PCGS Currency has certified a newly discovered hoard of Giori Test Notes, printed on a press designed in the 1970s in Geneva, New York, by an engineer working for the American Bank Note Company. The notes, which were saved by the designer of the press and were recently sold from his estate to the numismatic market by a family member, are one of the largest groups of these famous “test notes” to ever become available to the collecting community.
The engineer who designed the press for the American Bank Note company, Edgar L. Pigman, was an engineer with the American Can Company's Geneva, NY location. He was contracted by the American Bank Note Company, who had subcontracted the work from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, to design the press. They were originally designed to help improve the BEP’s printing process and modernize the machinery, although the project was eventually scrapped.
The machines, shipped to Washington DC after they were built in Geneva, used plates from the Bureau to create a number of “test sheets” of notes using "nonsense plates". These plates displayed approximately 32 different vignettes, including portraits of Presidents Washington, Lincoln, and Grant that are identical to those on the $1, $5 and $50 Federal Reserve Notes that were then current in circulation. Originally they were considered by the BEP as illegal for collectors to own, since they somewhat resembled authentic circulating currency, but the restriction on private ownership has since been lifted.
Purchased by Terry L. Smith, owner of Smitty's Cards and Coins in Canandaigua, NY, the hoard was sold in its entirety from the estate of Mr. Pigman by a family member. It was submitted to PCGS Currency for grading and certification, and a number of sheets, partial sheets, and individual notes will be available for viewing and purchase by collectors and dealers at the American Numismatic Association annual World’s Fair of Money to be held in Philadelphia August 7-11. Further information about these notes can be found at www.smittyscoins.com.
PCGS Currency is the leading third-party paper money authentication and grading company in the world, having graded nearly 500,000 notes since its founding in 2005