What is a mule?

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For currency, EastCoast is correct. A small size mule is a note that has a micro size back plate/check number on one side with a macro back plate/check number on the other side. For Federal Reserve notes, a mule occurs when a back plate/check number appears that was not originally designated for that particular series. This information for Federal Reserve notes can be found in Robert Azpiazu's Collector's Guide to Modern Federal Reserve Notes Series 1963-2009.


As for large size mules - they are also affiliated with back plate/check numbers, but instead of a size differential, a large size mule is defined by the location of the back plate/check number. This guide can be found in the 19th edition of Paper Money of the United States by Arthur and Ira Friedberg on page 304.

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