Friday, February 29, 2008

BEP Offers 2008 $2 Single Note (New York)

By Bureau of Engraving and Printing on Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is excited to celebrate the year 2008 by offering the 2008 $2 Single Note. This product features a crisp, uncirculated Series 2003A $2 note with a serial number beginning with “2008xxxxD.” Each 2008 $2 Single Note is protected by a clear, acid-free polymer sleeve, in a commemorative 2008 folder.

The second Federal Reserve Bank designation that will be offered for the 2008 $2 Single Note is New York. Other Bank designations will be made available during calendar year 2008. Total quantity available for this product is 10,000 notes.

This product is limited to 100 units per household during the quantity restriction period from February 25 - March 9, 2008.

First Redesigned U. S. $5 Bill to Be Released on March 13, 2008

By Bureau of Engraving and Printing on Friday, February 15, 2008

The first redesigned $5 bill, which will continue to feature the portrait of President Abraham Lincoln, will enter circulation on March 13 and will be spent at the gift shop of President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home in Washington, D.C. The venue, which has recently been restored and open to the public, was used by President Lincoln as a retreat. President Lincoln understood that maintaining the integrity of U.S. currency was critical to the stability of our economy. In fact, President Lincoln established the United States Secret Service the same evening he was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. and made it the agency’s primary mission to safeguard the nation’s currency from counterfeiters.

On March 13, Federal Reserve banks will begin distributing redesigned $5 bills to customer banks, which will then distribute currency to businesses and consumers. The new bills will first begin circulating in the U.S. and gradually in other countries as international banks place orders for $5 bills from the Federal Reserve. Older-design $5 bills will maintain their full face value. Therefore, it will not be necessary to trade in old $5 bills for new ones.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Non-George U. S. $1 Bills

Everybody knows George Washington is on the face of the one-dollar bills. But that was not always the case. In fact, the first $1 bills issued by the Federal Government in 1862 carried the portrait of Salmon P. Chase. It was not until 1869 that the portrait of George Washington was first used on the $1 bills.

Non-George $1 Bills - These notes as a group are known as large size notes because in 1929, the size of all U. S. notes was reduced to about 2/3 of its former size.

United States Note (also known as Legal Tender Note) Series 1862 - Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury 1861-1864

Silver Certificate Series 1886 and 1891 – Martha Washington, wife of the President

Treasury Note (also known as Coin Note) Series 1890 and 1891 – Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War 1862-1868

Silver Certificate (also known as Educational series) Series 1896 – Allegorical figures of Woman and Child.

Silver Certificate Series 1899 – American eagle

Are they beautiful? Regret to say that today's U. S. notes are, in my opinion, so ugly.

You can view my entire bank note collection at Tom Chao’s Paper Money Gallery

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Great Seal Secrets Revealed!

By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writer
Tue Feb 12, 4:03 PM ET

Conspiracy theorists take note: The myths surrounding one of America's oldest and most enduring national symbols are about to be debunked ... if you believe the government, that is.

The keepers of the Great Seal of the United States, the familiar emblem on the back of the $1 bill, want you to know what it is not. It is not a sign that Freemasons run the country, it has nothing to do with the occult, and it does not contain clues to a fabulous hidden treasure.

It is rather the nation's stamp of authority, sovereignty and power, gracing our cash and embossing the most important of documents from its home at the State Department, which has held it since the days of Thomas Jefferson, the first secretary of state.

Not that the Seal's symbols — the all-seeing eye, the unfinished pyramid, the Latin phrases, the bald eagle clutching an olive branch and arrows and the number 13 — aren't powerful.

They are, historians say. Yet their meanings have been misidentified, misunderstood and misrepresented almost since the Continental Congress first commissioned the Seal in 1776.

It would be another six years before the original design was approved and another 128 before it evolved into its current form. Along the way, a movement to decipher the Seal's meaning with ancient Egyptian, mystical and otherwise otherworldly explanations has gained currency.

The Internet age has seen an explosion in such conspiracy theories, many which have now been ingrained in public consciousness through the popular "National Treasure" movie franchise that serves up a combination of Masonic lore and historical myths in blockbuster Hollywood fashion.

Among them:

_That the Seal proves the domination of the United States by a powerful, quasi-religious cult. The Ancient Scottish Rite of Freemasonry is a perennial favorite of conspiracy theorists as some Founding Fathers were Masons and the Seal uses several Masonic symbols.

_That the Seal draws on Satanism or polytheistic ritual to promote a universal new world order under which Earth would be ruled by a single omnipotent government.

_That repeated references to 13 — the number of steps in the unfinished pyramid, stars in the constellation over the eagle's head, arrows in the eagle's claw, stripes on the eagle's shield, letters in the phrase "Annuit Coeptis" — demonstrate the power of 13 American families.

_That there are two seals: one in which the eagle's head faces the arrows for times of war and another in which the eagle's head faces the olive branch for times of peace.

All rubbish, according to historians, who say the Seal's symbolism is far less ominous or revelatory than many believe.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the Seal's 66th and current custodian, on Tuesday inaugurated a new exhibition to commemorate its 225th birthday and trace the history and evolution of the symbolism.

"This exhibit honoring the Great Seal affirms our continued belief in the values of our founding," she said. "The Great Seal symbolizes the unity, strength and independence of a new nation, the United States of America."

The Seal will remain at the State Department but the interactive exhibit is designed to travel and curators hope it will dispel the rumors and educate Americans about the real meaning of the symbols.

Among the highlights:

_That known Masons like the first U.S. president, George Washington, and Benjamin Franklin had no role in designing the final seal, which uses elements of traditional heraldry, such as the unfinished pyramid to symbolize a work in progress, arrows for war and an olive branch for peace. Masons share some of those symbols, but they have never been exclusively the domain of the order.

_That the phrase "Novus Ordo Seculorum" below the Roman numerals for 1776 at the base of the pyramid translates as "A New Order of the Ages" that began with independence and does not imply the United States will be the lynchpin of a sinister "New World Order."

_That the words "Annuit Coeptis" ("Providence favors") and the eye of providence that hovers over the pyramid refer to unexpected interventions of fate that assisted the colonists in creating a new country.

_That the references to 13 refer to the number of colonies that formed the original United States.

"People are just not aware of the complexity and intent of the symbolism and what our Founding Fathers were trying to do with it," said Priscilla Linn, senior curator at the U.S. Diplomacy Center. "The hidden treasure in the Seal is the courage and presence of mind of the people who created it and created these values for the whole country."

Monday, February 4, 2008

Fancy Number Banknotes

Many collectors specialize in collecting banknotes with unusual serial numbers. Some banknotes with sought after numbers can be worth a lot more than those with random numbers.

Examples of fancy numbers are:


If all the digits in the serial number are the same, it is called a solid note. Solid notes are extremely rare. Examples are 00000000, 55555555, 44444444, and 88888888.

Serial number 00000000 is usually reserved for specimen notes

Eight (8) is considered the most lucky number for the Chinese people around the world. The word “eight” in Chinese sounds similar to the word meaning “prosperity”. So notes with solid number 88888888 are highly in demand. Four (4), on the other hand, is a number to avoid because it sounds similar to the word meaning “death”.

Low Serial Number

The lower the serial number, the more valuable is the note. A serial number of 00000001 is very hard to get. Actually, any number under 1000 is desirable.


A serial number that reads the same forwards and backwards is a radar note. For example, number 54344345 is a radar serial number because you can reverse the digits and it will still be the same number.


A note with a serial number containing just two unique digits is a binary note. An example is number 7575757. If all the digits consist of only 0s and 1s, then it’s a true binary. An example is number 01110011.


When a serial number contains pairs of numbers, it’s a doubles note. An example of a doubles is 11993355.


Serial numbers with a sequence of numbers that repeats itself is a repeater. Serial number 11221122 is examples of repeaters.

You can have various combinations of the above three categories.
Binary Repeater: 10101010
Doubles Repeater: 33663366
Binary Doubles Repeater: 11001100


Consecutive notes are two or more separate notes with consecutive serial numbers. You have two consecutive notes if one has a serial number 063348 and the other 3063349.


A bookend note has a serial number having the same sequence of digits at both ends. An example is serial number 20516320. “20” is the sequence of digits appearing at both the beginning and end of the serial number.


When a serial number with digits either in ascending or descending numerical sequence, it’s a ladder note. An example of ladder note is serial number 23455432 which also happens to be a radar note.


If a serial number contains a sequence of digits representing the year of one's birthday, then it's a birthday note. For example, suppose you were born on November 15, 1953, 11151953 would be your birthday banknote.
Since birthday serial number is of interest only to you, it’s probably more affordable if you can find one.