RE: [tips_and_tricks] change of seal
- One wrote:
> A 1996 and a 2003 series $5 FRN showed the seal ofFirst I want to apologize for my ignorance in this area. I haven't
> the "United States Federal Reserve System" on the
> obverse, instead of a Federal Reserve Bank seal.
> Has anyone an opinion of what this change of seal means legally and of
> the legal significance of a seal on a note or commercial paper
> instrument ?
dealt with FRNs for so long, I no longer know what a "current" one looks
like! I've been stuck here on the farm so long, and don't accept or
collect FRNs, so right now I have no idea what features they may or may
not possess! I said I was feeling alienated! I notice a lot of people
carry special pens to draw lines across FRNs to see if they are
counterfeit, but the pen manufacturers don't guarantee them for that
purpose! I find it much nicer just to forget about them!
Here's my opinion nonetheless: A FRN is a name of a thing. This thing
changes in its characteristics over time - in other words, one printed
in one year may be totally different from one printed in another year.
At one time, laws were passed and court citations proved that Federal
Reserve Notes once actually were notes, and were obligations of Federal
Reserve (tm) Banks, and were redeemable in lawful money upon demand.
This is why they were permitted to be used as legal tender.
Law and court cases were specific about FRNs. They had the character of
notes, they carried a promise of redemption, and redemption was
Then, in a land where people believe that law changes just because time
passes, and when it was seen that the theft of their metallic money
didn't really cause much upset on the part of most people, a clever idea
was hatched! Remove the promise to pay; in fact, remove some of the
crucial words that used to make FRNs actual notes, but leave the big
lettering like ONE DOLLAR or FIVE DOLLARS.
This did not change the law regarding FRNs in general, because many
still circulated of the older type. But it did create a new species of
FRN, the one printed in that year when these changes were made. Now
there were FRNS that were NOT "notes", did NOT "pay" but now only
"discharged" debts. For people who cared to avoid the equity
jurisdiction, things suddenly got more difficult, as they lost the
utility of paper money warehouse receipts (the best being gold and
silver certificates, which circulated alongside FRNs for a long time)
permitting a choice of jurisdictions in one's dealings. Remember, before
the courts of law and equity had their forms blended by New York
lawyers? FRNs actually were changed after the forms were blended. The
people could have complained, but didn't care enough to do it. Some
cared, but not enough of them.
So, now we have FRNs that are one thing, and law and courts agree on
them, and we have FRNs that are another thing entirely that the law and
courts could never have been referring to, since things would not make
sense if the old laws and old cites were talking about today's FRNs. In
my opinion, to quote a law or court citation regarding FRNs, you have to
make sure that you are talking about the "right" FRN. In other words, a
court citation about FRNs from the year 2006 certainly cannot be in line
with a citation from 1950. Different "instruments" entirely!
So, to answer the original question about the changes in seals, and
their significance today, I see the FRN as departing from it's original
legal position, and striking off cross-country chasing the public's
perception of it, the law be damned! Today, people will tell you that
FRNs ARE dollars. Ask to see a dollar, and you will see a FRN. Unless
you go to a patriot meeting and then you see a lot of gold and silver
coins. But most call FRNs dollars, and most do not even know that they
are Federal Reserve Notes or FRNs, they call them dollars.
So, when the FRN departed the law, but remained as a trademarked product
still wanted and traded for its own sake by people who cared little
about technicalities of jurisdictions and monetary issues, features were
abandoned that created legal liabilities, and had legal significance,
and now the features are closer to trademarks and proprietary packaging.
Don't like the new colors? Just wait a little bit and maybe they'll use
your favorite color next!
Again, I feel so embarrassed and alienated - I don't even know what
colors they are using now!