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Designer-Signed FRN Notes to Cross Block
By Bank Note Reporter
December 19, 2013

This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter.
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A group of $20, $50 and $100 Federal Reserve Notes signed by principal designers, ranging from the portrait engraver to the letter/script engraver, is expected to sell for more than $4,000 as they lead the offering of former Bureau of Engraving and Printing chief bank note designer Jack Ruther’s private collection crossing the auction block during Heritage Auctions’ Florida United Numismatists Currency Signature Auction, Jan. 8-10, and Jan. 13 in Orlando, Fla.

“It’s certainly one of the most unique and historically important collections we’ve ever handled,” said Dustin Johnston, director of currency auctions at Heritage. “Mr. Ruther trusts us with a very important keepsake for future generations and we fully expect collectors will appreciate this opportunity.”

Ruther, the long-time chief bank note designer for the BEP, supervised the BEP’s design team and was responsible for the most major design changes on U.S. currency since 1929. According to the auctioneer, “Although [Ruther’s] currency redesign project was first initiated in the 1980s, the serious work began in 1992, when the Treasury Department authorized the redesign of all currency above the $5 note. Final approval of the New Currency Design prepared by Ruther came in 1995 and the new notes, colloquially dubbed the ‘Big Head’ series in honor of the revised portraits, debuted in 1996. Attention then turned to the modification of the $5 and $10 denominations. Ruther was again the designer for these notes, the first of which carried the Series 1999 designation.”

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Ruther’s 30-year career included being called upon to design what became known as the Next Generation Currency, which debuted with the Series 2004 notes. In addition to added new anti-counterfeiting devices, the Series 2004 notes were the first in a century to feature a multi-color design on both the front and back.

A group of four Fr. 2089-E $20 2004 Federal Reserve Notes containing the signatures of designer V. Jack Ruther; Thomas Hipschen, who engraved both the portrait as well as the back vignette; letter/script engraver John Smith, Jr.; and modeler William Krawczewicz is expected to bring more than $3,000. Two of the star note examples also bear the signature former BEP Director Thomas Ferguson.

All of the notes have been certified and graded by PCGS Currency, with each bearing the title, “From the Banknote Designer Collection.”





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