US Coins

It's all about Treasury policy

Some questions with respect to the new $100 Federal Reserve note:

Using the serial number of the note illustrated in the Nov. 4 issue of Coin World, LE38548402B, what do the letters L and B designate?

I know the letter E stands for the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond, Va.

Since we now have a different Treasury secretary, isn’t another new series designation required?

Dave Holt

Rogers, Ark.

The first of the two letters preceding the serial number indicates the series year date and the second letter, as noted, indicates the Federal Reserve Bank for which the note was printed.

Double prefix letters in front of the serial number were introduced beginning in 1996 when the $100 FRN was first redesigned.

Previously, just one prefix letter, representing the Federal Reserve Bank, was used. The double prefix letters also appear on the redesigned $50, $20, $10 and $5 FRNs released since 1996.

The suffix letter at the end of a serial number represents the number of times a set of serial numbers has been exhausted for a particular denomination, series and Federal Reserve Bank. The suffix letter advances (from A to B to C and so on) when the upper limit is reached for the serial number. The serial numbers can then repeat.

Serial numbers do not advance sequentially on an individual sheet; rather, the serial numbers decrease through the depth of the stack of currency. This process permits the notes to stack up in proper numerical sequence during their final processing.

Historically the series year date was changed or a letter was added to it whenever there was a change in the Treasury secretary, U.S. treasurer or a significant design change. More recently, the series date on the face of each bill has signified the year in which the design of the note was approved or design changes were made.

The Series 2009A designation for the new $100 FRNs reflects the gaps in production and time between the approval of the design in 2009 and the notes’ release into circulation on Oct. 8.

Over time, the government has modified its policies regarding series dates. At one time the series date changed only when a new Treasury secretary was confirmed or a major redesign of the currency occurred. However, during that same period of time, when a capital letter followed the series year, it indicated a new treasurer had been appointed but the Treasury secretary remained the same.

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