Mike Marotta submitted this review of The Collector's Guide to Modern Federal Reserve Notes Series 1963-2009 by Robert Azpiazu. Thanks!
According to Q. David Bowers, modern Federal Reserve Notes are “the most popular field in paper-money collecting,” and now Whitman released the definitive handbook. I found The Collector's Guide to Modern Federal Reserve Notes Series 1963-2009 by Robert Azpiazu, (Forward by Arthur L. Friedberg; Whitman Publishing, 2010; 428 pages, $29.95) to be a nice delivery of the facts about an area of collecting that I overlooked.
The authoritative narratives and tabulated data revealed to me an abundant treasury of information about money objects that I handled often, yet never perceived. Truthfully, I do have two sets of 12 notes, one from each Federal Reserve Bank, all nominally “uncirculated” (though pulled from circulation), but it was a lark, a bit of a collector's challenge. I never paid attention to the signatures, plate positions, printing facility, serial numbers (or back plate numbers), or series letters. I never checked to see if any was a star note.
Each collector has their own passions. “Radar notes” are palindromes, numbers that read the same forward or backward such as 158851. (FRNs have 8-digit serial numbers.) Repeaters echo some substring such as 87878787. Low numbers command a special premium, as do interesting sequences such as 17760704. Errors abound – and can be subtle. Typically, the back plate number is on the right, just to the left of the Federal Seal. In 1981 (and 1985), some $1 FRNs have the back plate number on the left. As with anything, values wholesale and retail, buy and sell, bid and ask, can vary by time and place and person, but the opportunity to find a $1 note nominally worth $150 makes it worth checking your paper before you pass it along.
We perceive by contrast. This book made me not only more observant of the money in my wallet, but more aware of how to see the Obsoletes that I have from Michigan's frontier days. At election time, we argue whether and to what extent money is speech. There is no doubt that every Federal Reserve Note carries a thousand words on each of its two sides. This book is the lexicon for the speech that our modern paper money transmits. Those who learn the language can profit 150-to-1 for their effort.
Whitman's pre-publication announcement:
Arthur L. Friedberg's Foreword to this book is here:
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
BOOK REVIEW: MODERN FEDERAL RESERVE NOTES, 1963–2009
THE BOOK BAZARRE
DAVID SKLOW - FINE NUMISMATIC BOOKS
the Q. David Bowers Research Library Sale Part IV on February 12, 2011, including:
an offering of over three thousand photographs of individual United States Large Cents in full color used by Bill Noyes in his great books
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