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1934A $5 FRN

New York LFP #58

Five-dollar Series of 1934A New York face plate 58 is one of four late-finished Series of 1934A FRN face plates. It originally was a 1934 master face plate that the BEP altered to a 1934A master face plate in 1938, and then finished in 1944 as a production face and used for sheet printings. 


The process of making intaglio printing plates involved masters, bassos and altos. Masters served as templates for producing altos, which were intermediaries lifted from masters, and had designs in relief as opposed to the incuse designs on masters. Bassos were plates lifted from altos after depositing metal onto them, and were exact replicas of the master plates used to make the altos. Most bassos were cleaned, polished, etched with plate serials and logged into the plate vault for use as production plates. Some instead were reserved as master plates.

$5 1934A New York Plate #58 Proof

Image courtesy of Jamie Yakes

Face 58 began as $5 New York Series of 1934 face plate 13 in October 1934. That July the BEP had prepared four steel intaglio $5 1934 faces for New York at the onset of Series of 1934 production. They designated face 3 as the master and lifted from it four electrolytic altos. They began making electrolytic bassos in October, beginning with faces 6 and 7 on the 19th. Face 13 followed a week later. Although the BEP designated 13 the master basso, they never used altos lifted from it for making 1934 bassos. The four bassos lifted from master plate 3 served to make all the 1934 bassos.


In January 1938 the BEP began etching macro serial numbers on finished face and back plates, and designated those FRN faces Series of 1934A. Series of 1934 faces had micro plate serials; otherwise 1934 and 1934A faces had identical designs. On April 12 the BEP altered face 13 to a 1934A by etching an “A” after each “SERIES OF 1934” located on all 12 subjects. They reassigned the plate serial 58, which was the first serial for $5 1934A New York faces, and designated it the 1934A master basso.


Over the next six years, the BEP lifted fifteen altos from face 58, which spawned a majority of 1934A New York production faces made through May 1945, inclusive of serials 59-203. In May 1944, they had prepared steel intaglio face 179, and in July lifted from it bassos 184 and 185. They then designated 179 the new steel master, and used it to make the last four 1934A faces, serials 204-207, in May 1945.


The BEP finished face 58 as a production plate on November 16, 1944, and added it to the rotation of $5 production faces. They initially sent it to press on November 25, and used it for five press runs until October 2, 1945. They canceled it on December 31, 1946. Face 58 sheets moved through the numbering division to receive higher B-B block serial numbers. 


That same block contains reported Series of 1934 and 1934A back plate 637 mules. Back 637 was a $5 master basso for 10 years until finished as a production plate on November 10, 1944, with micro serial numbers. It had numerous press runs between June 23, 1945, and June 14, 1949, and sheets wound their way to face printings for $5 legal tender notes, silver certificates and FRNs. Press runs for $5 New York 58 overlapped the first two rotations for back 637 from June 23 to September 21, 1945, and December 6, 1945, to January 23, 1946. The probability is high that face 58 was mated to back 637 sheets.

Written By Jamie Yakes

1934A $5 New York B-B Block LFP #58

Photo Courtesy of Jamie Yakes

Related SPMC "Paper Money"Journal Articles

"$5 New York Late-Finished Face 58" (requires SPMC membership)

Nov/Dec 2019 - Whole #324; pg 450; Jamie Yakes

"Altered 1934A $5 & $10 FRN Master Plates"

Jan/Feb 2017 - Whole #307; pgs 54-56; Jamie Yakes

"Series of 1934A Late-Finished $5 and $10 FRNs"

Jan/Feb 2016 - Whole #301; pgs 42-43; Jamie Yakes

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