The redesigned U.S. $5 Federal Reserve Note was introduced via the Internet on September 20. Designated series 2006, the new $5 note will begin appearing in circulation in early 2008 (the date on a U.S. currency note does not necessarily reflect the year when it was printed). The note will remain the same size and will still feature a portrait of President Abraham Lincoln on the face side and a vignette of the Lincoln Memorial on the back side.
Among new features intended to thwart counterfeiters are two watermarks (compared to one on the current series of $5 and higher denomination U.S. currency now being printed), enhanced portraits, an improved security thread, microprinting, and more complex color that includes purple ink.
One watermark is a large number "5" near the right margin, and the other is a column of three smaller "5"s to the left of the portrait of Lincoln. Both watermarks appear against a blank background. One counterfeiting scheme is to bleach the ink from genuine $5 bills and re-print them with the face and back designs used on $100 bills. Checking the watermark is more reliable for verifying authenticity than counterfeit detection pens used by many merchants.
The security thread has been moved from the left to the right side of the portrait and has an alternating pattern of "5" and "USA" visible from both sides. When held under UV light, the thread glows blue.
Light purple near the center blends to gray near the edges. While color can be duplicated by potential counterfeiters, by making it more complex, the BEP hopes that some will not try. Numerous small yellow “05”s are printed to the left of Lincoln's portrait and to the right of the Lincoln Memorial.
As with the most recent designs of larger denomination U.S. currency, the new $5 design incorporates an American symbol of freedom - this time The Great Seal of the United States. The seal, which features an eagle and a shield, is printed in purple to the right of the portrait of President Lincoln. Purple stars surround the portrait and The Great Seal.
Other changes on the face side include removal of the oval borders around Lincoln’s portrait, moving the portrait up and extending Lincoln's shoulders into the border. On the back the oval surrounding the vignette has also been removed and engraving details have been added. A cloud-filled sky surrounds the Lincoln Memorial.
Older bills are not being recalled or devalued and may continue to be used after release of redesigned U.S. currency.
Additional information and pictures are
available on the Bureau
of Engraving and Printing web site. The BEP has announced
that the $100 bill will be redesigned next. There are still no
plans to change the design or add security features to $1 and $2 notes.
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