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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 40, October 1, 2006, Article 12

FORMER BEP DIRECTOR ON RECOVERING MUTILATED CURRENCY

E-Sylum reader Bob Leuver (former ANA Executive Director and
Director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing) writes: "Here's
a little background on the recovery by BEP of mutilated currency.

The office at the BEP responsible for this is the Office of
Currency Standards, or, at least that was the title.

"Currency Standards" is a correct title as the office is primarily
responsible for the regulations governing the destruction of
currency.  This is a Department of Treasury function, not one of
the Federal Reserve, which many might find interesting.

For many years, up until perhaps 1984, the function was in
Government Financial Operations (GFO).  The new director of GFO,
a really fine and competent gentleman recently appointed to that
position by the Secretary from IRS, analyzed his organization and
felt that the Office of Currency Standards was not a proper fit
for his organization.  In a meeting of the eleven Treasury Bureau
directors, the director of GFO mentioned his problem.  I said I
would take the function.  After all it was currency for which
regulations were written and mutilated currency redeemed.  The
latter, highly visible function was probably the function that
did not fit into GFO.

Besides, I had met the chief of that office, Rudy Villareal, who
had held the position for many years.  Rudy was a likable, easy
going and responsible person and very competent manager.  The
people at the Fed liked him also.  Most of the regulations
affected the Fed.

Paul Frey succeeded Rudy upon his retirement in 1987.  I think
Paul recently retired.  Paul had been head auditor for the U.S.
Mint and then chief of public affairs at the BEP.

The staff of Currency Standards works on mutilated currency.
The women and men who perform the work are very diligent,
unflappable and discerning when recovering mutilated currency.
It takes a lot of patience to peel thumbnail pieces of currency
from a stack and "scotch" tape them to an 11" by 8" sheet of paper.

Most professionals in the office attempt to sort mutilated currency
by serial numbers or denomination numbers.  One small piece easily
can represent the entire note.  This saves a lot of time and the
dollar value can be quickly tallied.

I visited this office once every quarter at least--as was my practice
for all offices and regions in the 29 acres of floor space at the BEP.
That tour was something I had learned in 1982 from Anthony Murray
(Adm. USN ret.), superintendent of the Philadelphia Mint.

On one such visit to Currency Standards, a female worker, whose name
escapes me, was just starting to work on a stack of currency that
was estimated to be $5,000 by the individual submitting it.  The worker
was pasting the bits of currency on 11" by 8" sheets of paper - a
monumental task.

Three months later I came back to that office and while walking around,
I approached the worker and asked.  "How much money did you recover
from that soggy stack of currency you were working on three months ago?"

The woman knew I was coming and she was prepared for the question.
She looked up, smiled and triumphantly said, "95% of the value!"  I
replied that I did not anticipate that such was possible.  There are
so many stories about the BEP redemption of currency."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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