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A number of interesting vignette proofs sold on Ebay yesterday for prices that surprised me. I was seriously outbid on all of them, but I'll post a few here anyway because they illustrate the birth of a banknote company.

In 1990, the U.S. Banknote Corporation (formerly Security-Columbian Bank Note Co.) bought American Bank Note Company. This was the largest consolidation in the U.S. banknote industry in over a century. But to bring this about required some finesse. The acquisition would effectively create a monopoly and (at least in the '90s) anti-trust laws would come into play to prevent it. USBNC needed to show that it had some competition -- and so it created some.

They worked with the French security printer Francois-Charles Oberthur Fiduciare to create the Banknote Corporation of America, Inc, which would be an Oberthur subsidiary. This spin-off involved setting up BCA in a former ABNC plant in Suffern, NY, and transferring ownership of some printing plates and printing machinery. BCA also took on some ABNC personnel. Here's where the vignettes come in.
BCA_ABN female figure.jpg 
This is the first time I've seen any vignettes that tie directly into this merger/spin-off. In fact, the first one shows "BCA-ABN" below the female figure, indicating there was some collaboration on the work. This one has a vignette number of CP-112. I've seen this female figure worked into other backgrounds on ABNC-printed stock certificates.

The next two have vignette numbers of P-109 and P-125. I wish I knew what the P stood for; apparently it was shortened from CP. Both of these have ©BCA tucked into the design.
BCA Lady with scroll.jpg  BCA Lady with torch.jpg  BCA copyrights.jpg 

Lastly, there's an intriguing figure who appears to represent Mother Nature. This one shows a vignette number of P-115, but also the original number V-111612 -- and there's ©ABNCo engraved below the figure. This is significant in a couple ways. P-115 shows that it was a BCA vignette, and V-111612 indicates that this vignette had been added to the post-merger vignette stockpile of USBNC. Prior to the merger ABNC vignette numbers never approached anywhere near 100,000. That didn't happen until after ABN and USBN combined their inventories.
ABN Mother Nature.jpg 

In 1995 BCA moved to a new facility in Greensboro, NC, where it is currently headquartered. As it happens, I have a 1996 BCA promotional booklet that mentions this move, along with showing off the company's products. The brochure touts the company as the "second largest security printer in the United States" which was true, albeit a distant second. The cover is not engraved, but the first page is a red and blue intaglio frame printed on translucent Tyvek; the text in the center shows through from the next page.
BCA brochure cover.jpg  BCA brochure intaglio.jpg  BCA brochure spread.jpg 
BCA is still in business today and their website offers some revealing information. Curiously, they use 1979 as the year they entered business, first producing stamps, and mention Richard C. Sennett as their founder. Sennett, a former assistant director of the BEP, started Sennett Security Products (SSP) in 1979 and was instrumental in privatizing the printing of U.S. postage stamps. (The Bureau ultimately stepped away from stamp printing entirely in 2006.) SSP, incidentally, printed two semi-official souvenir cards -- SO-163 (backside) and 164 -- for the opening of the William Gross Stamp Gallery in the National Postal Museum.

1979 was well before the BCA was formed in the '90s, which implies that SSP must have either merged with or purchased BCA down the line. The website also states that BCA is now a subsidiary of CCL Industries, Inc., makers of Avery labels and a wide range of other products. So Oberthur must have sold off BCA at some point and perhaps CCL bought it and SSP around the same time. Hopefully that's not too much alphabet soup to digest.

It was interesting researching this company. I'm sure there are more details I have yet to learn, but it was nice to be able to piece together much of the story.
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Great research!  If you look at the cover of the North American test catalog, you'll see a blue 50 note at the bottom - BCA-101.  BCA is certainly still active!  As you can see by this write-up in the catalog, the CCL is not CCL Industries, but CCL Secure, better known as Securancy, the maker of Guardian, the leader in polymer substrate production.

BCA\GSSC Security Alliance

This is an alliance of Banknote Corporation of America and Graphic Security Systems Corporation.

Banknote Corporation of America is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CCL Secure (was Securancy).  The firm is over 50 years old, with range of secure and printing capabilities, including multicolor web and sheet intaglio, offset, flexo, fil/hologram application, patented technologies, trademarked products, numbering and digital print.

Graphic Security Systems Corporation (GSSC) has provided its patented Security Indicia™ to government authorized security printers and major corporations globally for more than 38 years. GSSC has a depth of experience that began in traditional banknote printing and has since extended into numerous verticals within the Document Security and Brand Protection sectors.

BCA-101f.jpg  BCA-101r.jpg 
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I completely missed that catalog entry, thanks for pointing it out. Would the intaglio page of the brochure qualify for the catalog?

BCA brochure Tyvek page.jpg 
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I would think the intaglio page would qualify - displays the company name and a vignette border.

It's almost fitting that CCL should buy BCA.  ABNCo was one of the first to try to market Tyvek, the precursor to polymer.  Here's a 1980s  Tyvek sample for Ecuador.
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