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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 11, March 16, 2008, Article 13

MORE ON FEDERAL RESERVE NOTES AUTOGRAPHED BY SIGNERS

Regarding notes autographed by the Treasurer or Secretary
of the Treasury (called "courtesy signatures"), George Cuhaj
writes: "What collectors need to worry about are 'autopen'
signatures. This device has been in use by government
officials for many years.  Their use started late in the
Eisenhower administration; Kennedy used them nearly all
the time, and in the 1960s their usage spilled over to
nearly all elected officials and even astronauts.

"How to tell? Well, if you have two such notes, place them
over each other. Autopen signatures will be exactly the same.
In five signatures of yours personally, you would never sign
two exactly the same way. Look at the start and stops of the
words - often there is a dot of ink where the pen sat on the
paper longer than usual (certainly longer than one would have
if signed by hand).

"My general thoughts are that if you have a Secretary of the
Treasury signature, and it was not signed in person, then it
is very probably autopen. If you have a Treasurer of the U.S.
and it was not signed in person, it could be either. Of the
recent ladies in that job, Mary Ellen Withrow loved to sign,
in person and by mail, she even signed a photo I sent of her
that I took talking to a group of scouts. If you have the
green Rosario Marin, that is her autopen. Also, there is an
often a subtle waviness to autopen signature lines.

"Some time ago, in the bankruptcy proceeding of John Connally,
the press did make mention of several mint packs of signed
bills from his tenure as Secretary.

"As a general rule, fountain pens were in use through the
end of WWI, then in the late 40s and very early 50s the
wealthy had access to ball point pens.

"The best bet is to get these notes signed in person, have
MINT condition bills, and to try to take a photo of the
signing."

[George posted a nice photo comparing two courtesy signatures
of Treasurer Mary Ellen Withrow on his Wednesday blog. -Editor]

Photo

 ON FEDERAL RESERVE NOTES AUTOGRAPHED BY SIGNERS
 esylum_v11n10a07.html

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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