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Bureau of Engraving and Printing

the part of the United States Department of the Treasury responsible for developing and producing U.S. currency notes and other security documents, advising other Federal agencies on document security matters, and processing claims for the redemption of mutilated currency

Bureau of Engraving and Printing logo


In July of 1861, Congress authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to issue paper currency in order to fund the Civil War. No provisions were made for the actual production of currency by the Department, however, so all paper currency was initially produced by a private firm and then shipped to the Treasury Department building, where where workers signed, separated, and trimmed sheets to prepare them for distribution. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the National Currency Bureau were created by Congress in 1863, but still no provision for the Treasury Department to actually print U.S. currency was made. That provision finally came in 1874, when Congress officially allocated funds for a Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The Bureau became the sole producer of U.S. currency in 1877, and of U.S. postage stamps in 1894.

Although the Bureau is still the sole producer of paper currency in the United States, most of its other functions have been turned over to either the Government Printing Office or private companies.

The BEP is headed by a Director appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury, with the advise and consent of the U.S. Senate. The Bureau's main facility is located in Washington, D.C., with a second facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Bureau of Printing and Currency's official website is

See Also

Secretary of the Treasury
Civil War

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The Robinson Library >> Public Finance: United States

This page was last updated on September 02, 2018.