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The 1934 $20 Federal Reserve Notes were printed from 1934 to 1951 and encompassed five different series, 1934 to 1934D, all twelve FRN districts plus Stars, two different seal colors (LGS & DGS), and a WWII Emergency Issue (Hawaii).  This series offers a lot of different ways to collect notes and several different varieties and rare notes to chase.  Some of these tough varieties include LFBPs (Late-Finished Back Plates), a handful of Mules, and subtle design modifications.  This project is currently only focused on the varieties listed below, but may expand to cover others in the future.

At the beginning of printing in 1934, and continuing from the 1928B-1928C series, a Vivid Yellow-Green (YGS), also referred to as LGS (Light Green) was used to print the seals and serial numbers.  At some point during the 1934 series production, the color of the seal and serial numbers was changed to Dull Blue-Green (BGS), which is also incorrectly referred to by many as DGS (Dark-Green) as it's nowhere near the dark forest-green color of the early 1928 series seals and serial numbers.  

1934 Vivid Yellow-Green Seal (YGS)

1934 Dull Blue-Green Seal (BGS)

The 1934 & 1934A series included a WWII Emergency Issue, in which the Treasury seal and serial number color was changed from green to brown and two small "HAWAII" overprints on the face and a large overprint on the back were added.  These notes were used during WWII on the islands of Hawaii.  Aside from the change to the seal and the overprint, the notes were identical to the San Francisco FRNs.  More information on Hawaii WWII Emergency Issues.

1934A $20 Hawaii WWII Emergency Issue

There were three design changes during the 1934 $20 FRN production, a subtle change to the face design and a significant change to the back design.  Beginning with the 1934B series, the first subtle change was to the wording on the district seal. "THE"was removed from the bank name, leaving just "FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF" along with the name of the FRN bank city and state.  All small-size FRNs up through the 1934A series included "THE" in the seal.  


District Seal


District Seal

The second change was significant on the back design and occurred midway through the 1934C series production.  The Old Back design, which featured a basic White House vignette, titled "WHITE HOUSE", with a lot of open space surrounding it, was used for all small-size $20 notes of all types until this point.  The New Back design, which featured a redesigned and more elaborate White House vignette, titled "THE WHITE HOUSE", and considerably more elements in the surrounding area, was introduced towards the end of the 1934C series production.  This core White House vignette was used on all $20 FRNs until the major redesign in the 1995 series. 

Old Back Design (BP #587 & lower; 1928-1934C)

New Back Design (BP #585 & higher; 1934C-1950E)

The third change was subtle and made to the back during the 1934D series production.  The Wide design was used on all small-size $20 BPs until this point (BP #669 and lower).  The new Narrow design was added towards the end of the 1934D series and had a slightly compressed design (BP #670 and higher).  The 1934D Narrow notes are generally much tougher to find than their Wide counterparts, but this isn't the case with all districts.

Wide (BP #669 & lower)

Narrow (BP #670 & higher)

This series also had Mule varieties printed over two different series, 1934 & 1934A.  A "Mule" is created when a note is printed with an older micro-sized plate serial number on one side and a macro-sized plate serial number on the other.  A Mule is not specific to Federal Reserve Notes or the $20 denomination... any note with a macro-sized plate number (newer) on one side and a micro-sized plate number (older) on the other creates a Mule.

The 1934 series was printed with micro-size face plate numbers (FP numbers vary by district)) along with their corresponding backs with micro-size plate numbers (BP #317 and lower).  With the 1934A series, there was a change to a macro-size plate number for the face (FP numbers vary by district) and had already started producing macro-size plate number back plates (BP #318 and higher).  The 1934 series Mules are created when a 1934 face plate (micro-size) was mated to a sheet printed with a newer macro-size BP.  And the opposite is true for 1934A series Mules, in which a 1934A face plate (macro-size) was mated to a sheet printed with an older micro-sized BP.


Face Plate


Back Plate


Face Plate

Macro-size Back Plate

Related SPMC "Paper Money" Journal Articles

"Series of 1934A $20 Minneapolis FRNs"

July/Aug 2022 - Whole #340; pgs 302-303; Jamie Yakes

"Series 1934A $20 Philadelphia FRNs"

Sept/Oct 2018 - Whole #317; pgs 356-357; Jamie Yakes

"Treasury Announced New $20 Backs"

May/June 2018 - Whole #315; pgs 204-205; Jamie Yakes

Articles covering Census Project varieties are linked on their separate pages

FRN Seals, Seal Colors, and other FRN Design

FRN Serial Numbers

$20 FRN Census Projects

This project is currently only focused on the notes listed below, but may expand to cover others in the future.

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