United States Paper Money Collection

© Copyright 1995-2009, Clay Irving <clay@panix.com>, Manhattan Beach, CA


The "Series" date printed on US currency indicates when the note's design was adopted — It does not indicate the year a note was printed. Instead it indicates the earliest year the notes of the same design were first made. For example, Series 1882 Gold Certificates were being printed as late as 1927.

Series 1928 was the first series of modern, small-sized notes issued. Since then, the series year has been changed when there is a major design change to a bill; a minor design change is indicated by a letter suffix being added to the series year. Major design changes were rare until 1974, when William E. Simon became Secretary of the Treasury. Before 1974, a change to either the signature of the Secretary of the Treasury or the Treasurer was considered a minor change; after 1974, a new Secretary of the Treasury was considered a major change. (The only exception to this was in 1979, G. William Miller's signature appeared on Series 1977A instead of Series 1979.) A change in Treasurer is still considered a minor change. Changes in design, such as the recent changes to the $20 bill to deter counterfeiting, are still considered major changes.

of the
Terms of
Federal Reserve Notes Silver Certificates U.S. Notes
$1$2$5$10$20$50$100 $1$5$10$1$2$5$100
Tate Mellon 04/28-01/29   192819281928   1928   1928  
WoodsMellon01/29-02/32   1928A,1928B1928A,1928B1928A,1928B1928,1928A1928,1928A 1928A   1928A1928 
WoodsMills02/32-03/33   1928C1928C1928C  1928B   1928B1928A 
WoodsWoodin03/33-05/33   1928D     1928C  1928   
JulianWoodin06/33-12/33         1928D 1933    
JulianMorgenthau01/34-07/45   1934,1934A1934,1934A1934,1934A1934,1934A1934,1934A 1928E,1934,1935,1935A1934/A1933A,1934/A 1928C/D1928B/C 
JulianVinson07/45-07/46   1934B1934B1934B1934B1934B 1935B1934B1934B 1928E1928D 
JulianSnyder07/46-05/49   1934C1934C1934C1934C1934C 1935C1934C1934C 1928F1928E 
JulianClark06/49-01/53  1934D,19501934D,19501934D,19501934D,19501934D,1950 1935D1934D1934D 1928G1928F 
PriestHumphrey01/53-07/57   1950A1950A1950A1950A1950A 1935E19531953 19531953 
PriestAnderson07/57-01/61   1950B1950B1950B1950B1950B 1935F,19571953A1953A 1953A1953A 
SmithDillon01/61-04/62   1950C1950C1950C1950C1950C 1935G,1957A1953B1953B 1953B1953B 
GranahanDillon01/63-03/65 1963 1950D,19631950D,19631950D,19631950D1950D 1935H,1957B1953C[3]  1953C,19631953C,1963 
GranahanFowler04/65-10/66 1963A 1950E,1963A1950E,1963A1950E,1963A1950E,1963A1950E,1963A     1963A 1966
(Granahan) [1]Barr12/68-01/69 1963B              
Elston [2]Kennedy05/69-09/70 1969 19691969196919691969       1966A
Kabis [2]Kennedy09/70-02/71 1969A              
Kabis [2]Connally02/71-07/71 1969B 1969A1969A1969A1969A1969A        
BañuelosConnally12/71-05/72 1969C 1969B1969B1969B1969B         
BañuelosShultz06/72-05/74 1969D 1969C1969C1969C1969C1969C        
NeffSimon06/74-01/77 1974197619741974197419741974        
MortonBlumenthal09/77-08/79 1977 19771977197719771977        
MortonMiller08/79-01/81 1977A 1977A1977A           
BuchananRegan03/81-07/83 1981 19811981198119811981        
OrtegaRegan09/83-01/85 1981A 1981A1981A1981A1981A1981A        
OrtegaBaker01/85-08/88 1985 19851985198519851985        
OrtegaBrady09/88-06/89 1988 1988  19881988        
VillalpandoBrady11/89-01/93 1988A 1988A1988A,19901988A,199019901990        
WithrowBentsen03/94-12/94 1993 19931993199319931993        
WithrowRubin01/95-05/99 19951995199519951995,199619961996        
WithrowSummers07/99-01/01 1999 199919991999 1999        
MarinO'Neill08/01-12/02 2001 20012001200120012001        
MarinSnow02/03-06/03 2003200320032003200420042003        
CabralSnow12/04-06/06 2003A2003A2003A2004A2004A2004A2003A        
CabralPaulson07/06-01/09 2006 20062006200620062006        
RiosGeithner01/09-Present2009  2009 2009        

As is clear from the table, the year in the series designation does not represent the year the bill was printed. What exactly it does represent has changed over time. Originally, the series date was the year the overall bill design was authorised or adopted, and the series letter was advanced each time a minor change was made to that design (usually a change of one or both signatures). This was the rule until 1974, when William E. Simon became Secretary of the Treasury and decided that each new Secretary would result in a change of the series year, not merely the series letter. The new policy has since been followed by every succeeding Secretary except G. William Miller, whose signature appears on notes designated Series 1977A rather than the expected Series 1979.

However the series designation is determined, most changes in it are due to a change in the signatures on the notes. The following is a list of all other reasons for series changes since 1928:


[1] Notice that Granahan and Barr were never actually in office simultaneously, even though their signatures do appear together on the Series 1963B $1 FRN. This is the only series ever to use non-contemporary signatures this way; the exception was made only because no Treasurer was in office during Barr's very short term as Secretary.

[2] Note also that Elston and Kabis are actually the same person: Dorothy Andrews Elston Kabis married while in office, and changed her signature accordingly.

[3] A total of 90,640,000 regular and 4,320,000 star notes were printed for the Series 1953C Silver Certificate, but none were released, and almost all were destroyed. None are known to be in private hands.