The uncut sheets of $1 Federal Reserve notes sold to collectors have
gotten a lot larger.
When the first $1 notes printed on 50-subject sheets entered
circulation early in 2014, it signaled the first time in over half a
century that there was a change in the method of printing U.S.
currency. Ever since 1957, 32-subject sheets had been the standard.
Now, after a two-year wait, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing
will begin offering the 50-subject sheets for sale to collectors on
Aug. 9. The Series 2013 Dallas district notes, printed at the Fort
Worth facility, will be offered as a full sheet and in smaller sizes
The full 50-subject sheet costs $86, a 25-subject version is priced
at $50.50, a 20-subject sheet costs $43, a 10-subject version is
priced at $27, and a five-subject sheet will set collectors back $18.50.
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The $1 notes have the signatures of Treasury Secretary Jacob “Jack”
Lew and Treasurer Rosa “Rosie” Gumataotao Rios, who just left office.
How is the 50-subject
sheet different for collectors?
Use of a larger sheet of currency paper on which the 50-subject
notes are printed results in some changes to the “codes” found on the
faces of the notes. Astute paper money collectors have for generations
used the codes to determine the exact position of any given note on
its original sheet. And while noncollectors might wonder why
specialists might want to know a note’s position, that knowledge has
been useful for collectors of error notes.
The 32-subject sheets are printed with notes arranged in four
quadrants of eight notes each, with the notes in each quadrant
arranged in two vertical and adjacent columns of four notes each.
Notes in each quadrant are lettered A through H, with quadrants
numbered from 1 to 4. The pairing of the letter and numeral such as A2
or D1 is a “code” or plate position indicator that identifies sheet position.
The revised arrangement of the 50-subject sheets comprises 10
horizontal rows of five notes each. Starting in the top left corner,
notes are numbered from A1 to A5 on the top row, to J1 to J5 on the
bottom row. In addition, the individual notes can be distinguished by
another important change in the identifier: On the notes from
32-subject sheets, the number is a smaller font size (half the size)
than the letter. On notes from the 50-subject sheets, the letter and
number are of the same font size, and both are about three-quarters
the height of the letter on notes from the 32-subject sheets.
The backs are the same.
The BEP provides a handy guide to the sheet arrangements and other
New product, new machine
The sheets are printed on new Super Orloff Intaglio or SOI presses
manufactured and trademarked by KBA-NotaSys SA of Lausanne,
Switzerland, that can produce 10,000 sheets per hour. The presses have
three plates; a computerized ink control system; and an electronic
inspection system. They are installed at both the Washington and Fort
Worth facilities alongside the still-used 32 subject presses.
The aggressive promotion of the sale of modern uncut sheets has been
a growth industry within the BEP. It began slowly with the
Bicentennial $2 notes of 1976 which were sold in sheets of 32, 16, and
4. Next came the Series 1981 $1 with the Buchanan-Regan signature
combination. The first $5 and $10 note sheets were from Series 1995.
Twenties made their debut with Series 1996 followed by $50 note sheets
in 2004, both only in sheets of 16, 8, and four.
For additional information about BEP or to purchase products, visit
the BEP website. BEP products
may also be ordered by telephone (1-800-456-3408), by fax
(1-888-891-7585), or mail (Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Mail
Order Sales, 515M, 14th and C Streets, SW, Washington, DC 20228).