Collectors Continue to Report New Finds
By Ed Zegers
been asked by my colleagues to write
specifically about the Series 2006 $20 colorized
notes with micro digits in the face plate
position and the macro digits in the face plate
serial number location. These notes have
noticeably larger digits than found elsewhere on
the same note and have been identified as
printings originating from the newest, most
modern currency presses recently installed and
made operational at the Bureau of Engraving and
Printing facilities in Washington, D.C., and
Fort Worth, Texas.
It has also been confirmed by my BEP source that
the new presses have been used to print $1
Federal Reserve Notes at the Fort Worth
facility, but none have yet been reported found
in 100-note packs.
$1s and $20s from these presses can be
identified in new 100-note packs by the use of
only three rotating and then repetitive face
plate or back plate serial numbers. I was shown
a Fort Worth 32-subject sheet of $1 notes at the
BEP exhibit during the Baltimore Coin and
Currency show in March 2009.
Unfortunately, I did not fully understand their
significance or pursue the opportunity to
question the BEP official and obtain precise
details about the $1s at that time, nor was I
aware of the Super Orlof Intaglio press $20
These notes came to my attention after Nicholas
Cheung received cash from a Boston-area ATM in
May of this year. He counted his withdrawal and
noticed that a single colorized $20 note
exhibited a different appearance. He then
noticed the face plate position letter and
digits were smaller than the letter and digits
of the face plate serial number in the upper
He thought his $20 note was an error, as the
larger digits were of a size much larger than
any other $20 in his possession.
This note has the Federal Reserve Note green
serial number IG23070848D along with face plate
serial number D243 from the D3 location on the
sheet. Such data is very important to the BEP
and the Secret Service, as it is placed on each
note and utilized for security measures and to
Collectors readily recognize this information
and use it routinely to identify essential items
of interest for each denomination and series of
U.S. currency they collect.
I do not want to disappoint those who would like
to have this note recognized as an error note
rather than something else. However, this is
still a rare occurrence as collecting U.S. paper
These $20s display macro-size digits and are
from the new SOI presses. It was first thought
that the notes were test or trial issues with
the number being enlarged so that they could be
easily identified. If this were the case, then
it's likely the Treasury Department or BEP
ddin't want these items to be discovered or
revealed until much later (if ever).
That way, only the BEP would know what to look
for, recover, and test them at its convenience
at a later date.
The BEP would probably have appreciated it if
the public never found out at all.
It wouldn't have been the first time the BEP
tested notes. Remember the experimental 1935A $1
"R" and "S" Blue Seal Silver Certificates. At
that time, the "R" was thought to stand for the
"regular" and the "S" was for the "special
paper" being tested.
Then, in 1981, the "Natick" test paper was used
to print $1 notes of the Richmond District. For
these similar tests, the BEP used a different
technique in that the notes were printed with
BEP designated and predetermined gaps in the
serial numbers for the $1 regular and star
I am sure there have been other unannounced
trial or test note runs as well, not forgetting
to remember the 1988A, 1993, and 1995 series $1
Web notes. And what about those Web note stars,
which were supposedly never printed but were
found in circulation?
Most interestingly, there was a $1 FRN with a
small FW back plate serial number 295, which was
not a test but an engraving error. Macro-size
digits are the norm for all FW $1s.
The error 295s are found in 12 regular blocks
and 74 runs along with some one block and run of
G star notes (having only 14 specimens known).
This was officially declared an error by BEP.
The same-size 295 back plate serial number was
also found on the 1995 D.C.-produced notes, but
the size was normal for the D.C. $1 notes.
I have also found reference to micro and macro
back plate digits in several denominations of
earlier FRNs that were utilized to distinguish a
few from many other notes of the same
So, trial or test notes are not uncommon. But
now it is up to collectors and researchers to be
the ultimate inspectors and find out how large
this SOI printing is and also how long we will
being seeing such notes.
The SOI press is a new type of high-speed
printing press that is capable of printing
50-note sheets from a three plate rotation (150
notes) rather than the current 32-note four
plate rotation (160 notes). This difference has
economic and cost implications for the BEP.
As I understand it, the SOI notes were all
printed in the 32-note format and can be
recognized by a three plate serial number
printing followed by a repeat of the same three
face plate and/or three back plate serial
This is the point at which I usually report the
finds of a few dedicated individuals. I also
include a few factoids just for fun.
1. Commonality. SOI (50-note per sheet)
machinery was probably first used or tested for
printings of $20 FRNs in August or September
2008. Little information about the $1s and FW
tests has been disclosed to date.
SOI $20s are all from D.C. SOI printings and are
identified by different face plate and back
plate serial numbers, and then repeated for the
next three FRNs in a consecutive sequence. This
should also identify the $1 FRNs. Printing is
currently for the normal 32-note sheet.
At some point in time this will again change
when the 50-subject printings start.
2. Identity. The $20 notes are all from D.C. and
have large digits in the face plate serial
numbers but not as large as the lead letter
(when compare to the plate position digits in
the lower left corner on the face of the note).
The $1s from FW will also exhibit the three note
face plate or back plate serial numbers in a
repetitive sequence that will be found and
identifiable only in new packs.
Watch for and report them too.
3. Details for blocks and runs. We have now
identified SOI notes for the following Series
2006 D.C. $20 FRNs:F-D has five runs with trial
notes, IF-E has two, IG-C has two, IG-D has
seven, IH-A has one, and IL-D has two
Remember, these are the notes that have been
reported. There may be other notes that have not
yet been discovered and reported by our network
4. Details for face plate serial numbers. At
this point in time, SOI notes have been reported
and found to carry face plate serial numbers
higher than 200 with the following located: 241,
242, 243, 244, 246, 247, 249, 251, 262, 346,
353, 356, 357, 361, 364, 367, 369, and 370. As a
starting point, these are all that we have.
5. Details for the back plate serial numbers
differ, as they seem to be combined with the
large face plate digits starting with 180 and
advance sporadically to higher numbers with 254
being the highest reported so far.
6. Printings. We have studied the available
information and find that the face printings
probable began sometime in the August to
September 2008 with the later C.O.P.E. printings
probably in September and October 2008.
The first notes being reported by collectors
were from the BEP production report dated
Not having worked in or at the BEP, these are
only my opinions based on information we have
received up to this point.
7. Karol Winograd has compiled the following
data points for us:
a.) To date, 105 D.C. possible block/run
combinations have been reported as produced in
the BEP monthly production reports.
b.) The first macro-digit note found and
reported was from the September 2008 BEP
c.) Of the 38 macro/micro digit size block/run
possible combinations reported to date only 16
runs have had the trial or test notes with only
one confirmed having displayed a mixed macro and
There are still 67 block/run combinations
unreported for either the macro or micro size.
Our charts, which I have adapted from Karol
Winograd's data-keeping program, display most of
the items discussed above. They are available in
MSWorks Excel format via e-mail.
I hope you enjoy searching for them and will
contribute to our efforts so that others may
enjoy and learn from our finds.
Remember, we are actively searching for the two
star blocks printed during this time frame.
Please help us and report any 2006 $20 IG-* or
IK-* you find.
Should you want to connect with Karol, his
e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can
contact me at email@example.com.