Definition of Elements on US FRN's
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7 posts in this topic

I am not a currency collector but have a few notes that I found during the course of my coin hunting. Currency is interesting and something I would like to better understand. So let's start with a basic question: What do all of the numbers and symbols on a note mean?

 

I know that the serial number begins with the "code" for the Federal Reserve Bank for which the note was printed (A=Boston, B=New York, C=Philadelphia, D=Richmond, etc). But I purchased a $2 FRN for the NY Fed in a folder and started looking at it carefully. I saw the "FW" that was once pointed out in another post meaning that the note was printed at the Fort Worth facility. After the "FW" is a larger "B" and a smaller "20". Can I assume that the "B" is for the New York Fed? What about the four "2"s around the front of the note? I an not sure that has anything to do with the denomination because I have a $10 note in my pocket that has 9's. What about the "B2" in the upper left?

 

On the back in the lower right there is a number "27". What does that mean?

 

The serial number of this note does not end with a star, which I know means that it is not a replacement note. But is there anything else I missed? Is there a pictorial reference I can use to help?

 

THANK YOU for any information!!

 

Scott :hi:

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I know that the serial number begins with the "code" for the Federal Reserve Bank for which the note was printed (A=Boston, B=New York, C=Philadelphia, D=Richmond, etc)

That is correct for the one and two dollar notes. For the larger denominations that begin with two letters, the second letter is the Federal Reserve bank letter. The first letter is just part of the serial number that extends the number of notes that can be printed in a series.

 

I saw the "FW" that was once pointed out in another post meaning that the note was printed at the Fort Worth facility.

That is correct.

 

After the "FW" is a larger "B" and a smaller "20". Can I assume that the "B" is for the New York Fed?

No that isn't right. The B is part of a code the indicates where in the sheet the note. I'll explain how it works in minute. The 20 is the serial number for the front plate that printed that sheet of notes.

 

What about the four "2"s around the front of the note? I an not sure that has anything to do with the denomination because I have a $10 note in my pocket that has 9's.

The four large numbers found in the corners of the note can be 1 through 12 and represent the number of the Federal Reserve Bank district. 2 = B = New York. On current denominations larger than $2 there is a letter and number combination below the left serial number for the Federal Reserve. So if your note had been a $5 it would have a large B2 below the serial number.

 

What about the "B2" in the upper left?

We are back to the sheet position code again. This B means the same thing as the B in the B20 as the lower right. Here is how it works.

 

Each sheet has 32 notes, 4 notes wide by 8 notes high. The sheet is divided into four quadrants numbered in this fashion:

 

1 2

3 4

 

Each of these quadrants is 8 notes, 2 wide by 4 high. Each note position is lettered in this fashion:

 

A E

B F

C G

D H

 

So your note, B2, came from B position in quadrant 2. The full sheet looks like this:

 

A1 E1 A2 E2

B1 F1 B2 F2

C1 G1 C2 G2

D1 H1 D2 H2

A3 E3 A4 E4

B3 F3 B4 F4

C3 G3 C4 G4

D3 H3 D4 H4

 

Your note is third over, second down.

 

On the back in the lower right there is a number "27". What does that mean?

That is the serial number for the plate that printed the back of the note. By the way, one plate prints all 32 notes at once and has its serial number on it 32 times.

Edited by Conder101
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THANK YOU Jamie and Conder for the excellent information.

 

Jamie: That is a great site. Simple and to the point. It has a lot of great information. You are right... you can write a book on this stuff. I wonder of the site owner would consider that?

 

Conder: That is great stuff! You did a great job explaining these symbols. I especially like the explanation on plate positioning. I did not know that the BEP did this. I started to look at other notes to see where their elements are printed.

 

Here is an interesting follow up question... I bought three notes. When I looked at the other two notes, because the serial numbers are consecutive, I expected them to be in different positions. But all of the notes were marked as printed in position B2. In trying to logically think through this, I then thought about the cutting and stacking process. Can I assume that when the serial numbers are added to the notes (I know printing is done in two steps) that each position is printed in numerical order so that when the notes are cut, they are pre-stacked in order? It is the only thing that makes sense to me?

 

GREAT STUFF! THANKS!!!!

 

Scott :hi:

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I will only add that on the newer notes, the first letter in the serial number is an indicator of the series. All the 1996 notes start with A, the 1999 start with B and onwards from there.

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Can I assume that when the serial numbers are added to the notes (I know printing is done in two steps) that each position is printed in numerical order so that when the notes are cut, they are pre-stacked in order?

Exactly right. I no longer have my uncut sheet so I can't tell you for sure what the number spacing is on the sheets but I believe each note is 4000 greater than the note above it on the sheet. The sheets are serial numbered starting with the HIGH numbers for the run and then the numbers decrease as each sheet is printed. That way as the sheets are printed and stacked the numbers INCREASE consecutively as you go down through the stack. The sheets are stacked 100 sheets at a time, cut and banded. Do that 40 times and then the packs are stacked and wrapped into bricks of 4,000 consecutively numbered notes.

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