Speaking of #10 bills...

The thread here reminded me of something that happened back in my restaurant days.

I was working at a restaurant as a waiter. The year was sometime between 1986-1989. At this time, I noticed I was getting a slew of $10 bills as payment. All of them were crisp and brand new, and I recall that a couple of people who paid me with two of them had the serial numbers in sequence!

The catch? The year on the bills was 1969!

What happened? Did the treasury open up some old file cabinets and found a bunch of old bills and put them in circulation? Does this happen often? Can we expect to see some shiny new Wheat Pennies any time soon?

Yer pal,

Are you sure that they were legit? New, old bills with serials in sequence? Smells fishy. . .

“To be great is to be misunderstood” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Yes. Managers at the time checked it out, and not only that, retail folks I talked to all over town had it happen to them.

Besides, why counterfeit bills with an old year on them? Makes no sense to draw attention to them, and these got several people’s attention…

This was in Manassas, VA, by the way!

Yer pal,

Well. . . In that case that is weird, freaky even. Hmmm.

“To be great is to be misunderstood” – Ralph Waldo Emerson


I’d guess that this phenomenon had more to do with a local bank than with the Mint. The Treasury Department sends currency to banks in a community (IIRC) to get it flowing through there. Probably a bank in your town was going out of business and was emptying its coffers of old bills.

Emptying the vaults is one idea, but banks don’t horde cash for 20+ years.

You know who does? Collectors (I’m guilty of this offense too). What usually happens is a collector will be holding on to something (say several rolls of 1960 cents) and then 30 years down the road, they’ll be worth only face value so rather than waste storage space, you just dump them into circulation for their cash value.

Collectors also die. Those different people could have been his/her relatives helping themselves to the safety deposit box.

I can’t find a cite for this, so I’m doing the best that I can from memory.

The Federal Reserve has a bomb-proof facility, located in a hallowed-out mountain-top south of Warrenton. (I don’t remember its name, but it’s not any big secret–you can easily see it from Route 29). At the time the old currency appeared, the official explanation was that this facility kept some currency on hand for emergencies, but occasionally it was replaced, and the old bills put into circulation. The main reason for replacing the stored bills was that the metal bands holding the money packs would start to rust if the currency was held too long.

Hmmm. Make that “hollowed-out”. And Warrenton is in Virginia, about an hour’s drive south of Washington, DC.

Well, Warrenton is very near Manassas… Only 20 miles away or so!

Yer pal,

Perhaps you be being used to launder a ransom payment? The Lindbergh baby?


Do counterfeiters ever bother to change the serial numbers on consecutive bills? I would think they’d view that as a needless extravagance. (Not to mention why the heck would they take twice as long to generate dough by printing tens when they could print twenties?)

Because no one would suspect they’re printing tens.

Thank you Nickrz, you gave me a great idea. (rushes off to start making fake pennies)

La franchise ne consiste pas à dire tout ce que l’on pense, mais à penser tout ce que l’on dit.
H. de Livry

Yeah, what Arnold says! A lower denomination is less likely a target, and therefore less likely to be fake.

Heh… kinda reminds on an ethnic joke about erasing the zeroes off twenties to make twos…

I can solve any problem!
Just give me a rifle and a clocktower!

I once read about a man who had to be the world’s most inept counterfeiter. He made his counterfeit twenties by cutting out the “20” from a real bill and pasting it onto a one dollar bill. No only were these probably the least authentic looking forgeries ever made but they were costing him twenty one dollars apiece to make.

I believe cutting out the “20” numerals from a real bill wouldn’t invalidate the bill. You would still have over 51% of the original $20 and it would still be honored by a bank.

The “Series 1969” on those 10-dollar bills does not mean the bills were printed in 1969.

The “Series” date on paper money refers to the year in which the Act of Congress authorizing the printing of this money was signed into law. (You’ll notice that all those new Monopoly-money-looking 20-dollar bills all say “Series 1996”, even though they didn’t exist prior to 1998.) The only way to tell the year a bill was actually printed is to look at the signatures of the U.S. Treasurer and the Secretary of the Treasury, and then look up the year(s) that those two people were in office at the same time.

The dates on U.S. coins, however, do indeed reflect the year in which they were minted. There are a few exceptions, but these exceptions are called “minting errors” and are highly prized by neumismatists.

Quick-N-Dirty Aviation: Trading altitude for airspeed since 1992.

I agree with tracer’s overall statement, but in the specific event Satan is talking about the bills involved were ones which had been part of a print run perhaps twenty years earlier and had been sitting in a vault since then.