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Collectors Continue to Report New Finds
By Ed Zegers

I have 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 notes.

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 right corner.

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 control counterfeiting.

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 money goes.

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 notes.

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 denomination.

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 numbers.

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 (unconfirmed).

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 of collectors.

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 September 2008.

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 production report.
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 micro printing.

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 kwinograd@snet.net. You can contact me at dollarsavr@aol.com.


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