top of page

1934A $5 FRN

Philadelphia LFP #39

Five-dollar Philadelphia Series of 1934A face plate 39 is one of four late-finished Series of 1934A FRN face plates. It originally was a 1934 master face plate that in 1938 the BEP altered to a 1934A master face plate to use as a template for making other 1934Afaces. Face 39 then was finished in 1944 as a production face and used for regular 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 Philadelphia Plate #39 Proof

Image courtesy of Jamie Yakes

The BEP began face 39 as $5 Philadelphia Series of 1934 face plate 2 on November 6, 1934. They produced it from an alto lifted from steel intaglio master face plate 1. They designated face 2 the electrolytic master basso and used it to prepare four altos from November 12-26. Over the next two years altos from faces 1 and 2 would serve to produce all 1934 $5 Philadelphia production faces. 


In January 1938 the BEP began etching macro serial numbers on finished face and back plates, and designating those faces Series of 1934A. On May 26, 1938, they altered Philadelphia face 2 to a 1934A by etching an “A” after each “SERIES OF 1934” located on all 12 subjects. They reassigned it plate serial 39, which was the first serial for $5 1934A Philadelphia faces, and designated it the 1934A master basso. Aside from the different sizes of plate serials, bassos destined to become 1934s or 1934As had identical designs, and conveniently nothing else needed to be altered, deleted or added in the process.


In June and July 1938, the BEP lifted four altos from 39, which spawned a majority of 1934A Philadelphia production faces made through June 1945, inclusive of serials 40-92, except for four plates. In August 1944, the BEP prepared a new steel intaglio master, face 81, and used it to produce production bassos 82, 83 and 84. 


The BEP finished Philadelphia face 39 as a production plate on November 13, 1944, and added it to the routine press plate rotation. They sent it to press only once for a short run from January 7-23, which happened to be the last press run with Philadelphia 1934 and 1934A faces. Also sent to press were 1934A faces 49 and 52-61, and 1934 faces 33, 35 and 36. They dropped half the plates on the 22nd and the rest the following day. Plate 39 then sat unused for the rest of the year until canceled on December 31. 


Face 39 notes likely will have serials from C60000000A-C80000000A. This is based observations of 1934A notes with plate serials used concurrently with face 39. 


Series of 1934 $5 face 39 mules with back plate 637 are possible. 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. The C-A block contains reported 1934A back plate 637 mules with other faces. The BEP had been using back 637 for six months by the time 39 went to press, and ample sheet stock would have been available for mating with that face. 

Written by Jamie Yakes

***No $5 1934A Philadelphia LFP #39 Note are Currently Known to Exist***

Related SPMC "Paper Money"Journal Articles

"$5 Philadelphia Late-Finished Face 39" (requires SPMC membership)

Sept/Oct 2020 - Whole #329; pgs 367-368; 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

Other articles covering Late-Finished Plates

The Census Report

Updated 03/11/2024

0 New Notes

Notes Included:

1934A Philadelphia LFP #39

Current Census Population

Scroll down to view the live census or download the latest complete census report:

Don't see your note of this variety on the census?  Please report it so it can be added!

bottom of page