The following is the third in a series of posts on
double-denomination U.S. notes.
Part 4: Fractionals and today
Several possible double-denomination notes have been identified
among the fractional currency notes used during the Civil War and
Reconstruction, though their designation is not without some controversy.
Frederick J. Bart, in his 2008 book United States Paper Money
Errors: A Comprehensive Catalog & Price Guide, writes:
“Until the recent past, genuine double denomination errors on
fractional currency remained unverified. Notes advertised or
catalogued as double denominations were later proven to be skillfully
adjoined fiber paper notes of different face and back values. However,
a couple of fractional currency pieces have appeared at public auction
bearing every conceivable characteristic of a genuine double denomination.’
Bart also writes of different kinds of errors rumored or issued
since the Series 1974 error. These more recent types can occur because
of the use of watermarks and security threads specific to a denomination.
It is possible that a sheet containing these security devices
designed and positioned for one denomination could be used to print
the face and back of another denomination, Bart writes. Whether any
errors of this sort have been produced remains uncertain.
New examples of older double-denomination errors are found on
occasion, like a recently discovered $10/$20 Second Charter Value Back
note from the First National Bank of Pinckneyville (Illinois), to be
offered at auction in July by Manifest Auctions.
However, it is uncertain whether it’s possible for new traditional
double-denomination notes to be produced. The printing and inspection
systems in use by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing are years more
advanced now than when human eyeballs were the only means by which
sheets of notes could be examined for errors.
For those lucky enough to own a double-denomination note, they own
the best. “No other mistake conjures the romance, mystique, and
fascination,” Bart writes. Double-denomination notes are, as they are
often called, the king of paper money errors.