Double-denomination U.S. notes: Is their production still possible today?

New examples of older errors can be found, but what about newly produced ones?
By , Coin World
Published : 06/26/15
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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. 

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