Graphic of the BEP Seal

Bureau of Engraving and Printing
U.S. Department of the Treasury

Pictured below: Currency exhibit display panels at Western Currency Facility in Fort Worth, TX.
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Research: Currency 

Overview:

 

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing has been involved with the nation's currency since 1862.  Over the decades, the form and production of currency has undergone many changes.  From hand operated presses creating four-item sheets of large-sized currency, the printing of currency in the BEP has evolved to high-speed presses capable of printing 50-subject sheets of small-sized Federal Reserve Notes. 

 

For further information on this topic, specific questions may be addressed to the Historical Resource Center or visit the BEP's Currency History website.


HRC / BEP Papers

 

"100-Year Anniversary of Philippine Notes," BEP Communicator, Nov/Dec 2003
Examines the start of Philippine currency printing in 1903.

 

1877: The Year the Bureau of Engraving and Printing Came of Age
Looks at how the BEP came to take on all government currency production.

 

"A cleaner, more convenient, and more artistic currency": Joseph E. Ralph, Franklin

MacVeagh, and the Search for a Small Size American Currency, 1909-1914
History of the early efforts to introduce a small-sized currency.

 

"The Advanced Counterfeit Deterrence Program: Fighting to Protect Our Currency," BEP Communicator, March 2005
An article on changes in the series 1996 Federal Reserve Note.

 

African Americans Who Have Signed Paper Money
A list of signers with short biographies.

 

"The Color of Money," BEP Communicator, April 2003
A short article on the early use of color in currency.

 

The Color of Money or How the Greenback Got Its Name: Development of Chromium Green Ink and Its Use in Nineteenth Century United States Banknotes
A look at the origins of the use of green ink.

 

Demand Notes: The Accidental Currency
Examines the origins of Demand Notes, the first currency processed in the Treasury building.

 

Distinctive Paper and the Design of United States Treasury Notes
Reviews the relationship between technical and artistic aspects in the design on the Treasury Notes of 1890.

 

Fibers Produced by the Army Materials and Mechanics Research Center
Short report on distinctive fibers used in currency paper in the 1970s.

 

"The Forgotten Currency: Federal Reserve Bank Notes," BEP Communicator, February 2007
A short article on Federal Reserve Bank Notes.

 

G.I. Joe Dough: Military Payment Certificates, 1946-1973
A fact sheet on special currency used to pay troops.

 

"Greenbacks that Never Were," BEP Communicator, February/March 2004
Reports on the discovery of small denomination notes that were prepared but never issued in 1861.

 

Hydrostatic Presses at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Briefly examines the first attempt at "dry" printing at the BEP.

 

In Search of a More Secure Note
Survey of anti-counterfeiting devices.

 

"Military Payment Certificates," BEP Communicator, January 2003
A short history of MPC designs since the 1940s.

 

"Military Payment Certificates," BEP Communicator, Feb/Mar 2003
A short history of MPCs and Allied Military Currency since the 1940s.

 

Native American Registers of the Treasury
Brief biography of Houston B. Teehee.

 

The Political Economy of Making Money: Quality and Control in National Bank Note Production, 1863-1877
A paper presented at the Business History Conference, June 2006.

 

The Other Green Ink: The Story of the Green Ink on the Front of the Greenbacks
Looks at the use of green ink on the faces of Demand Notes.

 

"Quality, Security, and Economy: National Bank Notes and the BEP, 1863-1877," BEP Communicator, November 2006
A short account of how the BEP came to print all National Bank Notes.

 

Special and Allied Military Currency
A fact sheet on these World War II products.

 

Treasury Notes
Contains a brief history of and a chart of dies, engravers, and designs used in the production of the Treasury Notes of 1890.

 

 

"World War II Special Currency and Allied Military Currency," BEP Communicator, September 2005
A look at military currency production during the war.


HRC / BEP Books & Articles

 

History of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, 1862-1962 (Washington, DC: Treasury Department, 1962)
A full-length official history of the BEP.

 

"The Story of Alexander Hamilton's Portrait on the new $10 note," Paper Money, 46, 1 (Jan/Feb 2007): 65-72.


External Links

 

U.S. National Bank Notes, 1864-1935 | EH.Net
A database of National Bank note production, issuance, redemption, and circulation.