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    Printer's Models for 1882 Brown Back to Date Back Conversion

    1882 Date Back Printer's Models From the Estate of Louis A. Coolidge, Assistant Treasurer.
    The history behind some of the changes seen on United States Currency were lost with the passing of those intimately involved in the process. In this case, Louis A. Coolidge, Assistant Treasurer of the United States set aside some of the mock-ups from his tenure at the Treasury. These "Printer's Models" were printed, then cut and pasted to reflect recent changes in law.

    In 1907, a financial panic was started when Wall Street investors tried to corner the market of the United Copper Company. When the bid failed, there was a run on the banks backing the scheme, which quickly spread like wildfire. Soon there were runs on banks all over the country. Unlike Europe, the United States did not have a central bank. A need for a more elastic money supply was apparent and by May 30, 1908, Congress passed the Aldrich-Vreeland Act. The legislation allowed national banks to issue currency backed by other securities other than United States Bonds. Those securities included municipal bonds and some types of short term loans.

    The changes in law required design changes for the bank notes being issued under the National Banking System. Two types of notes were in use, Brown Backs and Red Seals. The proposed changes can be seen in this lot and the next. All of the denominations in use for Brown Backs are represented in this lot, with their changes to the Date Back design. In most instances, the design changes were used in their entirety, in others the changes were not made. The two more important changes were the addition of the dates 1882-1908 on the back at center where the charter number used to be engraved, and the change of the clause, "Secured by United States Bonds Deposited with the Treasury of the United States," to "This Note is Secured by Bonds of the United States or Other Securities."

    To reduce the work load on the engravers, the new plates for the Brown Back to Date Back conversion homogenized the back design. They no longer featured the charter number at center and in the border design and the state seals were done away with. It is interesting to note, that in place of the state seals and other designs in the ovals used on back, other vignettes were selected. Each one of the backs in this set was ultimately used. Most interestingly to state seal collectors, the back of the $5 employs the Washington State Seal. On this mockup, the 1889 date of statehood was inked out by the artist working on the designs. Face plates from six different banks were used in the production for both the Brown Back and Red Seal conversions. Plates for the higher denominations at some of the banks included two denominations, saving some time for the printers. The banks include:

    -Youngstown, OH -$5 1882 Brown Back, The Commercial NB Ch. # 2482 Face and Back (Two 1882 Brown Back $5 notes currently reported in census)
    -Dubuque, IA -$10 and $20 Brown Backs, The Second NB Ch. # 2327 Faces and Backs (Four 1882 Brown Back $10 and one $20 notes currently reported)
    -Burlington, IA $50 and $100 Brown Backs, The Merchants NB Ch. # 1744 $50 and $100 Faces and Backs (No 1882 Brown Back $50 or $100 notes currently reported)

    Careful examination is suggested for researchers who may have overlooked our comments in these descriptions, or an original article by Wendell Wolka in the most recent copy of Bank Note Reporter. Since the notes are cut, pasted, and in some instances, the designs are hand drawn, PMG did not assign grades. As such, no returns will be allowed for any reason.

    Ultimately, calls for a central bank were made, and by 1913, the Federal Reserve was established. The proofs for the first Federal Reserve Notes happen to also be featured in this evening's auction. With the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve this year, and the changes and crises that led up to that institutions beginnings illustrated here, it is a truly exciting night for currency collectors and historians.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2013
    9th-14th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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