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Dates on US paper money can be very difficult to interpret. Unlike dates on coins that (usually) indicate the calendar year in which they were minted, dates on bills are "series dates" that indicate the year that a particular design and/or signature combination was adopted. The series date remains the same until the Treasury Department determines that a new series is needed.

Up till 1974 the general practice was to change a denomination's series date only when there was a major redesign. When a new Secretary of the Treasury or United States Treasurer took office during that series, a small letter would be added next to the date.

Because the 1935 series of $1 bills was never redesigned the Treasury kept incrementing the letter every time a new official was appointed. The rather absurd result was that bills printed as late as the mid-1960s still carried a 1935 date while the series letter increased to H. The approximate issue dates are as follows, and shows that your 1935E bill was in fact printed during Ms. Priest's tenure.

  • plain/A: 01/1934-07/1945
  • B: 07/1945-07/1946
  • C: 07/1946-05/1949
  • D: 06/1949-01/1953
  • E: 01/1953-07/1957
  • F: 07/1957-01/1961
  • G: 01/1961-04/1962
  • H: 01/1963-03/1965

In response to that situation the policy was changed in 1974 so that a new series would start when either a new design was adopted OR a new Secretary of the Treasury took office. The letter would increment only when or if a new Treasurer was appointed during a given series. If you check the bills in your wallet you'll see that changes in series dates are now much more frequent and series letters rarely go beyond A or B.

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Q: Why is Ivy Baker Priest's signature on a 1935 E US 1 dollar silver certificate when she was not Treasurer of United States until 1953?
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