LEPE Overprinting

In late 2012, the BEP's Fort Worth, TX facility began to overprint serial numbers and seals on some $1 notes on the new LEPE (Large Examining and Printing Equipment), rather than the COPE (Currency Overprinting and Processing Equipment) system that had been in use for the previous several decades. The Washington, DC facility began to overprint $1 notes on LEPE in early 2014.


32-subject note
   
50-subject note

COPE works with sheets of 32 notes; LEPE can handle either the 32-subject sheets or the new, larger 50-subject sheets. Notes printed in 50-subject sheets can be identified by the style of the plate position indicator on each note: the letter and number are now the same size, instead of the large letter and small number used on 32-subject notes.

All notes from 50-subject sheets are overprinted on LEPE. But 32-subject sheets continue to be overprinted on both COPE and LEPE. Serials and seals printed by LEPE look substantially identical to those printed by COPE, but the LEPE notes are nevertheless identifiable: Since LEPE operates quite differently than COPE, the relationship between serial numbers and plate positions is radically changed. In order to determine whether a given 32-subject note was printed on COPE or LEPE, use the following calculations:

For COPE:

  • Divide the serial number by 6,400,000.
  • Subtract off the whole-number part of the result, leaving only the decimal.
  • Multiply this decimal by 32 and round up to the next whole number.
  • Convert the resulting number to a plate position using this chart:
  • 1 = A1 5 = E1 17 = A3 21 = E3
    2 = B1 6 = F1 18 = B3 22 = F3
    3 = C1 7 = G1 19 = C3 23 = G3
    4 = D1 8 = H1 20 = D3 24 = H3
    9 = A2 13 = E2 25 = A4 29 = E4
    10 = B2 14 = F2 26 = B4 30 = F4
    11 = C2 15 = G2 27 = C4 31 = G4
    12 = D2 16 = H2 28 = D4 32 = H4
  • Remember that COPE cuts the sheets in half before the serials are overprinted, so it is possible for the two sides of the sheet to be swapped, resulting in notes whose plate positions are off by two quadrants (e.g., C4 instead of C2).

For LEPE:

  • Divide the serial number by 3,200.
  • Subtract off the whole-number part of the result, leaving only the decimal.
  • Multiply this decimal by 32 and round up to the next whole number.
  • Convert the resulting number to a plate position using this chart:
  • 25 = A1 17 = E1 9 = A3 1 = E3
    26 = B1 18 = F1 10 = B3 2 = F3
    27 = C1 19 = G1 11 = C3 3 = G3
    28 = D1 20 = H1 12 = D3 4 = H3
    29 = A2 21 = E2 13 = A4 5 = E4
    30 = B2 22 = F2 14 = B4 6 = F4
    31 = C2 23 = G2 15 = C4 7 = G4
    32 = D2 24 = H2 16 = D4 8 = H4

Notice, however, that occasionally a note will happen to have the same plate position under both numbering systems. In that case, other notes from the same run must be examined to determine how that particular run was overprinted.

In a new BEP bundle of 1,000 notes with COPE overprinting, all 1,000 notes will come from the same plate position (unless there are COPE swaps as mentioned above). But in a bundle of 1,000 notes with LEPE overprinting, the plate position will change for each successive 100-note strap.

One interesting observation about the LEPE-overprinted runs: It appears that in these runs, the notes with serial numbers ending in 9999 or 0000 are no longer replaced by star notes, but are actually issued.

The BEP's monthly production reports do not indicate which serial number ranges were printed on COPE and which on LEPE, so the information below has been compiled from collector observations.

$1 notes

LEPE was first used in October 2012, during the production of the Series 2009 $1. For the following two years, 2009 $1 notes were serialled on both LEPE and COPE, all in 32-subject sheets. Reports from collectors have now allowed every 2009 $1 print run to be classified as either COPE or LEPE, so the tentative breakdown that formerly appeared here has been finalised and moved to the 2009 $1 page proper.

All Series 2013 $1's have been printed in 50-subject sheets, so all have been serialled on LEPE.

$2 notes

  COPE    LEPE  undetermined

In the $2 denomination, both COPE and LEPE overprinting of 32-subject sheets have been used in Series 2013. Identifying which print runs were produced in which manner is still an ongoing project. If you have any 2013 $2 notes from serial ranges that are still listed as undetermined, please report them to me at webmaster@uspapermoney.info (include the serial number, plate position, and face and back plate numbers). Many thanks for your assistance!

Month Federal Reserve District (First letter of serial number) Star Notes Month
ABCDEF GHIJKL
Nov 13 - - - - - F 000 00001 A
F 192 00000 A
- - - - - - F 000 00001 *
F 006 40000 *
Nov 13
.
.
.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - .
.
.
Jun 14 - - - - - - - - - - K 000 00001 A
K 128 00000 A
- - Jun 14
.
.
.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - .
.
.
Jan 15 - B 000 00001 A
B 192 00000 A
- - - - - - - - K 128 00001 A
K 192 00000 A
- - Jan 15
.
.
.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - .
.
.
Sep 15 - - - - - - - - - - K 192 00001 A
K 256 00000 A
- - Sep 15
Oct 15 - - - - E 000 00001 A
E 064 00000 A
- - - - - K 256 00001 A
K 384 00000 A
- - Oct 15
Nov 15 - - - - - - - - - - - - L 000 00001 *
L 001 28000 *
Nov 15
Dec 15 - - - - E 064 00001 A
E 128 00000 A
- - - - - - - L 032 00001 *
L 044 00000 *
Dec 15
Jan 16 - - - - - - - - - - - L 000 00001 A
L 320 00000 A
- Jan 16
Feb 16 - - - - - - - - - - - - - Feb 16
Mar 16 - - - - - - - - - - - - - Mar 16
Apr 16 - - - - - - - - - - - - - Apr 16
May 16 -
B 192 00001 A
B 320 00000 A
B 320 00001 A
B 448 00000 A
- - - - - - - - - L 320 00001 A
L 512 00000 A
- May 16
Jun 16 A 000 00001 A
A 064 00000 A
B 448 00001 A
B 576 00000 A
C 000 00001 A
C 064 00000 A
D 000 00001 A
D 064 00000 A
- - - - - - - - B 000 00001 *
B 032 00000 *
Jun 16
Jul 16 - - - - -
F 192 00001 A
F 256 00000 A
F 256 00001 A
F 320 00000 A
G 000 00001 A
G 064 00000 A
G 064 00001 A
G 128 00000 A
H 000 00001 A
H 064 00000 A
I 000 00001 A
I 064 00000 A
J 000 00001 A
J 064 00000 A
- - - Jul 16

Other denominations

No notes in denominations above $2 have been observed with LEPE plate positions. However, through a FOIA request to the BEP it has been discovered that the three runs of 2013 $5 MK..* notes printed at Fort Worth in early 2014 were LEPE products. None of these star notes have yet had a chance to reach circulation, as all regular $5 production in the intervening years has taken place at the Washington facility.


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