks well into the fall of 1929.



    The problems with the overprint plates were explored in what's probably the definitive article in the Jan/Feb 2014 Paper Money issue and on this board several times. You should be able to easily find them with a search.



    edited to add: Actually I think your assumption/comment about the circulation of small notes is inaccurate. According to Chambliss-Hessler, the first small sized notes of any type were placed into circulation on July 10, 1929. To quote:"it was decided not to release any of these [small sized] notes into circulation until after the beginning of the new fiscal year that commenced on July 1, 1929." (words in brackets are mine). Small nationals were always to follow the other classes of currency, in large part due to the production issues associated with printing relatively small runs of currency for something like 7600 banks.





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  • gsalexgsalex Posts: 180 ✭✭
    Thanks for correcting my assumptions! I'm learning that it doesn't pay to assume anything where nationals are concerned. But I did make the leap that Series 1928 small size SCs and red seals had been released that same year.
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  • gsalexgsalex Posts: 180 ✭✭
    So here are a couple more curiosities among the NBN certified proofs -- two cancelled $100 plates. Both of these come from $50/$100 sheets; the Merchants NB of New Bedford note (ch. #799) has Allison/Gilfillan signatures and the Pittsburgh Bank of Commerce (ch. #668) has Allison/New signatures. The New Bedford plate has a simple X across it and bars through the lower signature areas. But the Bank of Commerce has an X and "CANCELLED" in large engraved letters. This brings up several questions:

    Why were they cancelled -- and why go to all the troubled of engraved lettering on the NBN of Commerce plate?
    Were these denominations ever issued by the banks?
    Has anyone come across other cancelled plates in the certified proof collection?

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  • STLNATSSTLNATS Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭
    See the note in Kelly for bank 668, explains why the 100s were cancelled. Not sure why the additional engraving except perhaps to ensure the 100s were not issued when the plate was being used to produce 50s only. No explanation in Kelly for bank 799, altho I assume it had to do with again the bank's desire not to issue 100s and the cancellation ensured that only 50s would be issued to the bank.



    In both cases, my assumption is that the 1875 two position plate with the BEP legend would be used to print the notes, but the 100s would be trimmed off and destroyed. Much cheaper to waste a bit of paper rather than produce a new plate.



    Partial plate printings for the original series issues are discussed in chapter 6 of Huntoon altho only a single bank is listed as using the single 50s (NYC charter 376). There may be a discussion of the 1875s as well but haven't the time for more than a cursory glance at the moment.



    edited to add: just a thought and altho focused on the problem with the $10s, it might be worth checking the banks listed in chapter 6 to see if any proofs are similarly cancelled. May not be in the collection since these were private bn company printings, however.



    edited the edit. Also worth checking the banks listed in Kelly with reported original and 1875 $100 counterfeits. Charters 376, 668 and 799 are all listed so the other banks would seem to be prime candidates for cancellations.
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  • GrimReaperGrimReaper Posts: 1,196 ✭✭✭
    LOVE these threads of learning and knowledge unconditionally !!! Thank you both for the very interesting read !!

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    in PCGS 66 or 67PPQ**


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  • STLNATSSTLNATS Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭
    Well this is curious. This bank is specifically mentioned in Huntoon as having partial plate printings on original series notes. Per Kelly:



    originals
      50-100 sheets 1 to 8670
      50 only sheets 8671 to 11670
    series of 1875
      50 only sheets 1 to 3000


    I anticipated that the 100 would have been cancelled here too since this is an 1875 sheet; clearly isn't. There is a notation that this was "taken from book" at the LR but not sure what that means. Guess I'll look at a couple more.

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  • STLNATSSTLNATS Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭
    This doesn't seem to be working out. The bank issued 2750 sheets of the original 50-100 format. For the 1875 series 712 sheets of 50-100s and single 50s numbered 713 to 2469.



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    I checked the other banks for which counterfeit 100s are noted, but per Kelly none issued the 50 only format for either originals or 1875 series so there would have been no reason to have plates with the 100s cancelled. I still like my theory, but unfortunately it really doesn't explain why some of the pictured proofs are cancelled and others are not. Rats.



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  • gsalexgsalex Posts: 180 ✭✭
    I think I'll punt this one to Peter Huntoon himself and see what he has to say. Stay tuned ...
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  • STLNATSSTLNATS Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭
    It's getting late, but I double checked 668 and found that there is also an uncancelled 1875 proof as well as the cancelled one. None of the others I looked at had both versions, including charter 799.



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    There's a couple of differences between the two proofs. The uncancelled version does not seem to have the initials at the upper left (altho hard to tell with the tear) nor the engraved charter number at the bottom, left of center. Other marking are on both (eg the 750 at the upper right) which I think proves that the cancellations were applied at the BEP and that the cancelled proof is the later version - which is pretty obvious I suppose but I do like to keep those ducks lined up. For this bank, which issued a few 50-100s for the series of 1875, it appears that the BEP pulled proofs after changing the sigs and adding the BEP legend. A second proof was pulled after the cancellation was added.



    For 799, single 50s were issued as both originals and 1875s so a single proof showing the cancelled 100 makes sense. Not sure why there are uncancelled proofs for the other banks that issued 50s only.







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  • gsalexgsalex Posts: 180 ✭✭
    This gets more interesting by the day! I went back to look at this second sheet and try to read the writing at the bottom. Looks like "Transfer imprints" and "Mend Demand[?] top note". But I also noticed another difference. Although it has the Series 1875 sigs, it does NOT have the BEP's "printed at" indicia at the tops of the notes, while the sheet with the cancelled $100 does. Not sure what to make of that.

    Edit: Did the private bank note companies print any of the Series 1875 NBN faces?
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  • STLNATSSTLNATS Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭
    Originally posted by: gsalex

    This gets more interesting by the day! I went back to look at this second sheet and try to read the writing at the bottom. Looks like "Transfer imprints" and "Mend Demand[?] top note". But I also noticed another difference. Although it has the Series 1875 sigs, it does NOT have the BEP's "printed at" indicia at the tops of the notes, while the sheet with the cancelled $100 does. Not sure what to make of that.




    The "transfer imprints" comment is continued on a second line, much of which is cut off. The last d in demand on the 50 looks incomplete and I wonder if the comment "mend demand" is an order to strengthen it. I don't know the BEP procedure on altering these early plates, but the 668 uncancelled proof almost looks like a "progress proof" pulled after the new sigs were rolled in. Subsequently the changes ordered in pencil were made along with adding the BEP legend. At some point the plate would be approved based on another pull of a specimen (altho it does not seem to be in the collection) and the plate then would have been used to print the 282 50-100 1875 sheets sent to the bank.



    Subsequently the cancellation was added to the 100 to print the remainder of the $50s (starting with 283) eventually sent to the bank. The proof pulled from the cancelled plate would have all the features/repairs appearing on the 50s sent to the bank and does seem to be the one you posted yesterday.



    Unfortunately none of these proofs are dated (except for the BEP specimen stamp applied long after the fact) so it's hard to be sure when the changes were actually made altho the sequence of the two sheets is pretty obvious. My guess (and it's just that) is that there was once at least one more specimen pulled for approval mentioned above. Chronologically it (or they) would have fit between the two that are in the collection for 668.



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  • gsalexgsalex Posts: 180 ✭✭
    Okay, full disclosure -- I don't have Peter Huntoon's book "United States Large Size National Bank Notes." I confess, where nationals are concerned I am a dilettante; I find them fascinating, but too pricey for me to be an active collector. But I've found this project to be an eye-opening education.

    While I don't have his book, I do have Mr. Huntoon's email address. Yesterday he wrote back and provided me with text and tables from the chapters relevant to these cancelled plates. I have a better understanding now of the counterfeiting that was going on in the mid-1870s. The BEP's response was to suspend delivery of the $100 and $10 nationals in affected banks across the county, making it easier to identify counterfeits when they showed up. The Bureau did this by cutting off and destroying the notes being held back -- but that made for a laborious accounting procedure. Cut-off $50 notes from the Central National Bank of the City of New York (376) were even assigned "a unique treasury serial number set beginning with A22." (I would love to see one of those.) While production of the $10s resumed after the crisis, the affected $100s were permanently suspended.

    For the Series 1875 $100s, according to Huntoon:
    "…all subjects on the plates were printed. The sheets were then logged through the system using the existing treasury serial number set for the full 50-100 combination. Finally the undesired $100s were cut off when it came time to issue the sheets to the banks.

    "The only other applications of this new procedure involved isolation of $100 counterfeits for New Bedford, Massachusetts (799), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (668), and Baltimore, Maryland (1109). The New Bedford and Pittsburgh cases are special in that the formal step was taken to physically cancel the $100 subjects on the Series of 1875 plates before additional sheets were printed from them. No canceled proofs are known for New York or Baltimore. Canceling the plates was, of course, an unnecessary formality because the Comptroller's clerks knew which $100s not to issue."

    In reading details on these partial plate printings, the chapters also clued me into some sheet combinations I was entirely unaware of. $10 notes were removed from 10-10-10-20 sheets at 30 different banks. Also from 10-10-20-50 sheets at three banks and 10-50-50-100 sheets at one bank. Wait - what? Three denominations of NBNs on a single sheet? Yes, indeed! And here are a couple examples from the certified proof collection. The 10-50-50-100 was only printed for the Kensington National Bank of Philadelphia and because the 10 was removed before it was released, the only complete sheet you will ever see lives at the Smithsonian.

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  • gsalexgsalex Posts: 180 ✭✭
    And here's the mother of all NBN sheet combinations. A 10-20-50-100 from the New York National Exchange Bank. This was the only bank to have notes issued in this format and it was not one where the $10 was removed by the BEP, so there is a possibility an issued uncut sheet exists. Anyone ever seen one?

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  • STLNATSSTLNATS Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭
    I assume you are joking about seeing a sheet. Current census has 4 "first charter" notes reported for the bank, original series 1 and 2s and a single 1875 $5. Pretty much as reported by Kelly years ago.



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  • gsalexgsalex Posts: 180 ✭✭
    I figured the probability was pretty low, but I don't have access to census numbers. So not a single survivor from that sheet -- wow!
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  • gsalexgsalex Posts: 180 ✭✭
    Two new boxes of Pennsylvania proofs were posted for transcription today and as I was going through them I noticed for the first time, three distinctly different fonts used for the charter numbers in the frames. One is so square that it's quite difficult to read. These are all from $10 notes on the 10-10-10-20 sheets of Series 1875 notes (I think). All had plate dates from 1891 to '93 and all had the BEP imprint. I'll be on the look out for other fonts as the work continues.

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  • STLNATSSTLNATS Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭
    These are all from $10 notes on the 10-10-10-20 sheets of Series 1875 notes



    Should be series of 1882; charter numbers are too high to have received originals or 1875 notes. Plus earlier types didn't have the marginal charter numbers.
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  • 2ndCharter2ndCharter Posts: 1,194 ✭✭✭
    Should be series of 1882; charter numbers are too high to have received originals or 1875 notes

    Absolutely right - according to the table on page 17 of the Van Belkum reference, charter numbers 4714 and 4751 were assigned in 1892 and charter number 4965 assigned in 1894.
  • STLNATSSTLNATS Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭
    I figured that the border charter numbers had been discussed in Walcutt's Rag Picker encyclopedic articles and indeed he had. He has several pages on these. This is an important, but perhaps somewhat inaccessible, reference so here's the most important page (1st quarter 1999 issue).



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    A couple of points:



    1. Walcutt seems to have attempted to categorize almost every differing feature of nationals. The fact that he didn't do so with the fonts suggests that he considered that they evolved over time, becoming very wide and almost styled by the late 1890s. But there doesn't seem to be a "hard line" for the switch from one style to another. For instance, while he suggests that the "black number" layout began to be abandoned as early as 1885, he notes that it continued to be was used, albeit rarely, well into the 1890s.



    2. The "black number" was used with "first charter" elements early on and to make 1882 $10 to $100s distinguishable from the original and 1875 issues (a requirement of the law). The 1882 $5 was of a totally different design.



    3. There's also some variation where the charter numbers were placed at the upper left border.



    I think it's fair to say that the fonts used for 4751 and 4714 are essentially of the same type, just differing widths of the numbers and both represent the "end state" for the fonts.



    One of the more interesting things I found in this article is that he notes that after passage of the 1882 Act, some newly chartered banks received 1875 series notes rather than the 1882 notes. All new banks chartered after late August 1882 received series of 1882. Interestingly of the former group, 40 banks extended in 1902 and received series of 1902 notes, never having received series of 1882 notes. There's not a listing of these banks but there is a reference suggesting that they were id'd in an earlier article.



    What fun...
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  • gsalexgsalex Posts: 180 ✭✭
    Originally posted by: STLNATS

    3. There's also some variation where the charter numbers were placed at the upper left border.



    Yes, I noticed that, too. On the $10s, the UL charter numbers shift from one side of the little circular "10" to the other, for no discernable reason.

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  • STLNATSSTLNATS Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭
    Walcutt referred to these as 2-10 and 3-10 varieties respectively.
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  • gsalexgsalex Posts: 180 ✭✭
    And on to a new curiosity. As I was transcribing the seemingly endless Pennsylvania proofs (boxes 23, 24, 25, and 26 are currently posted) I came across these notes which were interesting for several reasons. The Bank of Pittsburgh National Association was one of the few that chose to keep its original name, instead adding "National Association" to fulfill the requirement of having "National" in the bank title. I also found it interesting that the plate letters ran all the way up to "L" which is the highest letter I've seen so far.

    The bank had four separate 10-10-10-20 sheets printed over the years. But what puzzled me was that the second and third printing included the text "secured by bonds ... and other securities", but the fourth printing (the J-K-L-D sheet) has the old text of just "secured by bonds." The third sheet has an approval date of Sept. 13, 1911 and the fourth is dated Aug. 18, 1916. Why would the BEP revert to the old format at this stage?

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  • 2ndCharter2ndCharter Posts: 1,194 ✭✭✭
    Why would the BEP revert to the old format at this stage?


    The Emergency Currency Act of May 30, 1908 (a.k.a. The Aldrich-Vreeland Act) provided for the formation of Voluntary National Currency Associations so that banks could deposit "other securities (aside from U. S. Bonds) and issue circulation up to 75% of the value of these securities. It was a jerry-rigged attempt to increase the money supply after the Panic of 1907. This emergency act and its "other securities" provision expired on June 30, 1915. This convoluted method to increase the money supply helped pave the way for the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.
  • STLNATSSTLNATS Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭
    Originally posted by: 2ndCharter

    Why would the BEP revert to the old format at this stage?





    The Emergency Currency Act of May 30, 1908 (a.k.a. The Aldrich-Vreeland Act) provided for the formation of Voluntary National Currency Associations so that banks could deposit "other securities (aside from U. S. Bonds) and issue circulation up to 75% of the value of these securities. It was a jerry-rigged attempt to increase the money supply after the Panic of 1907. This emergency act and its "other securities" provision expired on June 30, 1915. This convoluted method to increase the money supply helped pave the way for the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.




    +1

    And the Act expired in 1915. If Series of 1882 notes were still being printed for a bank after the Act's expiration and a new printing plate was needed the "other securities" verbiage was no longer appropriate to use on the new plate, exactly what happened here. In many/most cases a new plate was generally not needed and printings continued with fronts with the obsolete wording paired with undated backs or the 1902 series and value backs for the 1882 series.



    I'd expect ANY national currency catalog and most General US catalogs will have at least a basic explanation of what's going on here.



    PS, just out of curiosity, what information are you transcribing for these plates?



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  • gsalexgsalex Posts: 180 ✭✭


    PS, just out of curiosity, what information are you transcribing for these plates?



    I always follow the text given on the proof when transcribing -- the drop-down menu gives options for "only bonds" or "bonds and/or other securities" and I'm careful to match the appropriate text. Lately I've had to correct several transcriptions by others that missed this step.
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  • STLNATSSTLNATS Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭
    Originally posted by: gsalex





    PS, just out of curiosity, what information are you transcribing for these plates?







    I always follow the text given on the proof when transcribing -- the drop-down menu gives options for "only bonds" or "bonds and/or other securities" and I'm careful to match the appropriate text. Lately I've had to correct several transcriptions by others that missed this step.





    Gotcha. Thanks



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  • gsalexgsalex Posts: 180 ✭✭
    And the Pennsylvania transcription continues -- I'm told there are 36 boxes of certified proofs and right now we're up to 28.

    Here's an interesting PA proof with a lot of notation. I had to do a little research to understand what these numbers indicated. Anyone want to chime in with an answer?

    image
    Intrigued by all things intaglio.
  • STLNATSSTLNATS Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭
    I believe that these are the id numbers of the rolls containing design elements. There is a specific reference to "new rolls" on the right side in pencil with lines connecting to a couple of the numbers.



    What I think is going on here is certain elements of the plate were either damaged or beginning to show wear and an order was placed to "reroll" specific design elements to salvage the plate; presumably the plate was otherwise in good, usable condition. The left side of the proof has a notation "Heads Re entered" with a blue check mark adjacent to the portrait on the A and C position $10s. There are several other check marks on the complete proof sheet which probably tie to other rerolled elements associated with the specific roll ids. The ? and scratched out number are also rather cute and may indicate that initially there may have been a bit of confusion of about which specific rolls were used.



    Two other things of note. First this is the second proof of plate ABCA, the original being 1912 this in 1925 so this sheet would appear to be the signoff that all the work was complete and done correctly (there probably was a sheet with the work identified that was needed and that was used for comparison with the final product (hence the check marks) but not retained). Second, the obligation clause contains the “or other securities” verbiage which was necessary for the emergency currency issues. That is, for economy reasons the BEP/Comptroller was/were comfortable to continue to use plates with this “obsolete” verbiage although a new plate with an updated obligation clause (ie DEFB) could have been justified.



    I have seen the “head reentered” notation on a 1902 PB sheet for 2188 (Citizen’s NB of Evansville IN) but I don't remember the denomination. I don’t recall any others for “my” areas so think this is pretty uncommon and a nice find that illustrates the day to day management of the printing plates.

    Always interested in St Louis MO & IL metro area and Evansville IN national bank notes and Vatican/papal states coins and medals!
  • gsalexgsalex Posts: 180 ✭✭
    Right on the money, as usual! The numbers were marked on the plate to indicate which transfer rolls were needed to create a new plate. These were penciled in by a siderographer for whoever would be doing the transferring. The question mark and scratched out number next to "new roll" indicates that they created a new transfer roll for the charter numbers.

    As to the "heads re-entered" I happened on that very notation on two other sheets I was transcribing yesterday. As you note, this indicates the portraits were looking weak, so a transfer die was re-rolled over the worn portraits to enhance them. I came across this twice on the same plate for the Mellon NB of Pittsburgh, which issued a huge number of $5 notes (the highest plate letter I found was T4, meaning they went through the alphabet four times). Here's the first certification for plate TT, followed by the two re-entries.
    image
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    And one more tidbit of interest from Peter Huntoon, who covered this in an article in Paper Money, I believe. For some series 1875 and 1882 notes, when worn plates were re-entered, the plate letters were given a tiny star next to them. This also applies occasionally when other changes were made, such as the ABN imprint being removed. According to Huntoon this occurred on perhaps 50 to 100 plates. I'll be keeping my eye out for these, going forward!
    image
    image
    Intrigued by all things intaglio.
  • gsalexgsalex Posts: 180 ✭✭
    Okay, this is no doubt treading into the nerd zone, but an addendum to the "Heads Re-entered" notation. I'm finding this was a fairly common occurrence -- and there's an easy "tell." Whenever someone at the BEP inspected a plate they stamped their initials at the top. For a long time I wondered why some plates had such a long string of initials. Now I'm seeing that nearly always when there is an alphabet soup of initials at the top, there is a "heads re-entered" marked on the lower left or the bottom margin (at least on the Series 1902). As you might expect, the Bureau wanted a lot of eyes reviewing any changes to a plate where there was potential for errors like transfer doubling.

    image

    image
    Intrigued by all things intaglio.
  • STLNATSSTLNATS Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭
    And one more tidbit of interest from Peter Huntoon, who covered this in an article in Paper Money, I believe. For some series 1875 and 1882 notes, when worn plates were re-entered, the plate letters were given a tiny star next to them. This also applies occasionally when other changes were made, such as the ABN imprint being removed. According to Huntoon this occurred on perhaps 50 to 100 plates. I'll be keeping my eye out for these, going forward!



    I'm surprised that there was that many; was under the impression it was far fewer. No matter tho, they're not easy to find. Here's mine, which is one of the more - if not most - common examples of these.



    image
    Always interested in St Louis MO & IL metro area and Evansville IN national bank notes and Vatican/papal states coins and medals!
  • STLNATSSTLNATS Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭
    Also interesting that you've found several of the heads reentered notation. That's always the problem with generalizing from a small sample/area and certainly changes my perspective of how much they fiddled with the plates to stretch out their useful life. It also helps to explain what appears to be the relatively long lives of some plates I've seen.



    What fun.



    Edited to add: I'd been led to believe that the plate received initials each time it went to press as well which I assume included a quick exam of the plate. Not sure if that's accurate/consistent with what Pete told you.
    Always interested in St Louis MO & IL metro area and Evansville IN national bank notes and Vatican/papal states coins and medals!
  • gsalexgsalex Posts: 180 ✭✭
    According to Peter Huntoon: "As a quality control measure, each time a printer checked out a plate, he stamped his initials onto the border of the plate, almost always across the top." Once you have that search image of the initial string along the top, you will start to find "Re-Entered" plates *everywhere* -- I would guess there are 5 to 10 in every box.

    Since I had only been looking at Series 1902 proofs, I went back to see if the star plate notes also had long strings of initials at the top. They are much harder to find, but I did locate your Oneida NB of Utica and it appears to follow suit, although the initial string is shorter. The trouble with the series 1875 and 1882 sheets is that they were often trimmed down, so the initials at the top got lost. But it's worth keeping an eye out for these alphabet strings on the older sheets -- Huntoon believes there are unreported star plate notes out there.

    Here's the A star plate note from Oneida and an example of a Series 1875 $5 star plate.

    image

    image
    Intrigued by all things intaglio.
  • gsalexgsalex Posts: 180 ✭✭
    Originally posted by: STLNATS
    ... I'd been led to believe that the plate received initials each time it went to press as well which I assume included a quick exam of the plate.


    I did it again -- misinterpreted the information. You are correct, plates were initialed when they went to press. That's what Huntoon meant when he said "each time a printer checked out a plate." Checked out the plate to print it. So the long string of initials doesn't indicate a lot of people *proofing* the plate, it indicates many print runs -- hence a worn plate in need of refurbishing. I was coming at it backwards, but the end result was the same, a re-entered plate.

    Addendum:
    So here's a composite of the three top notes (QQ plate) from the Mellon Bank proofs I posted earlier, showing the progression of the plate printers' initials as the plate was used.
    Top: 10/08/19
    Middle: 11/15/19
    Bottom: 3/11/20
    I'm a little surprised that they re-entered the heads after so few runs, the first time.

    image
    Intrigued by all things intaglio.
  • STLNATSSTLNATS Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭
    Mellon issued a ton of notes and some of the individual print runs could have been quite large resulting in a fair amount of wear in a short period of time.



    Always interested in St Louis MO & IL metro area and Evansville IN national bank notes and Vatican/papal states coins and medals!
  • gsalexgsalex Posts: 180 ✭✭
    Here's one I found among the Rhode Island proofs. At first I thought this was an error, but was corrected by Peter Huntoon. The proof with the red marking was actually a model for the new plate after the town changed its name. In fact, during the bank's lifetime the town had three names: Warwick, Centreville, then West Warwick on small size notes. The name of a given town was typically determined by the name of its post office. There's an interesting article by Huntoon in the latest issue of Paper Money that talks about this and some anomalies it produced.

    image

    image
    Intrigued by all things intaglio.
  • gsalexgsalex Posts: 180 ✭✭
    The transcription is up to the Texas boxes now and today I came across a curiosity that I can't quite figure out. Here is the bottom note from a certified sheet from the First National Bank of La Grange. The plate date printed on the note is May 26, 1908 -- but the certification date at the bottom is May 6, nearly three weeks earlier! I know this is not an error in the cert date, as I've seen this sort of thing on other proofs. But what's the explanation behind it -- anyone care to hazard a guess?

    image
    Intrigued by all things intaglio.
  • Originally posted by: gsalex

    The transcription is up to the Texas boxes now and today I came across a curiosity that I can't quite figure out. Here is the bottom note from a certified sheet from the First National Bank of La Grange. The plate date printed on the note is May 26, 1908 -- but the certification date at the bottom is May 6, nearly three weeks earlier! I know this is not an error in the cert date, as I've seen this sort of thing on other proofs. But what's the explanation behind it -- anyone care to hazard a guess?




    I'll take a stab a this one, others can come along and correct/embellish as needed...



    This bank was chartered in 1888, meaning its 20 year charter would expire in 1908.



    So it appears the the May 26, 1908 must be the 'ReCharter' date that would appear on the new series of notes that would be issued for this bank when it was rechartered. In 1888 this bank originally issued 1882 BrownBacks, and would now issue 1902 RedSeals when it was rechartered in 1908.



    An interesting side-note: This all happened just before the Aldrich-Vreeland Act was passed on May 30, 1908, which brought about the switchover from 1902 RedSeals to 1902 BlueSeal Datebacks. So this bank only issued a handful (150 sheets) of RedSeals before soon changing over to BlueSeal DateBacks. Looking at NBNCensus.com, not surprisingly, there are no RedSeals included in the 31 large size notes reported on this bank.





    Interested in MN and SD Nationals.

  • STLNATSSTLNATS Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭
    I looked at the $5 proofs for the '02s for 4178. Same situation viz dates. Plate date for the $5 A-B-C-D proof is Dec 11, 1909 but the proof is dated Nov 16, 1909. Same for the $10s which were produced in the 4x$10 format only. I'm away from my PC and have limited cut and paste capabilities, but here's a link to the proof images:



    Link for $5

    link for $10



    I figured that the plates had been completed in anticipation of the extension of the charter and presumably after paperwork/approval had been received. I assume that a new order of notes would have been in that paperwork prompting the production of plates, etc. I've frankly not noticed this before, but suspect it is relatively common for banks extending their charter in order to avoid interruptions in the delivery of notes to the bank. That is, for 4178, after the charter extension the unissued 1882 series notes remaining at the Comptrollers would be destroyed and only 1902 would be issued to the bank as required by statute. Had plates (and perhaps even printings) not been produced before that date, there could have been a meaningful delay in delivering notes to the bank.



    BTW, the 1882 series $5s have a different plate date than the $10 or $20s. The latter is clearly the charter date (1889), while the $5s carry a date (1896) related to the date the lower denomination was ordered. The dating conventions were changed by this time and the dates were sync'd for the 1902 series, including the 50-100 plate which wasn't certified until August 1914. August 1914 was a busy time for the BEP since it was the start of the only issue of emergency currency, but that's another story.













    Always interested in St Louis MO & IL metro area and Evansville IN national bank notes and Vatican/papal states coins and medals!
  • STLNATSSTLNATS Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭
    gsalex: Any update/explanation of the variance of dates (ie plate vs acceptance)?



    Always interested in St Louis MO & IL metro area and Evansville IN national bank notes and Vatican/papal states coins and medals!
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