U.S. Federal Reserve Bank Notes (FRBNs) Small/Large Size Paper Money For Sale
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Throughout American currency, the distinction between Federal Reserve Bank Notes (FRBNs) and Federal Reserve Notes (FRNs) can sometimes lead to confusion. While FRNs are still in circulation today, FRBNs represent a fascinating and distinct chapter in the history of U.S. currency. While both types of banknotes were issued by the Federal Reserve System, FRBNs and FRNs diverge in their backing and issuance mechanism. FRBNs were backed individually by specific Federal Reserve Banks, while FRNs are backed collectively by all twelve Federal Reserve Banks.
The history of the FRBNs dates back to the early 20th century, when the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 set the stage for their creation. These banknotes, backed by individual Federal Reserve Banks, were envisioned as replacements for National Bank Notes, but their full transition never materialized. Nonetheless, FRBNs played a pivotal role in shaping the monetary landscape of the United States alongside other forms of notes.
From 1915 to 1934: The Story of Federal Reserve Bank Notes
Large Size Federal Reserve Bank Notes:
The FRBNs made their grand entrance in 1915, with an initial issuance of three denominations: $5, $10, and $20. This series were issued only by Federal Reserve Bank of Altanta, Chicago, Kansas City, and San Francisco. These notes displayed intricate designs that combined elements from National Bank Notes and contemporary Federal Reserve Notes.
The Series of 1918 FRBNs: This particular issuance was primarily a response to the shortage of currency caused by the temporary removal of Silver Certificates from circulation under the Pittman Act of 1918. The Pittman Act was enacted to provide silver bullion needed for World War I, authorizing the melting of silver coins. The second issue included all of denomination from $1 all the way up to $50.
During World War I, a shortage of linen occurred due to the increased demand for resources to support the war effort. As a result, the Series of 1918 FRBNs were printed on 100% cotton paper, which was an alternative to linen. However, this switch to cotton paper came with its own challenges. Cotton paper was more fragile and delicate than linen, making the notes more susceptible to wear and tear.
Distinctive Design: Decoding the Features of Large-Size Federal Reserve Bank Notes
On FRBNs, the portrait of the prominent figure featured on the note is typically positioned on the left-hand side. Federal Reserve Bank Notes (FRBNs) feature distinct portrait designs for each denomination, showcasing iconic figures from American history.
$1 FRBN: The $1 FRBN typically displays a portrait of George Washington, the first President of the United States. Washington's dignified presence reflects his significant role in shaping the nation's foundation and exemplifies his enduring legacy. the reverse design of the $1 FRBN showcased a striking image of a green eagle with a flag. This majestic depiction of the eagle symbolized the spirit of American independence and patriotism.
$2 FRBN: The $2 FRBN showcases a portrait of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States. Jefferson, known for his contributions to American democracy and authorship of the Declaration of Independence, represents intellectual prowess and a commitment to freedom. The reverse design depicted vignettes of USS New York battleships, paying homage to the naval power and maritime heritage of the United States.
$5 FRBN: The $5 FRBN captured the essence of American history and progress. On the obverse, it featured a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, while the reverse displayed a scene depicting Christopher Columbus' arrival in the New World and the landing of the Pilgrims.
$10 FRBN: The $10 FRBN showcased a portrait of Andrew Jackson on the obverse, paying homage to the seventh President of the United States. The reverse design incorporated vignettes representing industry, with depictions of a farm and a factory.
$20 FRBN: The $20 FRBN featured a portrait of Grover Cleveland on the obverse. Its reverse design celebrated the advancement of transportation, with vignettes showcasing various modes of transportation, including land, sea, and air.
$50 FRBN: The $50 FRBN often displays a portrait of Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States and a prominent Union general during the Civil War. Grant's portrait honors his military leadership and his efforts in reconstructing the nation during a challenging period. The reverse design featured vignettes portraying the construction of the Panama Canal, signifying America's influence in global trade and transportation.
The small blue scalloped seal is typically located on the right-hand side of the note. The blue serial number, a unique identifier for each FRBN, is repeated twice on the banknote. It is positioned both in the upper right and lower left of the note.
Unlike many other forms of U.S. currency, FRBNs feature a combination of four signatures. These signatures represent the individuals in key positions of authority and responsibility. Alongside the customary signatures of the Treasurer of the United States and the Register of the Treasury, FRBNs also bear the signatures of the Cashier and the Governor of the respective Federal Reserve Bank associated with the note's origin.
Transition to Small-Size Federal Reserve Bank Notes
In 1933, the United States faced a challenging economic climate marked by widespread bank failures and a general sense of uncertainty. This turbulent period, known as the Great Depression, led to a phenomenon where people hoarded cash, fearing the collapse of financial institutions. As a response to this crisis, small size FRBNs were introduced as an emergency issue.
The introduction of small size FRBNs was a strategic move to address the shortage of circulating currency and to mitigate the impact of the financial turmoil. These new notes were printed on the same paper stock as the 1929 National Bank Notes, which added a sense of familiarity for the public at that time. Denominations ranging from $5 to $100 were produced, ensuring that there was a range of values to accommodate various transactions.
Brown Seals and Serial Numbers: Both small-size FRBNs and National Bank Notes featured brown seals and serial numbers. The serial numbers, printed also in brown, appeared twice on the notes – once in the upper right corner and again in the lower left corner. FRBNs shared some design elements with other types of currency from that era, such as the use of portraits and decorative on the front and back.
As the nation gradually emerged from the depths of the Great Depression, the need for small size FRBNs diminished. The Federal Reserve Banks and the U.S. government made the decision to discontinue the issuance of these notes in 1934. From that point onward, small size FRBNs were no longer available from banks.
Collectibility of Federal Reserve Bank Notes Dollars Bill.
When it comes to collecting Federal Reserve Bank Notes (FRBNs), certain denominations and conditions hold more appeal for collectors. Here are some insights into the collectibility of FRBNs:
Among the large-size FRBNs, the $1 denomination is highly sought after by collectors. These notes are popular due to their accessibility and affordable price range. The $2 FRBN, also known as the "battleship" note, is particularly famous and holds a special place in the hearts of collectors. As the denominations increase, such as the $10, $20, and higher, finding these notes in good condition becomes more challenging. Their scarcity in the market adds to their collectibility and value.
Small-size FRBNs are generally easier to find in mid-circulated condition due to their relatively recent issuance and circulation. However, notes in crisp, uncirculated condition (CU) or gem uncirculated condition (GEM) carry higher value in the collector's market.