US Treasury specimen book

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Engraved eagle (with flag) BEP-(unk)-Eagle (with flag).jpg
Engraved eagle (with flag)

US Treasury Department Specimen books, also known as BEP presentation albums, were published by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) from the mid-1860s through the 1910s. Prepared upon request of the United States Secretary of the Treasury, albums were generally presented to Cabinet members, select Members of Congress, diplomats, and visiting dignitaries. Some extant albums still in their original binding bear the name of the recipient impressed in gold lettering on the cover. While no two presentation albums have exactly the same contents, each book usually contained portraits, vignettes, and/or images of buildings. Specimen books which contain whole proof images of currency are extremely rare.

Bureau of Engraving and Printing government agency under the U.S. Treasury that prints paper money and distributes Treasury securities

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) is a government agency within the United States Department of the Treasury that designs and produces a variety of security products for the United States government, most notable of which is Federal Reserve Notes for the Federal Reserve, the nation's central bank. In addition to paper currency, the BEP produces Treasury securities; military commissions and award certificates; invitations and admission cards; and many different types of identification cards, forms, and other special security documents for a variety of government agencies. The BEP does not produce coins; all coinage is produced by the United States Mint. With production facilities in Washington, D.C., and Fort Worth, Texas, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is the largest producer of government security documents in the United States.

United States Secretary of the Treasury Government position

The secretary of the treasury is the head of the United States Department of the Treasury which is concerned with all financial and monetary matters relating to the federal government, and, until 2003, also included several major federal law enforcement agencies. This position in the federal government of the United States is analogous to the minister of finance in many other countries. The secretary of the treasury is a member of the president's Cabinet, and is nominated by the president of the United States. Nominees for secretary of the treasury undergo a confirmation hearing before the United States Senate Committee on Finance before being voted on by the United States Senate.

Cabinet of the United States Advisory body to the president of the United States

The Cabinet of the United States is part of the executive branch of the federal government of the United States. The members of the Cabinet are the vice president and the secretary of state and other heads of the federal executive departments, all of whom — if eligible — are in the presidential line of succession.

Contents

Banknote engraving specimen books

The function of specimen books or presentation albums initially served as a business-generating artist's portfolio to be given to bank presidents or heads of foreign national banks. [1] Prior to specimen books, engraving company salesmen presented potential clients with engraved broadsides highlighting their abilities. Examples of these salesman's sample sheets exist from the mid 1820s [2] and 1830s. [3] [4] While specimen books were introduced in 1850s and 1860s, examples of the salesman sheet are known through the 1880s. [5]

Broadside (printing) historical printing format; large sheet of paper printed on one side only

A broadside is a large sheet of paper printed on one side only. Historically, broadsides were used as posters, announcing events or proclamations, commentary in the form of ballads, or simply advertisements.

Bureau of Engraving and Printing (US Treasury) specimen books

BEP-US Treasury Department Specimens (c. 1881), standard title page BEP-U.S. Treasury Department Specimens (c. 1881), title page.jpg
BEP-US Treasury Department Specimens (c. 1881), standard title page

Literature on US Treasury Department specimen books is very scarce. An auction record from 1891 described a BEP specimen book with 103 engravings ("46 portraits and 57 vignettes") as either coming from the collection of Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, or having been presented to him. [6] A 1921 auction catalog documents the offering of a BEP specimen book which contained about 145 engravings ("about 100 portraits and 45 plates and views"). [7] In 2001 the numismatic community knew of 47 BEP specimen books and suspected the existence of 10 to 15 more. [1]

Henry Ward Beecher American clergyman and abolitionist

Henry Ward Beecher was an American Congregationalist clergyman, social reformer, and speaker, known for his support of the abolition of slavery, his emphasis on God's love, and his 1875 adultery trial.

A WorldCat search of library records found eight BEP specimen books. [8] Based on available information for five books, they range in size (i.e., number of engraved illustrations) from roughly 125 [9] to 145 [10] engravings. One library record noted a presentation inscription to James B. Beck. [11]

WorldCat International union library catalog

WorldCat is a union catalog that itemizes the collections of 17,900 libraries in 123 countries and territories that participate in the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) global cooperative. It is operated by OCLC, Inc. The subscribing member libraries collectively maintain WorldCat's database, the world's largest bibliographic database. OCLC makes WorldCat itself available free to libraries, but the catalog is the foundation for other subscription OCLC services. WorldCat is used by the general public and by librarians for cataloging and research.

James B. Beck United States Representative and Senator from Kentucky

James Burnie Beck was a United States Representative and Senator from Kentucky.

Between 2005 and mid-2014 available records indicate at least 18 BEP specimen presentation albums have sold in public auction. [nb 1] [23] [24] [25] </ref> Albums vary in length from a single volume of 24 portraits [22] to a four volume set containing roughly 400 engraved images. [23] The content of each album varies and may contain one or more of the following: portraits of presidents, [22] cabinet members, [21] founding fathers, government officials, [24] and Civil War generals; [26] vignettes and allegories found on various issues of US paper currency [23] and other government securities; and engravings of significant and historical architectural structures. [21] The interior of a BEP presentation album is generally described as containing "intaglio die proof vignette pulls on thick gilt edged cards, each with intervening integral tissue guards for protection". [19] The illustrations below come from a single two-volume presentation album reportedly given to Treasury Secretary Lyman Gage.

Portraits

United States banknotes issued from 1861 to the present depict 53 people [nb 2] including presidents, cabinet members, Founding Fathers, jurists, military leaders and members of congress. Thirteen presidents [nb 3] and 12 treasury secretaries [nb 4] have been depicted on US banknotes. Some have appeared on bonds. [nb 5] Many presidents had more than one official engraving. A side-by-side comparison of these engraved portraits and the notes on which they appeared can be seen at Art and engraving on United States banknotes.

Founding Fathers of the United States Group of Americans who led the revolution against Great Britain

The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simply the Founding Fathers, were a group of American leaders who united the Thirteen Colonies, led the war for independence from Great Britain, and built a frame of government for the new United States of America upon republican principles during the latter decades of the 18th century. Most Founding Fathers at one point considered themselves British subjects, but they came to understand themselves more as patriotic Americans who possessed a spirit distinct from that of their motherland. The group was composed of businessmen, lawyers, philosophers, politicians, plantation owners and writers from a variety of social, economic, and ethnic backgrounds. The Founding Fathers came from a variety of occupations, and many had no prior political experience.

Supreme Court of the United States Highest court in the United States

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all federal and state court cases that involve a point of federal law, and original jurisdiction over a narrow range of cases, including suits between two or more states and those involving ambassadors. The Court holds the power of judicial review, the ability to invalidate a statute for violating a provision of the U.S. Constitution. It is also able to strike down presidential directives for violating either the Constitution or statutory law. However, it may act only within the context of a case in an area of law over which it has jurisdiction. The Court may decide cases having political overtones, but it has ruled that it does not have power to decide non-justiciable political questions.

President

Treasury

Vignettes

Based on historical paintings (Capitol Rotunda)

Military

Allegory

Footnotes

  1. Auction records from 2005 to the present (27 September 2014) indicate 18 presentation albums sold across roughly 10 sales [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] <ref name='ANA2013(3111/2)'> The August 2013 Chicago ANA Auction (PDF). Stack's Bowers Gallery. 2013. p. 29. Retrieved 8 September 2014.External link in |publisher= (help)
  2. This list does not include US Fractional currency.
  3. Washington, [27] Jefferson, [28] Madison, [29] Monroe, [30] John Q. Adams, [31] Jackson, [32] Lincoln, [33] Grant, [34] Garfield, [35] Cleveland, [36] Benjamin Harrison, [37] McKinley, [38] and Wilson [39]
  4. Hamilton, [40] Dexter, [41] Gallatin, [42] Crawford, [41] Walker, [43] Meredith, [44] Chase, [45] Fessenden, [46] McCulloch, [47] Sherman, [48] Windom, [49] and Manning. [50]
  5. Johnson and Taylor

    Notes

    1. 1 2 Barrett & Hessler, 2001, p. 319.
    2. "Fairman Draper Underwood & Co. Salesman's Sample Broadside". Heritage Auctions . Retrieved 21 September 2014.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
    3. "Salesman's Sample Sheet". Heritage Auctions . Retrieved 21 September 2014.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
    4. "New England Bank Note Co". Heritage Auctions . Retrieved 21 September 2014.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
    5. "Canada Bank Note Engraving & Printing Company Salesman Sheet". Heritage Auctions . Retrieved 21 September 2014.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
    6. Catalogue of the Entire Private Library Belonging to a Well Known Boston Collector... Charles F. Libbie, Jr. 1891. p. 19.
    7. Autographs, Manuscripts and Broadsides. American Art Association, Anderson Galleries. 1921. p. 67.
    8. "Specimens". OCLC WorldCat . Retrieved 21 September 2014.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
    9. "Specimens". Sewanee The University of the South. Retrieved 21 September 2014.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
    10. "Specimens". Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection. Retrieved 21 September 2014.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
    11. "Specimens". Harvard Library. Retrieved 21 September 2014.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
    12. "CSNS Signature Sale (5 May 2005)". Heritage Auctions . Retrieved 6 September 2014.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
    13. "FUN Signature Sale (5 January 2006)". Heritage Auctions . Retrieved 6 September 2014.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
    14. "FUN Signature Sale (5 January 2006)". Heritage Auctions . Retrieved 6 September 2014.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
    15. "CSNS Signature Currency Auction (16 April 2008)". Heritage Auctions . Retrieved 6 September 2014.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
    16. "Memphis Signature Currency Auction (17 June 2010)". Heritage Auctions . Retrieved 6 September 2014.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
    17. "Philadelphia Americana Sale #1156 (30 September 2010)". Stack's. Archived from the original on 28 September 2014. Retrieved 6 September 2014.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
    18. "Philadelphia Americana Sale #1157 (30 September 2010)". Stack's. Archived from the original on 28 September 2014. Retrieved 6 September 2014.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
    19. 1 2 "The 52 Collection Part II #3322 (25 January 2011)". Stack's. Archived from the original on 28 September 2014. Retrieved 6 September 2014.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
    20. "CSNS Signature Currency Auction (27 April 2011)". Heritage Auctions . Retrieved 6 September 2014.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
    21. 1 2 3 The August 2012 Philadelphia ANA Auction (PDF). Stack's Bowers Gallery. 2012. p. 62. Retrieved 6 September 2014.External link in |publisher= (help)
    22. 1 2 3 The Official Baltimore Auction (PDF). Stack's Bowers Gallery. 2012. p. 46. Retrieved 6 September 2014.External link in |publisher= (help)
    23. 1 2 3 The August 2013 Chicago ANA Auction (PDF). Stack's Bowers Gallery. 2013. p. 30. Retrieved 8 September 2014.External link in |publisher= (help)
    24. 1 2 "The Collector's Series (9 October 2013)". Spink London. Retrieved 6 September 2014.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
    25. "Live Auctioneers Catalog (26 April 2014)". www.liveauctioneers.com. Retrieved 8 September 2014.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
    26. Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 38.
    27. Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 41.
    28. Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 58.
    29. Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 87.
    30. Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 55.
    31. Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 43.
    32. Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 36.
    33. Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 79.
    34. Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 111.
    35. Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 146.
    36. Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 126.
    37. Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 129.
    38. Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 240.
    39. Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 40.
    40. 1 2 Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 181.
    41. Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 54.
    42. Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 178.
    43. Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 176.
    44. Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 37.
    45. Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 177.
    46. Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 132.
    47. Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 135.
    48. Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 77.
    49. Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 85.

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