Identification codes for paper money types and varieties

Dennis Schafluetzel's picture
Schafluetzel ID M-B.F&M-1-3c, Garland ID 616, Haxby ID TN-100-G42
I am writing an update on Paul Garland’s book on Tennessee obsolete currency. I began with the objective of publishing a book on Tennessee merchant scrip as an addition to Paul Garland’s book on banknotes. Initially I decided to expand the Garland sequential identification numbering system from the published 1-1509 up to 9999 to include the Tennessee scrip that was not included in Paul Garland’s book.

I later change the objective to include the all the banknotes because, a number of banknotes have been discovered since Paul Garland wrote the book in the early 1980s. I considered identifying the discovery notes with a decimal number between where they belonged in Paul’s number system. At the same time I encountered whole new series of notes in the merchant scrip between where I had extrapolated Paul’s numbering system that required I revise the numbering system. At that point I decided to use an open numbering system that allows for new discoveries in the numbering identification system.

The open identification numbering system consists of:


C for Chattanooga, BB for Big Bottom, Ca for Calhoun, etc

Type Issuer

B for Bank, M for merchant, G for government, etc

Issuer Name

Abe for Abernathy, R. G, Ala for AL & Chatt. RR, ETN for Bank of East Tennessee


5c for 5 cents, 1 for one dollar

Type Number

1 for 1st type of that Location, Issuing type, Issuer, denomination / blank if only one type

Sub Type

a, b, c not used if no sub type

General Class

blank for issued note, Un for un-issued, PN for post note, Cf for counterfeit, Pf for proof, etc.



  • If a specific printed note was issued for multiple branch banks with the only difference being the handwritten branch location it will have a different place identifying element but the remainder of the note ID will be identical. Athens 80 cent fractional note from the Planters Bank of TN ID is A-B.Pla-80c, Memphis 80 cent fractional note from the Planters Bank of TN is M-B.Pla-80c.


  • If the same printed note has multiple hand written dates it is the same type number. Bank of Chattanooga $100 Garland 116 & 117 has the same ID because only the 18 of the date is printed for dates: (Sep. 1,) 18(59) & (Oct. 1,) 18(60) . The ID will be C-B.C-100-2 for both Garland numbers.


  • Proof notes have the same type and sub type as issued or unissued notes. Proof note will have the General Class Pf added at the end of the ID. Issued = B-B.Agr-1-2, Proof = B-B.Agr-1-2Pf


  • Unissued notes will have Un added at the end of the ID. Issued = B-B.Agr-1-2, Unissued = B-B.Agr-1-2Un


  • Counterfeit notes have the same type and sub type as genuine notes but they have Cf added to the type number. Issued = C-B.Uni-20-4, Counterfeit = C-B.Uni-20-4Cf for $20 type 4 from Union Bank, Chattanooga branch.

An open type of identification is especially important for scrip since new denominations and issuers are and will continue to be discovered. I recommend the new and previously published books identification numbers be listed with the listing in the new book to make an easy for the users.