After the bonds have been deposited, the bank is entitled to receive from the Comptroller of the Currency circulating notes in blank, registered, and countersigned, equal to the par value of the bonds. The Comptroller has the plates engraved and the notes printed. The plates are made at the expense of the issuing bank, a plate with four notes on its face costing $75, and with two notes $50, but no charge is made for printing. The general expenses of the Bureau of the Currency are paid out of the proceeds from taxes on bank note circulation. To prevent the loss of the plates or the illegal issuing of notes, the plates are kept in the custody of the Secretary of the Treasury. The Comptroller is required to examine yearly the plates, dies, bed-pieces, and other material from which the notes are printed, and to file in his office a correct list of the same.
About 40 days are required to get out the first order of notes, and about 20 days for future orders, the difference in time being caused by the necessity of preparing plates in the first instance. The original order for circulation should, however, exceed the amount of circulation that can be taken out against the bonds deposited, as it is necessary for the Comptroller to have on hand enough notes to replace without delay any worn-out or mutilated notes sent in for redemption. Unless otherwise ordered, circulating notes are shipped by the Comptroller to the issuing bank by express at its own expense.
The notes when received by the bank are in large perforated sheets ready for the signature of the president, or vice-president, and of the cashier. It was formerly held that written signatures on notes were necessary, but, while the Comptroller did not authorize or sanction any change in this respect, it gradually came about that no objection was made to printed or stamped signatures as distinguished from written signatures. Indeed, by an Act of 1920 engraved signatures were expressly permitted. As, however, all notes issued to or received by a bank are subject to redemption whether or not they are signed by the officers, the signature is not very important. After signing, the notes are cut and turned over to the paying teller who puts them into the cash of the bank.