by Bob Hohertz
RN B10, Type B printed in red, was the first American Phototype design and color known to have been used on checks. The first regular monthly deliveries of imprinted checks began in July of 1865 (although some receipts bearing black imprints were delivered in April of that year.) Judging on the evidence of ones remaining to us, these bore a red imprint and were used by various customers of the American Exchange National Bank.
The earliest known imprinted checks were used on August 3, 1865. The check shown below is not numbered, but the check that was just below it on the pad, also dated August 3, is numbered “2.” Therefore it has the status of being the earliest known use of a revenue imprinted check in the United States.
The checks with B10 imprints are interesting in that they span the period from the time when American Phototype printed both the check and imprint in the same color and gave a discount for doing it to the time after they had chosen to retain the imprint contract and give up check printing. Most of the checks that use them are from New York, but the list includes accounts in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Vermont, as well as ones altered for use in Virginia.
Most of the B0 imprints are a vivid red color, but those of several users are lighter and have more blue in them, resulting a pinkish color much like that of the “red” C’s.
The list included here does not differentiate between the imprint location: right, left or center. If such a differentiation is of interest to collectors please let the editor know and he may be able to do something about it on the ASCC website.
Connecticut check with an RN-B10 imprint.
A previously unlisted unused check bearing an RN B10 imprint.