De Pere

City of De Pere

The City of De Pere was forced to issue payment orders to meet payroll and other city expenses because most of the City’s cash was held in accounts at banks that were closed by the moratorium.  In March 1933, the city had approximately $500.00 in cash available and immediate payables in excess of $3,000.00.  Over $70,000.00 of the city’s money was tied up in closed banks.

The first issue of scrip was authorized in March and issued on April 19, 1933.  This first issue totaled $20,000.00 and consisted of 12,000 $1.00 notes, 1,000 $5.00 notes and 300 $10.00 notes.  The second issue was dated May 20, 1933 and the final issue was dated June 14, 1933. A total of $55,000.00 was issued.

The serial number break down is as follows:

April 19, 19331 – 1200012001 – 1300013001 – 13300
May 20, 1933133001 – 1730017301 – 1830018301 – 19300
June 14, 193319301 – 2330023301 – 2430024300 – 25000

City merchants initially balked at the idea of accepting the scrip. The merchants were concerned that it would not be accepted by their suppliers. They also demanded that the scrip bear interest.  The merchants’ concerns were allayed when the suppliers indicated a willingness to accept partial payments in scrip and the City agreed to the scrip bearing 4% interest. 

The scrip was payable by the City no later than March 15, 1934 and was accepted by the City in payment of taxes and other obligations due the City. It was subject to being called in by the City if adequate funds were available for redemption prior to this date.  The issued scrip was redeemed on the call of the city.

Notice in the De Pere Journal-Democrat announcing the redemption of city orders. The serial numbers indicate all the April scrip and the $1.00 notes from May.

Scrip not turned in by the redemption date ceased earning interest as of that date.   Redemption began on May 18, 1933 when $3,000.00 was called in. Redemption calls were done by serial number prior to the final redemption on March 15, 1934 A total of $54,974.00 was redeemed through 1939.

Circulation of the scrip was explained in the April 13, 1933 edition of the De Pere Journal-Democrat:

                . . . All city officials, employees, teachers, laborers and business men who have money coming from the city will be given scrip in payment for their services and they, in turn, will pass it to whoever will take it.  As this new circulating medium draws 4 per cent interest it is believed it will be accepted gladly when it is known that it is backed by the city’s credit.  Practically all the scrip will be circulated in De Pere.

               Scrip will be returned in change by merchants except that for amounts under $1.00, silver change will be given customers.  The merchants have decided to have a sufficient amount of $1.00 scrip bills on hand to return scrip in change for scrip, and also currency for currency.  The scrip will have the same purchasing power as all other kinds of money or checks.  The name “De Pere” will be plainly printed upon the bills.

The scrip was printed by the Todd Company of Rochester, New York who charged the City $162.27 for each issue printed.  The specifications for the printing of the scrip were discussed in an article in the April 20, 1933 edition of the De Pere Journal-Democrat:

                  Twenty thousand dollars worth of city order scrip, $12,000 in one dollar denomination, $5,000 in fives and $3,000 in tens, was delivered to city officials today by the Todd company of Rochester, N.Y.

                   Printed on what is called “Protod-Greenbac” safety paper, the scrip is gray and black on its face with green back.  On the left the city seal is incorporated in an intricate bank note design.  Large “counter” numeral of the denomination is worked into the bank note vignetted border in the upper righthand corner, and smaller corresponding numerals form part of the design above and below the city seal.  Lettered in the bank note border at the top are the words “Hold to the light—See Water-mark” and in the bottom border “Genuine only if watermarked Protod-Greenbac.”  It bears the signatures of Mayor Rudolph Rupiper; City Clerk R. O. Planert; and City Treasurer Lillian H. Dillon.

                   Protod-Greenbac scrip comes nearest to the safety of real money of anything obtainable, in that it cannot be successfully altered and is guarded in every step of manufacture; not one scrap of this paper is available to a crook for counterfeiting of the genuine scrip.

                  The first step in the protection of Greenbac check paper is the watermark at the mill, Protod-Greenbac.  The paper is similar in its protection to the silk thread paper used for bank notes in that to correspond with the silk threads, it has an underprinting of the word “void”, 1200 times on each sheet.  Superimposed over this are two intricate surface patterns, for which the Todd company has a secret formula.  Faithful duplication of it is practically impossible.  Any attempt to alter the numerals on Protod-Greenbac scrip by chemical erasure instantly exposes the hidden pattern of “void”, thus effecting immediate cancellation.  This also serves for certain identification when redeemed by the city.

                 Every sheet of Greenbac is accounted for and only bonded employees have access to it.  All waste stock, trimmings and spoiled sheets are burned daily under supervision.  It is impossible for a crook to obtain blank stock on which to print counterfeits of genuine Greenbac scrip forms.

                  And that such protection is highly important is indicated by the counterfeit scrip reported in many sections of the country.  For example, counterfeit scrip is said to have circulated in Detroit before the genuine scrip actually had been released.  (As a matter of fact, the issue never was released).  One of the large Southern chain organizations also is reported to have issued $50,000 of scrip, redeeming $65,000, indicating that at least $15,000 was counterfeit.

                 It will be easy for you to identify the genuineness of City of De Pere scrip.  Remember the gray intricate lacy dot pattern on the face, the green wavy design on the back.  And, most important, if on holding the scrip to the light, you find the water-mark Protod-Greenbac, you may be assured that you have genuine scrip.

                 The city treasurer, Miss Dillon, will be ready Monday to pay city bills in scrip.

                One other security feature of the scrip is found in the serial numbers.  Each number is preceded by a two letter prefix.  The first letter of the prefix is the same as the first letter of the month the scrip is dated – A(pril), M(ay) and J(une).  The second letter of the prefix corresponds to the first letter of the denomination – (O)ne, F(ive) and T(en).

Scrip that was redeemed by the city bears a perforated cancellation containing the date.  Specimens were made using unnumbered April pieces by overprinting “SAMPLE – NOT VALID”.

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