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Question On Front/Back Plate Numbers

 
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Author Previous TopicReplies: 2 / Views: 157Next Topic  
Valued Member

United States
307 Posts
 Posted 01/23/2021  12:35 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add captaincoffee to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hopefully I can articulate this question correctly.
When you have a group of consecutive serial number notes, you typically see a group of notes with a certain front or back plate number, and that number periodically changes. I always presumed that was because they got to the end of a stack or swapped out plates or something similar happening in the process.
My question is how can three consecutive serial number notes all have different front and back plate numbers? I just noticed this on some 1935F $1 silver certificates.
Just hoping for some insight to learn about the process...which apparently I don't understand as well as I thought I did.

Pillar of the Community
United States
3031 Posts
 Posted 01/23/2021  6:38 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SteveInTampa to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Imagine a large drum or cylinder with multiple intaglio plates attached. Each plate prints one sheet. Because the cylinder has 4 plates attached, when it revolves, every 4th note will have similar plate numbers. This photo shows how the cylinder looks with plates attached.

Valued Member
United States
307 Posts
 Posted 02/03/2021  10:59 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add captaincoffee to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Okay...but now I have two follow up questions. Probably due to my ignorance on the process back then and when/how it changed.

First, I presumed a single cylinder rotation would print a single sheet, so the same spot on the next sheet (where the next sequential number would go) would end up getting the same plate number. Is that incorrect? These are 1935 silver certs, in case that matters in terms of process. I'll guess the answer is that they didn't print serial numbers like that back in 1935?

Second question, my seven sequential 1957 silver certs all have matching front and back plate numbers. If my above guess is correct, was the process changed between 1935 and 1957 to where sequential serial numbers were then printed in the matching position on the following sheet? That would make sense, and I should expect all sequential bills before a certain date to have different plate numbers and most sequential bills after that date to have the same plate number.

Or...I just have no idea how this works.
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