Revolution in U.S. Banknote Printing: A New Challenge for Date Note Collectors

Revolution in U.S. Banknote Printing: A New Challenge for Date Note Collectors

Greetings to all my fellow banknote collectors! Today, I bring you insights into a development that's set to transform our niche hobby, particularly for those of us who treasure 'date notes' – banknotes whose serial numbers form significant dates like 07041776 (July 4, 1776). Thanks to Mike Abramson (link to Arthur L. Friedberg Article), a keen-eyed currency dealer, we've learned about the Bureau of Engraving and Printing's (BEP) new printing methodology, which is poised to turn our date note hunting on its head.

The Game-Changing News: The BEP's 2023 Capital Investment Plan has unveiled something extraordinary: the adoption of NS LEPE (Non-sequential Large Examining and Printing Equipment). While LEPE technology isn't new (it's been in use since 2012 for 32-subject sheets and 2014 for 50-subject sheets), it's the 'non-sequential' part that's causing a stir. This change is particularly impactful for collectors who hunt for date notes.

Impact on Date Note Collecting: In the world of date note collecting, the thrill lies in finding those serial numbers that align perfectly to form meaningful dates. Traditionally, with sequential printing, collectors could somewhat predict where these special notes might appear in a bundle. The sequential nature meant if you found one date note, you were likely close to finding another. But with NS LEPE's non-sequential approach, this predictability goes out the window.

Why This Is a Big Deal: The shift to non-sequential printing means that each strap of banknotes will now have gaps and jumps in serial numbers. For date note enthusiasts, this means the hunt becomes more challenging – and potentially more rewarding. The likelihood of stumbling upon a date note in a strap becomes a game of chance, making each find more exciting and, possibly, more valuable.

The Rarity Factor: This unpredictability could elevate the status of date notes in our collecting community. As the new notes enter circulation, the rarity of finding a specific date could increase, adding a layer of intrigue and challenge to our hobby. For collectors, this could mean rethinking strategies and potentially increasing the value of date notes already in our collections.

Navigating the Transition: As we enter this new era, it's important to remember that the transition will be gradual, starting with the $1 denomination. During this period, both sequential and non-sequential straps will coexist, offering a unique landscape for collectors. This overlapping phase presents an unprecedented opportunity to compare and contrast the two printing methods in real-time.

Final Thoughts: This significant change in U.S. currency production is not just a technical shift; it's a call to adventure for all of us in the date note collecting community. As we adapt to this new landscape, our passion for finding these hidden gems in banknotes is reignited, reminding us why we started collecting in the first place. Keep your magnifying glasses ready and your eyes sharp – our quest for date notes just got even more thrilling!

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