The first currency with a hint of color for greater security and safety begins circulation today. The Federal Reserve System will begin to distribute new $20 bills to the public through commercial banks starting today.
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The bills have been redesigned to include a subtle pastel blue background color in addition to the green that we are used to seeing. Different color schemes will be incorporated in future redesigns of other denominations to further differentiate the bills.
According to Marsha Reidhill, The Federal Reserve has been stocking up on the new bills for months, and close to 915 million of the new colorized $20s have been printed.
Banks will be able to start receiving the new colorized bills beginning October 9, 2003. "This is the most secure note the United States has ever issued, and we want to get it out in circulation as quickly as we can," Reidhill said.
Besides the new color of the greenback, the new notes include new features to hamper counterfeiters. For instance, there's a faint blue eagle in the background on the front of the bill to the left of Jackson's image and a metallic green eagle and shield to the right of Old Hickory.
Some old anti-counterfeiting features included in the bill's last redesign, in 1998, were kept, including watermarks.
According to Reidhill, the old $20 bills will continue to be accepted and recirculated until they wear out.
New, more colorful $50 and $100 bills are anticipated in 2004 and 2005, respectively. Colors for the new bills have not been announced but will vary by denomination.