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FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF DALLAS
F IS C A L A G E N T O F TH E U N ITE D ST A T E S
Dallas, Texas, February 24, 1954
PRINTING OF $25 DENOMINATION SAVINGS BONDS BY THE OFFSET METHOD
To All Qualified Paying Agents in the
Eleventh Federal Reserve District:
There is reproduced on the reverse hereof a press statement regarding a change in
the method of printing $25 denomination United States Savings Bonds.
This statement is furnished to you particularly because so much publicity has been
given the proposal to change to the offset method for printing savings bonds. The Treas
ury would like you to know that before this decision was made all aspects of the problem
were considered, and not merely the savings involved. This consideration resulted in a
conclusion that no real counterfeiting problem should occur by reason o f the use of offset
printing. It is fundamental that a paying agent should not pay a savings bond recognized
as or suspected of being a counterfeit, regardless of the method of printing.
The Treasury requests that we remind each paying agent of this responsibility and
at the same time assure you that a paying agent will not be held liable for the payment
of any counterfeit savings bond, if by chance the counterfeit should be produced and
completed so cleverly as to prevent detection, payment is made to the owner named on
the bond, and the agent observes the established instructions governing the payment of
savings bonds. These instructions are contained in Treasury Circular No. 750, Revised,
the memorandum of instructions issued in conjunction therewith, and the identification
instructions issued under date of December 19, 1947. The identification instructions
referred to, consisting of a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury and a statement by
the Treasury Department, are enclosed for your ready reference.
Additional copies of this circular and enclosures will be furnished upon request.
Yours very truly,
WATROUS H. IRONS
This publication was digitized and made available by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas' Historical Library (FedHistory@dal.frb.org)
Saturday, February 13,1954.
The Treasury Department announced today a permanent changeover to offset
printing in the production of Series E savings bonds o f the $25 denomination, at an esti
mated yearly saving in excess of $400,000.
Engraved printing of higher denomination E bonds and all Series H, J and K bonds,
as well as all marketable bonds, will be continued.
Application of the offset printing method to savings bonds production was tested at
the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in January, and the results carefully analyzed. It
was found that it would permit maximum production of about 480,000 bonds per press
per 8-hour day, compared with about 28,000 for the engraving process. This program will
require a reduction in plate printers and other employees, totaling about 40 persons.
The United States Secret Service concluded that no counterfeiting problem would be
involved in adoption of the offset plan in view of the conditions under which savings bonds
are issued and redeemed. Savings bonds are not transferable, and the Treasury records
detailed information concerning each bond sold, such as the name and address of the
buyer, serial number, date of issue, and name of the issuing agent. Holders of savings
bonds must submit them to qualified paying agents for redemption. The holders are
required to identify themselves to these agents.
In the unlikely event that counterfeit savings bonds are presented to a paying agent
and escape detection and payment is made to the owners named on the bonds, the agent
will not be held liable for the erroneous payments provided the regular, required payment
procedure has been observed.
The Bureau will fill future vacancies in plate printer positions by reinstating, in the
order of their seniority as apprentices, members of the Bureau’s former apprentice train
ing program before hiring plate printers from the outside. The training program was
ended last July because engineering improvements in the Bureau made it unlikely that
there would be work for the 70 apprentices participating in it. Other positions in the
Bureau were offered to the 70 apprentices and all accepted. The policy of reinstating them
as apprentice plate printers will apply to all former apprentices still in the Bureau’s
T R E A S U R Y D EP A R T M E N T
December 19* 19A7*
To the Savings Bond .Paying Agent Addressed:
Let me take advantage of this opportunity to express my
appreciation for your cooperation in acting as a paying agent
of savings bonds and for the fact that the number and amount of
losses frc«a erroneous payments thus far have been small in rela
tion to the number of bonds paid. The.Treasury wishes to empha
size as strongly as it can that the payment of savings bonds is
a public service and that, therefore, each paying agent should make
its facilities available not only to customers, but to non-customers
and persons not known to the agent, when they are adequately identi
In order to give paying agents concrete guides and safeguards
to follow so that the public service intended may be discharged
properly, there is attached a confidential statement. It sets
forth types of acceptable identification and a method by which
paying agents may establish that an acceptable practice was fol
lowed with regard to the payment of savings bonds to non-customers
and persons not known to the agent.
The making of notations will dispense with the necessity on
the part of paying agents for reliance merely on memory, which fades
with the passage of time and the handling of so many transactions.
It will also give the Treasury Department reasonably tangible evi
dence pursuant' to which it can better administer the law governing
losses incurred in connection with payments of savings bonds.
The Treasury is fully aware of the many problems confronting
paying agents in this program and you may rest assured that full
consideration will be given thereto within the provisions of the
law. Although the paying agent has the responsibility for presenta
tion of evidence tending affirmatively to show that due care was
exercised, the Treasury Department will continue to use the facili
ties at its command to develop the facts in connection with the erro
neous payment of savings bonds. Each case will be fully developed.
Uien the facts and circumstances will be considered, and a recommen
dation made by the Chicago Office of the Bureau of the Public Debt.
In order that borderline cases will have the benefit of special
consideration, each will be reviewed by a c r o u p *of responsible
Treasury employees specially designated for the purpose. Thereafter
each case will be submitted to Washington where final determination
will be made. This, I believe, together with the foregoing outline
of policy and procedure and the statement attached hereto, should
do much to facilitate the handling of these cases.
The Treasury recommends that paying agents provide copies of
the attached confidential statement to all employees who cash savings
bonds. It also recommends that such employees be urged to reread
the regulations and instructions governing the cashing of savings
Washington, December 19, 1947
CONFIDENTIAL— FOR USE OF PAYING AGENTS ONLY
STATEMENT BY THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT CONCERNING IDENTIFICATION OF
PERSONS PRESENTING UNITED STATES SAVINGS BONDS FOR PAYMENT AND
THE LIABILITY OF PAYING AGENTS FOR LOSSES RESULTING FROM THE
ERRONEOUS PAYMENT OF SUCH BONDS
1. On and after January 1, 1948, paying agents are expected to make adequate notations on
the bonds or on a separate record at the time of payment showing exactly how identification was
established, except that paying agents will doubtless feel that notations are unnecessary in the case
of known customers. In the absence of such notation as to a payment on and after such date (which
subsequently proves to have been an erroneous payment) a statement by the paying agent that it
has no reason to believe its usual identification procedure was not followed will not be considered
in itself as a sufficient basis for a determination by the Secretary that the agent was free from
fault or negligence in making the payment, even though its procedure as described by the agent
would appear to be adequate if followed.
However, very careful consideration will be given to a statement by a paying agent that it has
no reason to believe its usual identification procedure (which as described by the agent appears
adequate) was not followed in an erroneous payment made before January 1, 1948, where the agent’s
statement is the only evidence obtainable. This, of course, will not apply to erroneous payments with
respect to which reimbursement has already been made by agents or to cases in which the
Department has heretofore formally determined an agent’s liability and has requested it to make
2. Subject to other provisions of this statement a paying agent will be relieved o f liability
when it has noted on the bonds (or on a separate record) at the time of payment the facts of
identification if: (1) an identification practice acceptable under the circumstances is shown to have
been followed; and (2) the Department’s investigation and the circumstances of the case disclose
no factors tending affirmatively to show that due care was not exercised. For handwriting as a
factor see paragraph 3.
3. Acceptable identification includes, but is not limited to, the following:
(1) personal identification as explained in paragraph 4;
(2) a pass issued by an employer (whose existence is known to the paying agent),
bearing the photograph of the employee or an adequate identifying description,
and his signature countersigned by some person purporting to be authorized by the
employer, or bearing some other evidence of validation of the employee’s signature,
as, for example, a facsimile signature of a representative of the employer;
(3) an insurance policy having attached a photographic copy of the application therefor
showing the insured’s signature, and adequate identifying description;
(4) separation documents of Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, that is,
either a single separation document or two documents in combination, which set
forth a physical description and witnessed signature of the recipient, or photo
graphs of such documents under practically the same circumstances as prescribed
in the case of Armed Forces Leave Bonds (see paragraph 10 of the instructions to
paying agents governing Armed Forces Leave Bonds, copies o f which may be
obtained from the Federal Reserve bank of the D istrict);
(5) original (not duplicate) draft registration cards, that is, those cards bearing the
registrant’s physical description, signed by the registrant in the presence* of the
registrar, and signed also by the registrar;
*This does not mean that paying agents are expected to ascertain that the registrant actually signed his name in
the presence of. the registrar. It is inserted merely to distinguish a draft registration card from a selective service
classification card which comes within the unacceptable class set forth in paragraph 5 and does not have to be signed
by the addressee in anyone’s presence and does not have to be validated by a countersignature.
(6) a customer of the paying agent, if known to or duly identified by the employee as
being a customer whose account has been established for six months or longer or
a customer whose identity was required to be established beyond any reasonable
doubt at the time the account was opened;** and
(7) motor vehicle operators’ licenses or permits; greater care should be exercised in
accepting this type of identification, since in many states a person can easily
obtain a driver’s license or permit without having to establish his identity to the
agency issuing the license or permit. In any case of doubt other acceptable
documents should be required for corroborative purposes.
It should be ascertained that any physical description or photograph on an identification
document fits the person presenting the bond, and while paying agents’ employees are not expected
to be handwriting experts, that there is a reasonable similarity between the signature known to
have been placed on the bond by such person and that appearing on the identification document
and that any such documents do not bear signs o f alteration. A recently issued document should
be a cause for the exercise o f additional care.
4. Personal identification, that is, identification of a stranger by a customer of or by someone
well and favorably known to the paying agent, if carefully •
used, is one of the best methods of
identification and has the approval of the Treasury. But, of course, personal identification is not
considered good identification by the Treasury Department when a paying agent accepts the bare
statement of the identifier that he knows the person presenting the bond for payment by the
name inscribed on the bond. The personal integrity and reliability of the identifier are not sufficient.
The reliability of the source and duration of the identifier’s acquaintance with the person presenting
the bond for payment are just as important. The paying agent, therefore, should ask for the
source and duration of the identifier’s acquaintance with the person presenting the bond and
should be satisfied that they are sound. At the time of payment a paying agent should require
the identifier to sign his name and show his address on the bonds, or on a separate record, or
should so record such data itself. A paying agent may imprint on the back of a bond for the
signature of the identifier any form of guarantee which the agent may wish to use for its own
protection. In the event o f a loss the identifier will be expected to be in a position to present a
reasonable basis for making the identification. In the absence of such reasonable basis the paying
agent will be considered to have been at fault in making the payment. Consequently, the agent
will have to sustain the loss unless he can obtain reimbursement from the identifier.
5. Unacceptable identification includes, but is not limited to, social security cards, ration
books, selective service classification cards (that is, those notifying a person of his classification
for draft purposes), and, in general, any kind of card or alleged identification which does not
contain a witnessed, or otherwise validated, Signature or which is easily obtainable without the
person in whose name it is issued having to establish his identity. Generally, these cards will not
be considered acceptable by themselves or in combinations thereof.
6. Paying agents will not be relieved of liability for losses resulting from erroneous payments
in cases which involve a violation of the governing regulations and instructions. Particular
attention should be given to detect alterations on bonds, and differences and errors in names and
initials or lack of appropriate prefix and suffix between those in the bond inscription and those in the
request for payment. Agents may be adjudged fully responsible for any losses resulting from any
deficiencies in these respects.
**This deals with payment to a customer. See paragraph 4 for the identification of someone else by a customer.