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How to Determine What is a Crossover Note
By Ed Zegers
Bank Note Reporter

For me, a "crossover note" is any $1 Federal Reserve Note that exhibits an incorrect Face Plate Position Identification letter, number, or both. The FPP# is an essential security display point that is found in the upper left corner on the face of any $1 FRN. The FPP# contains a position letter plus a single-digit number.

The FPP#s are predictable and are determined by the number of sheets the Bureau of Engraving and Printing utilizes for a process run. Every note in any new pack should have the exact same FPP# on the entire 100 notes, i.e., if the first starts with "A1," then "each" should have an "A1." The anomalies were originally observed while searching through BEP 100-note packs of Series 1999 A-A block packs and in some circulated star $1 notes data on our list.

Historically, the BEP usually produces star replacements "as required," because the stars are used as replacements for defective or damaged business block notes. Rather than reprinting an exact replacement of FRN serial numbers, a star note is used instead.

In order to know how many individual star notes to make, the BEP will first produce a substantial quantity of the regular $1 notes and then determine how many were defective. They may immediately print star notes for a large inking failure, mutilation, or wait until the end of a block at 96 million notes. Only the BEP knows for sure.

Far fewer star-note runs are produced than the 15 full runs of a 96 million-note block of business FRNs. A full run for $1 FRN star replacement notes utilizes 100,000 sheets, making 3.2 million notes, which is exactly one half the amount of sheets used in a full business run of 6,400,000 notes.

Additionally, shorter star runs, containing fewer sheets, are also produced: 80,000 sheets (2.56 million notes), 60,000 (1.92 million), 40,000 (1.28 million), 20,000 (640,000), 10,000 (320,000), or 5,000 (160,000) are made. This action seems to be uncommon for the business blocks, except for special printings made for collectors.



Rule of Thumb

Flip through any brand new BEP pack of $1 FRNs, while observing the upper left corner where the FFP# resides. If you notice a change in the FPP letter (A - H) or number (1 - 4), then you have discovered a crossover note. (See scan of 1999 A-A notes.) If the letter and number of the FPP# both change, it probably is a star-replacement note.



Factoid

Some star-note sheets are produced and sold to collectors and are specially numbered starting at/above 99,840,001 through 99,999,998. The notes for 99,999,999 and 100,000,000 are replaced. The highest $1 FRN star note serial number reported (1963 to date) is from the 1963B series and is reported by Robert Azpiazu to have ended with serial number G55040000*.

Recently, I entered some new data to my historical records of 1995 $1 star notes. While doing so, a rediscovery was made that will illustrate why I find crossover notes to be very interesting. I will use these specific notes as my examples.

Two of my Series 1995 $1 star notes, FRN serial Nos. E09921812* and F09992012, have incorrect FPP numbers. The actual numbers on the notes are "D3" and "D2." The first falls within a 100,000 sheet full-star-run serial number range. To be correct the serial number should display a "D1." The second is from a 48,000 sheet shorter run and serial number range, and so the serial number should display "A2." Also, the serial numbers are only 70,200 apart, so we also can see that they should have the same FPP#, but they do not.

And, the above star-replacement notes are from production runs made in DC ("E" from run printed in January 2000 and the "F" from a run printed in August 1996) in different years. To add to the mystery, I have added a third crossover specimen, serial No. F10121669* from August 1996 with FPP# "G3" and, according to the chart, that serial number should have "C2." I classify such a deviation from the textbook expectations as "outrageous." Eleven are from DC and two from Fort Worth, and so far, all of the crossover items found on this list fit into just two categories: "simple" and "outrageous."

The only thing I can fathom about how they were made is that outrageous crossover notes are produced from random sheets rescued and then reused.

The reason that so few of the outrageous notes identified on the list are available for scanning is because we no longer have them. They were discovered after I and others gave them up in trades to other collectors or sold them. At first we thought they were just typos on the list, but other collector reports have confirmed their existence. To date, there are 13 outrageous crossover notes on the 6,500-item list, and these notes defy reasonable explanation as to how they were made. As I mentioned, 11 are from DC and two from Fort Worth, and so far all of the crossover items found and listed fit into two categories (see list). By the way, these crossover anomalies were partially responsible for my study of $1 FRN star notes.

What is their significance? I do not know for certain. I am hoping that collectors will provide some answers to this question.

How and why are crossover notes created? This is a manufacturing process mystery that is yet to be solved. It may be because of human intervention during a quality control inspection of the preprinted sheets.

For this diagnostic report, I am going to use records of the $1 FRN star replacement notes from 1995-2003A. The collected data is from actual star notes that are: 1.) in personal collections; 2.) reside in the collections of colleagues and friends; or 3) have passed through our hands. Each of these items has been logged and processed and then was exposed to a computer program created by my colleague. So, let's first review some known $1 BEP production and accounting standards.

As I understand it, just prior to adding the third printing of the green and black Federal Reserve features, the 32-subject sheets are divided into two halves, A and B. This is done prior to Currency Overprinting Processing Equipment processing by splitting the sheet down the middle. The actual cut made is directly between the "E-1" and "A-3" position margins as the sheet is halved from top to bottom. Stack "A" contains the "A1 - H2" positions and stack "B" contains the "A3 - H4" positions.

Next, the automated C.O.P.E. device feeds those mixed-up sheets into the numbering section. Here the green and black ink is applied, completing the FRN numbering printing process. As the completed sheets continue along their designated path, they are further sliced, this time into a two-note pair (A1 and E1, B1 and F1, etc.).

Finally, they are cut into single notes and stacked into 100-note completed piles, to which the BEP wrapper is applied. They are then made into 10-high stacks and wrapped in plastic. All shrink-wrapped packages contain 10 individual packs of 100 notes. Lastly, they are automatically labeled and placed on pallets for shipping.

Right here I must deviate slightly from the printing process and review some BEP quality control and cost accounting efforts. We all know that after the second printing of 32-subject sheets, some/many are found to contain ink smears, overprintings, damage, or other defects. So, let's suppose that the defective sheets are pulled from the good sheets, set aside, and assessed for adaptability.

Now let's assume that only half of any bad sheet is defective. So, for efficiency, imagine BEP personnel cutting those damaged sheets with the bad half being removed for destruction and the other half set aside for reuse. Now imagine where the BEP could use half sheets. Well, the C.O.P.E. process uses half sheets. This is one thought about where both the "simple" shuffle and "outrageous" change in positions could occur. Does the BEP cutoff end columns of notes and use only the center columns? If so, the outrageous notes are possible.

I also believe at some point during normal processing, the C.O.P.E. printing technician selects a hand full of sheets for quality control visual inspection (looking for defects, mutilations, etc.), then simply replaces them, but accidentally puts them into the opposite pile from where he had originally made his selection. One hundred sheets from column "B" substituted into column "A," creating a "simple" C.O.P.E. crossover "A3 to A1." To date, there are 86 simple crossover items listed (76 from DC and 10 from Fort Worth).

Also, there seem to be a large amount of current Series 2003A F star crossover notes.

This may only be an illusion, as 2003A are more common (right now) since they are still in circulation, and because we are actively searching for them. The F star notes are from a full 3.2-million note DC star-run/Process (4). This was a full 100,000-sheet run.

These crossover notes show us a definite pattern. Both simple and outrageous crossover notes are found between sheet No. 94,500 and No. 99,999. I now list 25 different positions, and am just seven positions short for a 32-position sheet re-creation set. And, if you have any of the missing positions (G1, D2, E3, H3, B4, C4, E4) and want to assist, I can always use your help.

I definitely lean toward the idea that crossover notes first began to show up when the C.O.P.E. was installed midway during the 1988A series. I don't believe they have been produced in the earlier series FRNs, because I do not list any specimens, but I am only guessing. If you are able to view and study the data list, you should observe some other very interesting items. (The data is in Microsoft Excel spread sheets and available only by e-mail until I find some way to place it on a Web site.)

I should mention that I do not know of any other studies about crossover notes, past or present. However, I do know these notes exist in other later series of the higher denominations, such as $5, $10 and $20 FRN star blocks.

It is my biggest hope that disclosure of this mystery, its origins, significance, and cause will bring about additional star note anomaly reports and information about them to surface. I am certain that there are many more crossover notes and detailed information that could help to explain this situation. However, I am also concerned that only those collecdddtors who maintain detailed lists will choose to observe and report this discreet change. Your reports, thoughts, and comments are always welcome and definitely encouraged.

For current and historical information, I use hard copies of the monthly BEP production reports from 1974-1995 and now the monthly BEP update report found at the Money Factory Web site starting in October 2002. Visit: http://www.bep.treas.gov/section.cfm/2/431.

Now, I must thank some collaborators, like Karol Winograd. I really appreciate his computer expertise and the software program he developed that we use on the complete list of star notes. It allows us to find and identify these anomalies much faster than before.

There are other collectors to thank for sharing their personal historical data contributions: Robert Grenier, Gregg Simms, Charlie Weko, Greg McNeal, Rick Grunninger, Rich McAllister, and the Krolikowski brothers, Hank and Stas. And, I am especially grateful for the accurate compilation of all FRN data by Derek Moffit and his Web site, which I also use for reference:

http://www.uspapermoney.info/serials.

Thanks also to Robert Azpiazu for writing The Collectors Guide to $1 FRN's Series 1963 - 2003A, which I continually use as a resource about early FRN star replacement note run ranges. Visit www.fstctycurr.com.

You can contact me at: Ed Zegers, P.O. Box 952, Olney MD 20830-0952 or by e-mail at: dollarsavr@aol.com.

As a final note, for those who may remember my efforts to find and log the series 2003 "E-J" Block notes, I have ended the project. I never did find another "oversized" note, but thanks for your interest, help, and reports.

 



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