|L to R: Asst Sec James Douglas, Treasury Sec Will|
Woodin, and Bur of Engraving Dir Alvin Hall.
From The Highland Recorder, Monterey, Va.,
March 31, 1933.
This March 5 will be the 85th anniversary of the collapse of the banking system.
Some states were issuing scrip because so many panicked customers were taking cash out of the banks that their tills and safes were empty, and their reserves had often dwindled to below the insolvency mark.
Someone suggested to the new Treasury Secretary that he should issue Federal scrip. Reportedly he figured out while he was playing the guitar for relaxation, that greenbacks were Federal scrip, if they weren't gold or silver certificates. There was no need to call a new issue "scrip". There just had to be a lot of greenbacks printed, fast.
Will Woodin personally supervised the printing of greenbacks to make sure that banks were not short of cash and currency. Rather than delay even a day by starting a new 1933 series, he issued a 1928 Series with his signature on it, even though the bills were printed in 1933. The 1928 Series has a red Treasury seal.
1928 Series dollar bill, signed by Woods and Woodin (as were all of the 1928 Series
dollar bills with the red seal). From the author's coin and currency collection.
These 1928 dollar bills are the last notes to have been issued with a red Treasury seal. A circulated 1928 Series is sold for an estimated average of $75, depending on condition. An uncirculated note is sold for $200-$500 (says AntiqueMoney.com). One with a serial number that begins with a star instead of a letter is called a Star Note and is sold for about $2,000 circulated and $15,000 or more uncirculated.
|This is an example of one of the 1928 Series Star Notes. These are rare, offered for|
$15,000 and up if uncirculated..
FDR declared a Bank Holiday for the four days March 6-9, 1933. The Emergency Banking Bill was passed through both Houses of Congress in four hours in a special session called for March 9. It was immediately signed into law by FDR. The Bank Holiday was continued for four more days, until Monday, March 13. One-third of the banks opened right away. The others had to be examined for solvency. But panic disappeared. Someone was in charge.
The next day, FDR introduced the Economy Act, which cut veterans' pensions to balance the budget and was unpopular among Democrats. This was not a Keynesian action, unlike most of FDR's other moves in 1933, but it passed both Houses of Congress with the support of many Republicans. It passed the Senate on March 20 only because it was immediately followed by a popular bill that partly ended Prohibition.
The 73rd Congress stayed in session for its first year until June 18, 1933. Three major pieces of legislation were passed in June – the Securities Act on June 5, the Glass-Steagall Banking Act on June 12, and NIRA (which established the brilliant Public Works Agency and the less successful NRA) on June 16.
|Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, poses in 2017 with a sheet of|
new $1 notes bearing his signature; his wife is at his side.