The method the U.S. Postal Service planned to use to select a contractor for its soon-to-be-released line of stamp collecting kits has been changed following an investigation by the General Accounting Office.

The investigation stemmed from questions raised a year ago by a constituent of Rep. William Green (R-N.Y.). In following up his constituent's concerns, Green requested that the GAO, Congress' investigative arm, look into the way the USPS planned to procure its newest batch of collecting kits.

Two members of the GAO were assigned to the investigation, and their findings were reported to Green in a letter from GAO director William J. Anderson dated March 10, 1982.

According to a member of Green's staff, on March 16, 1981, the USPS initially sought a "sole-source" bid on the procurement of 5.4 million stamp kits, to be produced over a five-year period. The kits were to cover 32 specific topics.

Four of the topics were to be highlighted in 300,000 kits each, and the remaining subjects each were to be featured on 150,000 kits.

The problem, noted the congressional staffer, was that the solicitation--which was for a large dollar amount--did not get widespread circulation. Not all large philatelic firms were asked to submit bids, thereby eliminating a number of potentially interested firms from competition for the contract. That flaw was compounded, noted the GAO report, by the fact that the entire five-year contract was to be awarded to a single supplier, thus eliminating the possibility of using several different firms over the long haul, companies which in future years might have been able to give the USPS an even better deal than it got the first time.

Other problems, such as some short delivery schedules and credit requirements on unsold kits, also were cited by the GAO as potential problems.

As a result of the GAO investigation, USPS made some significant changes in the way the procurement would be handled. On Oct. 29, 1981, the Postal Service redefined its needs and issued a new call for bids--eight months after the initial bid request for production of the stamp collecting kits.

To get as many competitive bidders interested as possible, the USPS agreed to notify all major philatelic firms about the job offer.

Under the improved procedure, four companies entered bids, with the Scott Publishing Co. submitting the lowest.

On Jan. 27, 1982, the Postal Service awarded Scott's a one-year contract for production of 1.8 million stamp collecting kits at a cost of $1.8 million.

The award to Scott's, which GAO director Anderson told Green was closely monitored and made "fairly and competitively," should save the USPS an estimated $300,000, concluded the GAO report.

A spokesman for Green emphasized that the GAO investigation was not prompted by allegations of wrongdoing. Coins

In honor of this year's International Paper Money Show, being held this weekend in Memphis, Tenn., the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the American Bank Note Co. each have produced a special souvenir card.

Appearing on BEP's tribute is a replica of the reverse of the $100 National Bank Note of the First National Bank of Nashville.

The reproduction was printed from a transfer of the original master die used to produce this "Brown Back."

One of the unusual things about the notes issued during the National Bank Second Charter Period (July 12, 1882 to April 11, 1902) is the frequent presence of two denomination-like numbers on each back. One, of course, is the value of the note--in this case the $100 denomination is denoted by the "100" in the tablets in the upper right and left corners and the "C" in the lower corners of the bill. The other number, though, dominates the centrol portion of the design. On Series 1882 Brown Back-type notes, which were in circulation from 1882 to 1908, a bank's charter number was printed prominently on the reverse within an ornate geometrical deisgn. This number, while sometimes resembling a denomination, isn't one.

During the 72 years National Bank Notes were issued, 14,320 local banks received charter numbers. These banks cranked out about $17 billion worth of obligations during the course of three separate charter periods.

The First National Bank of Nashville was given its charter number in 1863.

The BEP's 8 1/2 by 105/8-inch souvenir card costs $4 if purchased at the Bureau's Visitors Center in the District, and $5 if ordered by mail. For this card, which has been printed by a combination of one monocolor intaglio press and a two-color offset press, the BEP is providing a 50-cent discount per card on bulk orders of 10 or more.

Collectors wishing to order the card by mail should forward their requirements--along with the proper remittance in the form of check or money order--to: Memphis '82, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Washington, D.C. 20228.

Requests, notes BEP, should be made on letter-sized sheets and should clearly indicate the buyer's name, address and ZIP code.

The Bureau will keep its Paper Money Show card on sale for 90 days or until its present stock is sold out, whichever comes first.

Dominating the Paper Money Show card of the American Bank Note Co. is a replica of a $1 note originally issued in Baton Rouge, La., in 1866. The reproduction was produced from the original plate utilized to create this local note.

As the text of the ABNC card points out, southern states had a severe shortage of circulating currency after the Civil War, so many municipalities simply issued their own notes to supply their local needs. "The City of Baton Rouge" $1 bill was a note issued for that purpose.

The ABNC card costs $5.50 by mail ($4.50 if purchased in multiples). Requests should be sent to: Society of Paper Money Collectors Souvenir Card, P. O. Box 858, Anderson, S. C. 29622. All checks should be made payable to the Society of Paper Money Collectors.