Printing Errors and Inverts
In the printing process, errors can be made. In the fractional note series, the front of the note was printed first and then the reverse was added at a later time. Some sheets had the reverses printed upside down, others had the wrong denomination added to the reverse or just a poor or misaligned of the reverse as compared to the front. In the last example, the reverse is commonly shifted and not perfectly centered. Also these notes were hand cut and the centering can vary widely. This is why Gem notes are rare and hard to find in all five issues. The misalignment of the front to reverse is not considered an error. Only those notes that may show half of two notes on the reverse are considered errors. In the second and third issues, the surcharges on the reverse can also be inverted. This is why there are many more errors and inverts in the second issue than the other issues. In the note to the left, all surcharges are inverted. In the note shown to the right, only the S surcharge is inverted. This is a very rare note with only 16-18 examples being indentified.
The most collected errors are the inverted reverse or inverted surcharges. These are dramatic errors that can be readily seen. Gutter folds or wrinkles are defects in the paper before the notes were printed. When printed the ink did not flow into thses folds and when the notes were flattened, a streak of no ink will show up. Some of the notes in the later series have a missing Treasury Seal. Be careful when buying this type of note because most are doctored and have had the seal removed. There are only 5-10 in the fourth and fifth series that have been found with no seals that are considered genuine. Even the counterfeited notes had the same problem. The note to the left is a genuine inverted reverse of a Fessenden note and the note to the right has an inverted reverse but is a counterfeit note.