The Bureau of Engraving and Printing stopped making available to the public its monthly currency production reports in July 2011 because it said it was “transitioning to a new data management system.”
Since then, it has not been possible for us to accurately report on new production except based on spotty accounts of unpublished notes found in circulation. The BEP says it expects to publicly resume reporting beginning in October 2012.
However, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request by an enterprising collector, the BEP released its monthly reports from August 2011 through March 2012, and as a result, quite a few new issues are posted online at Coin World’s Paper Money Values.
These reports reflect the number of notes printed, but the BEP says on its website that when reporting resumes in October it will publicly report only currency deliveries to the Federal Reserve System. Sooner or later, we can expect that these two numbers will balance out.
We are still unsure when the problems with the high-tech, Series 2009 $100 Federal Reserve notes will be resolved and production will resume full tilt.
In the interim, a series of $100 FRNs that was never planned to exist, 2006A, is in full production in Washington, D.C.; more than 600 million notes total have thus far been printed, representing every Federal Reserve district and including star notes printed for three districts.
Meanwhile the paper money auction circuit has been busy. The Central States Numismatic Society paper money sale conducted by Heritage Auctions in April resulted in close to $4 million in sales. At $138,000, the star of the show was the finest known graded example of the legendary “Technicolor note.”
This $20 gold certificate from the Series of 1905, Friedberg 1179 (Paper Money of the United States by Arthur L. Friedberg and Ira S. Friedberg), owes its nickname to the radiant golden coloring on the obverse. It was described by the cataloger as “superb” in every respect and was graded gem Uncirculated 67 with the additional “EPQ” designation for “exceptional paper quality.”
Two small-size $10,000 notes (F-2231-B and -C) were next on the list, realizing $86,250 and $57,500 in Uncirculated 62 and About Uncirculated 50 respectively. A pair of large-size Series 1869 United States notes (called “Rainbow notes” for their color) each sold for $29,900. One was a $20 (F-127) in choice Uncirculated 64, which was said to rank among the top five known for quality. The other was one of about 60 known of the $50 denomination (F-151). In Very Fine 25, it ranks as one of the lower grades available and this price was probably a relative bargain.
A total of 15 notes sold for more than $15,000, including two $20 Treasury notes (F-375) in gem Uncirculated 65 at $15,525 and $17,250; an 1862 $2 legal tender note (F-41a) in choice Uncirculated 64 for $20,700; and a $5 national gold bank note from San Francisco (F-1136) in Very Fine 30, a very high grade for this series, at $20,700.
As this issue goes to press the focus of the paper money world is turning toward the June 8 to 10 International Paper Money Show in Memphis, Tenn. Next month we will look at how the paper money market responded to the show.