Our earlier mention of Food Stamp plates inspired this submission from Robert Leuver, former head of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and (later) Executive Director of the American Numismatic Association. Thanks!
A ROBBER ALMOST SCORES A SET OF DIES FOR FOOD STAMPS IN 1978
The BEP did not print Food Stamps when I arrived in April 1979, although I am certain that the powers that were at that time would have expected and wanted to. However, the BEP did design and engrave the plates.
In 1978, a courier, a plain clothes security officer, was directed to take a set of newly engraved plates to New York City--the Bronx, to American Banknote headquarters. The courier was armed. He took the train from Washington, D.C. to New York City and the subway to the Bronx.
As he was exiting the subway station in that perilous area surrounding ABN, a fellow stuck a knife in his back and demanded money. The courier prudently handed over his wallet and the robber escaped. The courier protected the Food Stamp dies and kept his gun holstered.
THE GREAT FOOD STAMP HEIST AT BANKNOTE COMPANY IN PHILADELPHIA C. 1983
I received a call to meet with Treasury Secretary Regan and Secret Service Director John Simpson. Both John and I assumed it concerned the recent heist of food stamps from the loading dock of the security printer in Philadelphia. The Secretary had read a news article about the theft and wanted background.
I explained the BEP's part in the design and engraving. John said that his agency had no jurisdiction over the theft. The Secretary asked us to speculate on the street value of the theft. I have forgotten the amount stolen from either the loading dock or the loaded truck at the loading dock. John thought perhaps 35% of face value. I wondered if the notes would be shipped to Puerto Rico. John averred that such was possible and that would raise the street value to 50% of face. Secretary Regan was nonplused.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
MORE ON THAT BEP INTAGLIO TEST PLATE
Wayne Homren, Editor
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