The BEP used four different face plate types for the Series of 1914 Federal Reserve notes. The number and size of the district IDs near the corner counters characterized each type; in addition, the placements of the bank and Treasury seals also characterized the fourth type. Below is a visual guide to all four types.
Type 1 (Friedberg red seal type a)
The first plate type had two large district IDs (the 6-Fs in figure 1): one each near the upper-right and lower-left counters (the small Bs near the other counters are plate position letters). Type 1 plates had Burke-McAdoo signatures, and notes have red seals and serial numbers.
Figure 1: 1914 type 1.
Type 2 (Friedberg red seal type b, and blue seal type a)
In 1915, the BEP added two additional district IDs to help the redemption agencies better identify partial notes: one each near the upper-left and lower-right counters. They started overprinting blue seals and serial numbers shortly after this change. Type 2 plates had all five 1914 signature combinations, and notes have red and bue seals and serial numbers.
Figure 2: 1914 type 2, red seal.
Figure 3: 1914 type 2, blue seal.
Type 3 (Friedberg blue seal type b)
In 1926, the BEP reduced the size of the district ID near the lower-left counter to avoid it possibly overlapping the serial number (see size of the lower serial number in figure 3). Type 3 plates had White-Mellon signatures, and notes have blue seals and serial numbers.
Figure 4: 1914 type 3.
Type 4 (Friedberg blue seal type c)
By 1927, the small district IDs were causing problems for note sorters. The BEP returned to the type 2 format, but moved the larger IDs toward the horizontal center of the note. To accomodate this change, they moved the bank and Treasury seals closer to the portrait on the $5, $10, and $20 plates. On the $50 and $100 plates, they only restored the larger district ID. Type 4 plates had White-Mellon signatures, and notes have blue seals and serial numbers.
Figure 5: 1914 type 4.
Information about these plate types are from BEP documents located in the Office of Public Debt files at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. Pictures are courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries.
By Jamie Yakes, January 2012.
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