On Wednesday I listened to a piece on National Public Radio where a reporter visited the Crane Paper Company, stating that "The paper for U.S. currency, the substrate of everyday commerce, has been made here since 1879 by the Crane family." Well, that's not quite true, according to an article in the May/June issue of Paper Money, the journal of the Society of Paper Money Collectors. Editor Fred Reed kindly forwarded me the text and images for "Federal Reserve Notes Printed on Gilbert Paper" by Steven DeGennaro. Here's an excerpt. Thanks!
Last year Whitman Publishing put out Robert Azpiazu's book Collector's Guide to Modern Federal Reserve Notes, Series 1963-2009.
On the very first page of the catalog listing (Page 1), that author writes
regarding $1 Federal Reserve Notes, Series 1963: "CA [Block] C60800001A
- C61440000A [Serial Numbers] Gilbert Unknown."
I believe my recent discovery of a Gilbert Paper Co. presentation folder
containing the story of these notes and in addition an actual note, is historic and will
help fill in some of that information. I posted images of my historic find on
www.cointalk.com last November, and also want to share it with readers of Paper
I also attempted to research my find. I wrote an email to the mayor of
Menasha, Wisconsin asking for history of the mill, and he forwarded my email to one
of the new owners of the mill and property. He, (Tom) had an interesting story how
he, and his two partners bought the mill and land back in 2002.
Tom is a lawyer. He told me that after purchasing the abandoned mill, he
was in the basement of the mill office building and discovered a large safe. He contacted
a local locksmith and had the safe opened. There in the bottom of the safe
were 1,100 new, banded $1 bills....nothing else. Neither Tom nor his two partners
knew anything about the history of the mill, or the possible significance of the
The Crane Company has been the sole supplier of paper used in the
printing of U.S. currency for more than 130 years, and back in the early 60's, the
BEP sent out invitations to six different paper companies to find out if another
paper company could manufacture a qualified paper, and if they could be competitive
with Crane. The Gilbert Paper Company was the only company that wanted to
participate, and was able to provide qualified paper to the BEP. Unfortunately, the
Gilbert Paper Company was unable to supply paper at a reasonable price, so Crane
remains the sole supplier of paper used to manufacture U.S. Currency.
Gilbert was contracted to provide the BEP with approximately
150,000 lbs. of distinctive paper at a total cost of $111,750. The estimated
number of sheets Gilbert was to deliver was 2,167,316. They were awarded [the]
only item in the total contract. There is an undated amendment notice (most likely
for June of 1965) for this contract which states that the contract is considered complete
with only 1,235,396 sheets having been delivered.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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