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Burnt Greenbacks

Burnt Greenbacks image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

The induntification and restoraüon of notes whioh have been burnt is s. difficult and interesting operation. Every one luis observed that a printed paper having been burnt, if' riot subject to a druft or ronghly handled, retains its original form, and that the printing is diatinct and legible, and appears it had beeti raised or enbosed on the paper, but that if it is touched ever so gently it crumbles into dust. Notes in this eondition are frequently received at the department for rüdemption. The counter subjects each nota and fragment of a note to a carcful inspection in a strong light, under a powerful glass, until she determines the denominatiou and issuo, and then pastes it upon a pioce of thin, tough paper in order that it nnty be safely handled; But this pastiriar, by destroying the raised or erubossed appearance, at once and forever precludes all chance of indenifying tho kind or denomination of the note. Henceforth it Í3 but a plain, black piece of paper, giving no indication that it ever represented money. It is therefore very necessary that the counter should bn quite sure that her judgment ia correct before the note ia pasted upon the paper. She must also, - a most difficult task, - determine whether the note is genuine or counterfeit. And yet counterfeits are discovered by these experts among the charred remains of notes with altnost as much certainty as among perfect note?. Charred notes of National biinks havo occasionally come into tho possession of the Department, and have beon restorod in this'manner and retuvned for redemption to the banks whieh issued thein, accompanied by the affidavits of the counters that they woee the remains of notos of the banks to whieh they were returned. In most cases they wero promptly and chcerfully redeemed. But occasionally a surly bank ofiicer, unablo or unwilling to trace any resemblancc to bank notes, or at least to the notes of his bank, in the plain black pieees of paper returned to him, and inftuenoéd p by a desiro to effect a little saviug for the stockholders, refused to redeem and cliallcngcd tho Department to tho proof. All positive ocular proof having been dostroyed whon the notes were restorod and pasted, the Department was coinpelled to submit to tho lc Once soine of these experts were granted leaves of absence, without pay from the government. for tho puspose of restoring a large quantity of burnt money belonging to Adams Express Compauy. This was permitted partly it was known that there was no onn elso who eould perform the service, without whieh tho coinpany would be subjected to great loss, but prineipally because the company offered to pay thein much more for their time and labor than they were receiviüg from the government, and it was thought that their long and faithful service justly entitlcd them to this addition to their nioager salaries. The money was taken from safes recovered from the wreek of a burnt steamer whieh had been lyina; for four or live years at the bottoui of the Migsissippi, and the notes were so burnt, decayed, and damaged as to be sibsolutely worthless, unless indentificd and restored. Yet nearly every note of the one hundred and eighty-ono thousand dollars in United States and National Bank notes recovered was restored with unerring certainty and redeeraed at its full face valué. Tho Chicago and Boston fires have for the last year and a half furnished burnt notes enough to keep aÜ the experts of the office pretty


Old News
Michigan Argus