The description for mules is needlessly confusing and frustrating. The PMG article does not explain enough.
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27 posts

From what I have read concerning Mules, about every article differentiates between the size of the micro numbering between the front and the back of the note and whether it is .6mm or 1mm and also indicating that the microprinting was switched to the larger size 1mm.  My problem is that there are TWO plate sets on the front and one on the back.  On my 20's, the left side of the front has the number next to "E" as a .6mm and on the right side, the number next to the letter is 1mm.  How do I compare the back with the front when the plate on the front has a micro number on the left side that is smaller than the micro number on the right side???

Also, I got the impression that .6mm micro plate numbers were phased out in the newer bills which is fine but my 2013 One dollar bills have .6mm Plate stamp numbers on the right side of the bill.  That is two different sets of 2013 with two different Federal Reserve branches:  San Francisco and Philadelphia.  The left side plate stamp on the one's are the larger 1mm that matches the 1mm on the back.  In summary, I have $1, 2013 bills with .6mm on the right front, 1mm on the left front and 1mm on the rear AND $20 bills from 2017 with .6mm on the left front, 1mm on the right front, and 1mm on the rear.  ALSO, I have 2013, $20 bills with .6mm on the left front, .6mm on the right front and .6mm on the back.  WHAT'S UP???  Have the .6mm numbers been phased out or not?  Do I compare the right side plate number ONLY to the back and ignore the left side plate number?  It doesn't look like the right front plate number and left front plate number match in size very often.

Thank you for any feedback 

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348 posts

Good morning, thanks for your message.  I forwarded your message over to our research department and they advised that the $20 bill you are referring to was printed on an SOI press and we do notate this on our label.  You can find out more about the SOI Press $20 notes here:  http://www.uspapermoney.info/general/soi.html

Thank you!

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Posted (edited)

Thank you very much for showing me that chart but that shows the press letter and number in the upper right, not the one that is in the lower left.  From what I can tell, it appears that the upper right number, next to the letter, varies even when bills are in sequence suggesting that individual plates are stacked together to print sheets, however, the lower left letter and number remain the same suggesting that printing a sheet of notes uses the same, one big plate for some part of the front of the note.  The back of the note seems to operate the same as the front right serial number in that the number varies even with notes in sequence.  From the discussion of mule notes, the implication is that there are only 2 plates used to print bills, one on the front and one on the back but the left serial number being, sometimes a different size than the right side, implies that 3 plates are used to print notes instead of just 2 plates.  The left and right side letters appear to always be the same size, it is only the number that varies.  Could you elaborate please.

Also, I got the impression that micro, .6mm numbers, got replaced by macro 1mm numbers back in the 1920's and 1930's, however, my 2013 $1 bills have the smaller micro numbers .6mm on the front and the larger 1mm on the back.  Are those plates REALLY OLD or are they randomly mixing micro and macro sized numbers still with notes?

Thank you for your help.

 

DSCN4385.JPG

Edited by Luckyjeff
Adding picture to show mini left plate stamp and big right stamp
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5 posts

I also find this to be really confusing.

I am trying to build a comprehensive list of all modern small sized notes that are also available as mules, because there are MANY graded notes in the wild that are attributed as Mules, but that the plate numbers absolutely are the same size.

It seems that a size difference is no longer required for a note to be considered a mule.

Additionally confusing is the fact that PMG claims to refer to the "Paper Money of the United States" publication by Arthur and Ira Friedberg, but this is obviously a lie, as they absolutely DO NOT list any mules on any modern notes since at least the 1960's, yet many of their notes definitely have this designation.

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9 hours ago, spot10 said:

I also find this to be really confusing.

I am trying to build a comprehensive list of all modern small sized notes that are also available as mules, because there are MANY graded notes in the wild that are attributed as Mules, but that the plate numbers absolutely are the same size.

It seems that a size difference is no longer required for a note to be considered a mule.

Additionally confusing is the fact that PMG claims to refer to the "Paper Money of the United States" publication by Arthur and Ira Friedberg, but this is obviously a lie, as they absolutely DO NOT list any mules on any modern notes since at least the 1960's, yet many of their notes definitely have this designation.

Thank you, now I don't feel like I am as much of a dummy.  It should be pretty simple, look on the front and the back and if the size of the numbers don't match as either .6mm or 1mm then its a mule.  That extra plate number on the left side of the front throws a curve.  It's there for a reason and it appears to regularly be a different size than the right side plate number.  That left plate number, being the same for consecutive notes, suggests that is is sheet sized plate and not a bill sized plate.  It's odd that early notes just had a letter on the left side but the new bills have a letter AND a number on the left and right side of the bill.

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