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Real or Fake? A $1 Mystery

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Written by   182
3 months ago

A few years ago I recall getting a strange $1 bill back in change. It was odd enough that I kept it, only to pull it out from time to time. So far as I was aware it was just a bill from 1969 that someone had altered a bit—it appears that the portrait of the usual George Washington was replaced partially with an image of former president Richard Nixon, who was the president of the United States from 1969 until he resigned in 1973.

I only pulled it back out again recently since I was curious if an old $5 silver certificate from 1953 that my grandfather gave me was worth anything.

Image by Porwest. An image of my $5 silver certificate from 1953.

I did not find much about the silver certificate. But I did take a closer look at my Nixon bill as I have come to call it.

The thing is, I have another $1 bill in my collection that is from 1963 that is in what I would call "fair shape," considering that the bill has presumably been in circulation for 59 years.

The average life span of a $1 bill, according to the Federal Reserve is roughly 5.9 years.

The condition of my Nixon bill is remarkably "fresh." In other words, it is in as good of shape as many of my newer bills. When I run my fingers over my 1963 bill, the usual feel of raised print is not there.

But on my Nixon bill it is. You can feel the print. The bill is not new by any means, but it is also in "as new" shape, which sort of suggests to me that the bill is indeed not genuine despite its remarkable detail and look and feel of real money.

I was curious about the signature of the Secretary of the Treasury on the bill. It was John B. Connolly. He was the Secretary of the Treasury. But not in 1969. He did not become the secretary until 1971.

Interestingly enough, the Treasurer was an interesting thing to note as well. The signature on the Nixon bill was of Dorothy Andrews Kabis, which is also consistent with 1971.

Image by Porwest. An image of John B. Connoly's signature which would have been from 1971, not 1969.

Originally her signature was Dorothy Andrews Elston when she was first appointed to the position of Treasurer in 1969 by president Nixon.

She changed her name and subsequently had her signature changed on the U.S. currency when she married in 1971.

So, for all intents and purposes it is likely that the $1 Nixon bill I hold is a replica of a 1971 $1 bill with the strange, clouded picture of Nixon where Washington should be, that also altered the series date from 1971 to 1969.

I can only assume that the series would have been 1971 since the series date on U.S. currency is not the year in which the bills were printed, but the year of the latest design being printed.

Presumably the series for 1969 would have had the name Dorothy Andrews Elston on them.

I could be mistaken on that part of things since the only change made to the 1969 series was the name change for the Treasurer in 1971.

All of the other details on the note seem to add up to its origin. For example, the codes for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Georgia is consistent with the serial number on the bill and the bank code on the left. It is F and the 6 is correct, which signifies Atlanta, Georgia as the 6th district of the 12 Federal Reserve banks of the United States.

Image by Porwest. An image of Dorothy Andrews Kabis, consistent with her name change in 1971, not 1969 when she was Dorothy Andrews Elston.

I tried to search the serial number of the bill to see if anything would come up, but I was not able to find anything other than information on how serial numbers are arrived at.

The thing that is most interesting to me is that the bill, at least as far as I can tell, was not actually printed at any Federal Reserve bank. In other words, the bill is not altered, it would appear, from an actual bill that was printed and in circulation. It appears that it was printed entirely on its own with a plate made just for printing this bill.

The strangest thing to me is that I can find no information at all about any 1969 counterfeit $1 bill depicting this odd image of Nixon on it. I would have to assume that the bill was not just a one-off. It is far too elaborately done to be that. I would have to guess that there were several of these bills that were made.

So, where are they? Who made them? Is the Secret Service aware of them? Does anyone else have one?

I am also curious when this bill was made and how long it may have been in circulation before it landed in my own pocket as change?

For whatever it is worth, I will continue to seek out any information I can find on it and continue to hold this bill in my collection. My guess is that the bill is entirely worthless, as I presume any counterfeit bill is illegal to have even for collectors to trade. So even if this is part of a rare series of counterfeit bills, I am sure I could never sell it.

Image by Porwest. An image of my 1963 series $1 bill which is more worn than my 1969 Nixon bill.

I suppose one other mystery of interest for me would be why this bill was even printed at all? Was it for the purpose of actually counterfeiting money? Or was it a message being sent by someone to be aware of something?

The bill seems to actually only be a few years old, and I have had it for at least two or three years.

Why Nixon? Why now? Does it have something to do with Trump? Is it a warning to be watchful of future elections? Is it a warning about Biden? A reminder of Watergate?

Unfortunately I have more questions than answers. But it is entirely interesting to me nonetheless. Perhaps in a way, even if the bill is not even worth the face value if it is fake, which I think it is...

It still has value to me. If I have nothing else in my hand at this moment other than a grand mystery, that's something to hold onto.

Lead image by Porwest. An image from my $1 Nixon bill.

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Written by   182
3 months ago
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Funny to find a bill like that! Raises all sorts of questions about why it was made and by who!

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