In order to finance the Civil War, Congress authorizes the U.S. Department of the Treasury to issue non-interest-bearing Demand Notes. These notes earn the nickname “greenbacks” because of their color. All U.S. currency issued since 1861 remains valid and redeemable at full face value.
SEE FULL HISTORY TIMELINE
The Foundation of Modern Design
By 1862, the Demand Notes incorporate fine-line engraving, intricate geometric lathe work patterns, a U.S. Department of the Treasury seal, and engraved signatures to aid in counterfeit deterrence. To this day, U.S. currency continues to add features to deter counterfeiting.
SEE FULL HISTORY TIMELINE
United States Notes
Congress authorizes a new class of currency, known as “United States notes,” or “Legal Tender notes.” These notes are characterized by a red seal and serial number. They continue to circulate until 1971.
SEE FULL HISTORY TIMELINE
A National Banking System
Congress establishes a national banking system and authorizes the U.S. Department of the Treasury to oversee the issuance of National Banknotes. This system sets Federal guidelines for chartering and regulating "national" banks and authorizes those banks to issue national currency secured by the purchase of United States bonds.
SEE FULL HISTORY TIMELINE
Centralized Printing of United States Notes
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing begins engraving and printing the faces and seals of U.S. banknotes. Before this, U.S. banknotes were produced by private banknote companies and then sent to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing for sealing, trimming, and cutting.
SEE FULL HISTORY TIMELINE
Names Added to Portraits
Legislation mandates that all banknotes and other securities containing portraits include the name of the individual below the portrait. This is why you see names below the portraits on banknotes to this day.
SEE FULL HISTORY TIMELINE
Federal Reserve Act
The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 establishes the Federal Reserve as the nation’s central bank and provides for a national banking system that is more responsive to the fluctuating financial needs of the country. The Federal Reserve Board issues new currency called Federal Reserve notes.
SEE FULL HISTORY TIMELINE
Standardization of Design
The appearance of U.S. banknotes changes greatly in 1929. In an effort to lower manufacturing costs, all Federal Reserve notes are made about 30 percent smaller—measuring 6.14 x 2.61 inches, rather than 7.375 x 3.125 inches. In addition, standardized designs are instituted for each denomination, decreasing the number of designs in circulation and making it easier for the public to distinguish between genuine and counterfeit notes.
SEE FULL HISTORY TIMELINE
United States Notes Discontinued
Because United States notes no longer served any function not already adequately met by Federal Reserve notes, their issuance was discontinued and, beginning in 1971, no new United States notes were placed into circulation.
SEE FULL HISTORY TIMELINE
Security Thread and Microprinting
A security thread and microprinting are introduced in Federal Reserve notes to deter counterfeiting by copiers and printers. The features first appear in Series 1990 $100 notes. By Series 1993, the features appeared on all denominations except $1 and $2 notes.
SEE FULL HISTORY TIMELINE
In the first significant design change since the 1920s, U.S. currency is redesigned to incorporate a series of new counterfeit deterrents. Issuance of the new banknotes begins with the $100 note in 1996, followed by the $50 note in 1997, the $20 note in 1998, and the $10 and $5 notes in 2000.
SEE FULL HISTORY TIMELINE
The Redesigned $20 Note
The new-design $20 note features subtle background colors of green and peach. The $20 note includes an embedded security thread that glows green when illuminated by UV light. When held to light, a portrait watermark of President Jackson is visible from both sides of the note. In addition, the note includes a color-shifting numeral 20 in the lower right corner of the note.
SEE FULL HISTORY TIMELINE
Each note of the same denomination has its own serial number. Up through Series 1995, all Federal Reserve notes had serial numbers consisting of one letter, eight digits, and one letter, such as A12345678B; now only the $1 and $2 notes still use this form.
The first letter of such a serial number identifies the Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) which issued the note; since there are 12 FRBs, this letter is always between A and L. The last letter advances through the alphabet when all eight character serial numbers have been printed for a specific Federal Reserve Bank within the same series. At the time of a series change, the suffix letter returns to the letter A and repeats the cycle.
The letter O is not used because of its similarity to the digit 0, and the letter Z is not used because it is reserved for test printings. On some notes, a star appears in place of the last letter. When an imperfect sheet is detected during the manufacturing process after the serial number has been overprinted, it must be replaced with a new sheet. A "star" sheet is used to replace the imperfect sheet. Reusing an exact serial number to replace an imperfect note is costly and time consuming. A "star" note has its own special serial number followed by a star in place of a suffix letter.
Federal Reserve notes, beginning with Series 1996, have two letters rather than one at the beginning of the serial number. On these notes, the first letter corresponds to the series of the note and the second letter of each serial number now represents the issuing FRB and ranges from A through L. The last letter still can be anything but O or Z, and is still occasionally replaced by a star, with the same meaning as before.
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The 2009 twenty dollar bill is not rare or valuable. Therefore these bills will not be worth much more than face value. However there are star note varieties which could be worth more than face value in the near future. Continue reading to learn more about these bills.
|Type:||Federal Reserve Note|
|Signature Varieties:||One: Rios and Geithner|
The 2009 $20 bills were printed at two different locations- Washington D.C. and Fort Worth, Texas. Notes printed in Fort Worth, Texas can be identified by a small "FW" on the front of the bill next to the green seal.
Currently these bills, regardless of condition, will only be worth their face value of $20. Star notes in uncirculated condition could sell for a premium in the near future.
Star notes are replacement bills that the United States Federal Reserve printed. These star notes are more rare. You can tell if you have a star note by looking to see if there is a star symbol at the end of the serial number.
Star notes have a collector's market so once these 2009 bills are out of circulation then they could sell for a premium in uncirculated condition. So if you have a star note in uncirculated condition then it would be wise to hold onto it.
A Guide Book of United States Paper Money
2013 20 Dollar Bill
2006 20 Dollar Bill
2004 20 Dollar Bill
2009 20 bill series dollar
United States twenty-dollar bill
Current denomination of United States currency
The United States twenty-dollar bill ($20) is a denomination of U.S. currency. A portrait of Andrew Jackson, the seventh U.S. president (1829–1837), has been featured on the obverse of the bill since 1928; the White House is featured on the reverse.
As of December 2018, the average life of a $20 bill in circulation is 7.8 years before it is replaced due to wear. About 11% of all notes printed in 2009 were $20 bills. Twenty-dollar bills are delivered by Federal Reserve Banks in violet straps.
- 1861: A demand note with the Goddess of Liberty holding a sword and shield on the front, and an abstract design on the back. The back is printed green.
- 1862: A note that is very similar, the first $20 United States note. The back is different, with several small variations extant.
- 1863: A gold certificate $20 note with an Eagle vignette on the face. The reverse has a $20 gold coin and various abstract elements. The back is orange.
- 1865: A national bank note with "The Battle of Lexington" and Pocahontas's marriage to John Rolfe in black, and a green border.
- 1869: A new United States note design, with Alexander Hamilton on the left side of the front and Victory holding a shield and sword. The back design is green.
- 1875: As above, except with a different reverse.
- 1878: A silver certificate $20 note with a portrait of Stephen Decatur on the right side of the face. The back design is black.
- 1882: A new gold certificate, with a portrait of James Garfield on the right of the face. The back is orange and features an eagle.
- 1882: A new national bank note. The front is similar, but the back is different and printed in brown.
- 1886: A new silver certificate $20 note, with Daniel Manning on the center of the face.
- 1890: A treasury (coin) note with John Marshall on the left of the face. Two different backs exist both with abstract designs.
- 1902: A new national bank note. The front features Hugh McCulloch, and the back has a vignette of an allegorical America.
- 1905: A new gold certificate $20 note, with George Washington on the center of the face. The back design is orange.
- 1914: A Federal Reserve Note.
Small size notes
Andrew Jackson first appeared on the $20 bill in 1928. Although 1928 coincides with the 100th anniversary of Jackson's election as president, it is not clear why the portrait on the bill was switched from Grover Cleveland to Jackson. (Cleveland's portrait was moved to the new $1000 bill the same year). According to the U.S. Treasury: "Treasury Department records do not reveal the reason that portraits of these particular statesmen were chosen in preference to those of other persons of equal importance and prominence."
The placement of Jackson on the $20 bill may be a historical irony; as president, he vehemently opposed both the National Bank and paper money and made the goal of his administration the destruction of the National Bank. In his farewell address to the nation, he cautioned the public about paper money.
- 1914: Began as a large-sized note, a portrait of Grover Cleveland on the face, and, on the back, a steam locomotive and an automobile approaching from the left, and a steamship approaching from the right.
- 1918: A federal reserve banknote with Grover Cleveland on the front, and a back design similar to the 1914 Federal Reserve Note.
- 1928: Switched to a small-sized note with a portrait of Andrew Jackson on the face and the south view of the White House on the reverse. The banknote is redeemable in gold or silver (at the bearer's discretion) at any Federal Reserve Bank.
- 1933: With the U.S. having abandoned the gold standard, the bill is no longer redeemable in gold, but rather in "lawful money", meaning silver.
- 1942: A special emergency series, with brown serial numbers and "HAWAII" overprinted on both the front and the back, is issued. These notes are designed to circulate on the islands and be deemed invalid in the event of a Japanese invasion.
- 1948: The White House picture was updated to reflect renovations to the building itself, including the addition of the Truman Balcony, as well as the passage of time. Most notably, the trees are larger. The change occurred during production of Series 1934C.
- 1950: Design elements like the serial numbers are reduced in size and moved around subtly, presumably for aesthetic reasons.
- 1963: "Will Pay To The Bearer On Demand" is removed from the front of the bill below the portrait, and the legal tender designation is shortened to "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private" (eliminating "and is redeemable in lawful money at the United States Treasury, or at any Federal Reserve Bank.") Also, "In God We Trust" is added above the White House on the reverse. These two acts (one taking U.S. currency off the silver backing, and the other authorizing the national motto) are coincidental, even if their combined result is implemented in one redesign. Also, several design elements are rearranged, less perceptibly than the change in 1950, mostly to make room for the slightly rearranged obligations.
- 1969: The new treasury seal appears on all denominations, including the $20.
- 1977: A new type of serial-number press results in a slightly different font. The old presses are gradually retired, and old-style serial numbers appear as late as 1981 for this denomination.
- 1992: Anti-counterfeiting features are added: microprinting around the portrait, and a plastic strip embedded in the paper. Even though the bills read Series 1990, the first bills were printed in April 1992.
- 1994: The first notes at the Western Currency Facility are printed in January late during production of Series 1990.
- September 24, 1998: The Series 1996 $20 note was completely redesigned for the first time since 1929 to further deter counterfeiting; the picture of the White House was changed from the south side to the north side view. A larger, off-center portrait of Jackson was used on the front, and several anti-counterfeiting features were added, including color-shifting ink, microprinting, and a watermark. The plastic strip now reads "USA 20" and glows green under a black light. The bills were first printed in June 1998.
- October 9, 2003: The current series of 20 dollar bills is released with light background shading in green and yellow, and no oval around Andrew Jackson's portrait (background images of eagles, etc. were also added to the front); the back is the same view of the White House, but without the oval around it. Ninety faint "20"s are scattered on the back in yellow as a "EURion constellation" to prevent photocopying. The first issue's series date is 2004 with Marin-Snow signatures. The bills were first printed in April 2003.
|Federal Reserve Note||1928||Tate||Mellon||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1928A||Woods||Mellon||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1928B||Woods||Mellon||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1928C||Woods||Mills||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1934||Julian||Morgenthau||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1934 Hawaii||Julian||Morgenthau||Brown|
|Federal Reserve Note||1934A||Julian||Morgenthau||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1934A Hawaii||Julian||Morgenthau||Brown|
|Federal Reserve Note||1934B||Julian||Vinson||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1934C||Julian||Snyder||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1934D||Clark||Snyder||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1950||Clark||Snyder||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1950A||Priest||Humphrey||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1950B||Priest||Anderson||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1950C||Smith||Dillon||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1950D||Granahan||Dillon||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1950E||Granahan||Fowler||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1963||Granahan||Dillon||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1963A||Granahan||Fowler||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1969||Elston||Kennedy||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1969A||Kabis||Connally||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1969B||Bañuelos||Connally||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1969C||Bañuelos||Shultz||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1974||Neff||Simon||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1977||Morton||Blumenthal||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1981||Buchanan||Regan||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1981A||Ortega||Regan||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1985||Ortega||Baker||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1988A||Villalpando||Brady||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1990||Villalpando||Brady||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1993||Withrow||Bentsen||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1995||Withrow||Rubin||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1996||Withrow||Rubin||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||1999||Withrow||Summers||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||2001||Marin||O'Neill||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||2004||Marin||Snow||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||2004A||Cabral||Snow||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||2006||Cabral||Paulson||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||2009||Rios||Geithner||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||2013||Rios||Lew||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||2017||Carranza||Mnuchin||Green|
|Federal Reserve Note||2017A||Carranza||Mnuchin||Green|
Proposal for a woman's portrait
In a campaign called "Women on 20s", selected voters were asked to choose three of 15 female candidates to have a portrait on the $20 bill. The goal was to have a woman on the $20 bill by 2020, the centennial of the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote. Among the candidates on the petition were Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, and Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation.
On May 12, 2015, Tubman was announced as the winning candidate of that "grassroots" poll with more than 600,000 people surveyed and more than 118,000 choosing Tubman, followed by Roosevelt, Parks and Mankiller.
On June 17, 2015, then-Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that a woman's portrait would be featured on a redesigned $10 bill by 2020, replacing Alexander Hamilton. However, that decision was reversed, at least in part due to Hamilton's surging popularity following the hit Broadway musical Hamilton.
On April 20, 2016, Lew officially announced that Alexander Hamilton would remain on the $10 bill, while Andrew Jackson would be replaced by Tubman on the front of the $20 bill, with Jackson appearing on the reverse. Lew simultaneously announced that the five- and ten-dollar bills would also be redesigned in the coming years and put into production in the next decade.
While campaigning for president, Donald Trump reacted to the announcement that Tubman would replace Jackson on the twenty-dollar bill. The day following the announcement Trump called Tubman "fantastic", but stated that he would oppose replacing Jackson with Tubman, calling the replacement "pure political correctness", and suggested that Tubman could perhaps be put on another denomination instead.
On August 31, 2017, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that he would not commit to putting Tubman on the twenty-dollar bill, explaining "People have been on the bills for a long period of time. This is something we'll consider; right now we have a lot more important issues to focus on." According to a Bureau of Engraving and Printing spokesperson, the next redesigned bill will be the ten-dollar bill, not set to be released into circulation until at least 2026.
In May 2019, Mnuchin stated that no new imagery will be unveiled until 2026, and that a new bill will not go into circulation until 2028. In making the announcement, Mnuchin blamed the delay on technical reasons. However, an employee within the Bureau of Engraving and Printing told the New York Times that at the time of the announcement "the design appeared to be far along in the process." Democratic members of the House of Representatives asked Mnuchin to provide more specific reasons for the delay. In June, the Treasury Department's acting inspector general, Rich Delmar, announced his office would conduct an investigation into what caused the delay in production of the new bill featuring Tubman.
In January 2021, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden will accelerate the Tubman redesign.
- Twenty Bucks, a 1993 movie that follows the travels of a $20 bill.
- ^"Currency Facts". uscurrency.gov. U.S. Currency Education Program. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
- ^"How long is the life span of U.S. paper money?". Federal Reserve. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
- ^"Money Facts". Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Archived from the original on December 6, 2005.
- ^"U.S. Currency FAQs". U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Archived from the original on May 5, 2015. Retrieved May 13, 2015.
- ^"Jackson as President". CliffsNotes. Retrieved November 20, 2007.
- ^"Jackson Vetoes Bank Bill — July 10, 1832". Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. Retrieved November 20, 2007.
- ^s:Andrew Jackson's Farewell Address
- ^"USPaperMoney.Info: Series 1990 $20".
- ^"New $20 Bill Debuts September 24th - 09/21/98".
- ^"USPaperMoney.Info: Series 1996 $20".
- ^"Anti-Counterfeiting". Bureau of Engraving and Printing. United States Treasury. 2007. Retrieved May 13, 2015.
- ^"USPaperMoney.Info: Series 2004 $20".
- ^"Why the $20?". Women On 20s. Retrieved May 13, 2015.
- ^Tan, Avianne (April 8, 2015). "'Women on 20s' to Ask President Obama to Put One of These 4 Women on $20 Bill". ABC News. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
Which country has the least sexist banknotes?BBC. April 13, 2015. Retrieved on April 14, 2015.
"Final Round Candidates". Women On 20s. Retrieved May 13, 2015.
- ^"Harriet Tubman wins poll to replace Andrew Jackson on $20 bill". New York Post. Reuters. May 13, 2015. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
- ^Rappeport, Alan (June 24, 2019). "Treasury's Inspector General to Review Harriet Tubman $20 Bill Delay". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
- ^"Andrew Jackson To Be Taken Off The $20 Bill". Huffington Post. April 17, 2016. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
- ^Nguyen, Tina (April 20, 2016). ""Hamilton" Fans, Rejoice: Founding Father to Stay on the $10 Bill". Vanity Fair.
- ^ ab"Treasury Secretary Lew Announces Front of New $20 to Feature Harriet Tubman, Lays Out Plans for New $20, $10 and $5" (Press release). United States Department of the Treasury. April 20, 2016. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
White, Ben; McCaskill, Nolan D. "Treasury's Lew to announce Hamilton to stay on $10 bill". Politico. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
- ^ abKorte, Gregory (April 21, 2016). "Anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman to replace Jackson on the front of the $20 bill". USA Today. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
- ^Wright, David (April 21, 2016). "Trump: Tubman on the $20 bill is 'pure political correctness'". CNN.
- ^Temple-West, Patrick (August 31, 2017). "Mnuchin dismisses question about putting Harriet Tubman on $20 bill". Politico. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
- ^What Happened to the Plan to Put Harriet Tubman on the $20 Bill?
- ^The Harriet Tubman $20 Bill Plan Has Been Put on the Back Burner
- ^Rappeport, Alan (May 22, 2019). "Harriet Tubman $20 Bill Is Delayed Until Trump Leaves Office, Mnuchin Says". New York Times. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
- ^Rappeport, Alan (June 14, 2019). "See a Design of the Harriet Tubman $20 Bill That Mnuchin Delayed". New York Times.
- ^Romo, Vanessa (June 24, 2019). "Treasury Department Launches Investigation Into Delays Behind Harriet Tubman $20 Bill". NPR. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
- ^Breuninger, Kevin (January 25, 2021). "Biden's Treasury revives push to put Harriet Tubman on $20 bill after Trump shelved it". CNBC. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
Federal Reserve Note
Current paper currency of the United States
Not to be confused with Federal Reserve Bank Note.
Federal Reserve Notes, also United States banknotes, are the currently issued banknotes of the United States dollar. The United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing produces the notes under the authority of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 and issues them to the Federal Reserve Banks at the discretion of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The Reserve Banks then circulate the notes to their member banks, at which point they become liabilities of the Reserve Banks and obligations of the United States.
Federal Reserve Notes are legal tender, with the words "this note is legal tender for all debts, public and private" printed on each note. They replaced National Bank Notes, which national banks issued from 1863 to 1935 under the authority of the United States Treasury. The notes are backed by financial assets that the Federal Reserve Banks pledge as collateral, which are mainly Treasury securities and mortgage agency securities that they purchase on the open market by fiat payment.
Prior to centralized banking, each commercial bank issued its own notes. The first institution with responsibilities of a central bank in the U.S. was the First Bank of the United States, chartered in 1791 by Alexander Hamilton. Its charter was not renewed in 1811. In 1816, the Second Bank of the United States was chartered; its charter was not renewed in 1836, after President Andrew Jackson campaigned heavily for its disestablishment. From 1837 to 1862, in the Free Banking Era there was no formal central bank, and banks issued their own notes again. From 1862 to 1913, a system of national banks was instituted by the 1863 National Banking Act.
Federal Reserve Notes have been printed from Series 1914 in large-note format, and from Series 1928 in modern-day (small-note) format. The latter dimensions originated from the size of the Philippine peso Silver Certificates issued in 1903 while William Howard Taft served as Philippine governor-general under the United States colonial administration. In view of its highly successful run, President Taft subsequently appointed a committee that reported favorably on the advantages and savings from adopting the dimensions of Philippine notes for use in the United States.  Final implementation of today's small-size format, however, only occurred in 1928.
The authority of the Federal Reserve Banks to issue notes comes from the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. Legally, they are liabilities of the Federal Reserve Banks and obligations of the United States government. Although not issued by the Treasury Department, Federal Reserve Notes carry the (engraved) signature of the Treasurer of the United States and the United States Secretary of the Treasury.
At the time of the Federal Reserve's creation, the law provided for notes to be redeemed to the Treasury in gold or "lawful money." The latter category was not explicitly defined, but included United States Notes, National Bank Notes, and certain other notes held by banks to meet reserve requirements, such as clearing certificates. The Emergency Banking Act of 1933 removed the gold obligation and authorized the Treasury to satisfy these redemption demands with current notes of equal face value (effectively making change). Under the Bretton Woods system, although citizens could not legally possess gold (except as rare coins, jewelry, for industrial purposes and the like), the federal government continued to maintain a stable international gold price. This system ended with the Nixon Shock of 1971. Present-day Federal Reserve Notes are not backed by convertibility to any specific commodity, but only by the collateral assets that Federal Reserve Banks post in order to obtain them.
Series 1914 FRN were the first of two large-size issues. Denominations were $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 printed first with a red seal and then continued with a blue seal. Series 1918 notes were issued in $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 denominations. The latter two denominations exist only in institutional collections. Series 1914 and 1918 notes in the following two tables are from the National Numismatic Collection at the National Museum of American History (Smithsonian Institution).
Per the Treasury Department Appropriation Bill of 1929, notes issued 1928 and earlier were 7+7⁄16 × 3+9⁄64 inches and later issues were to be 6+5⁄16 × 2+11⁄16 inches, which allowed the Treasury Department to produce 12 notes per 16+1⁄4 × 13+1⁄4 inch sheet of paper that previously would yield 8 notes at the old size.
Modern measurements of these large size notes reveal an average dimension of 7+3⁄8 × 3+1⁄8 inches (187 × 79 mm). Small size notes (described as such due to their size relative to the earlier large-size notes) are an average 6+1⁄8 × 2+5⁄8 inches (156 × 67 mm), the size of modern U.S. currency. Each measurement is ± 0.08 inches (2 mm) to account for margins and cutting. (Note: differences in size may also involve in historical changes in the definition of the inch.)
Production and distribution
A commercial bank that maintains a reserve account with the Federal Reserve can obtain notes from the Federal Reserve Bank in its district whenever it wishes. The bank must pay the face value of the notes by debiting (drawing down) its reserve account. Smaller banks without a reserve account at the Federal Reserve can maintain their reserve accounts at larger "correspondent banks" which themselves maintain reserve accounts with the Federal Reserve.
Federal Reserve Notes are printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP), a bureau of the Department of the Treasury. When Federal Reserve Banks require additional notes for circulation, they must post collateral in the form of direct federal obligations, private bank obligations, or assets purchased through open market operations. If the notes are newly printed, they also pay the BEP for the cost of printing (about 4¢ per note). This differs from the issue of coins, which are purchased for their face value.
A Federal Reserve Bank can retire notes that return from circulation, which entitles it to recover collateral that it posted for an earlier issue. Retired notes in good condition are held in the bank's vault for future issues. Notes in poor condition are destroyed and replacements are ordered from the BEP. The Federal Reserve shreds 7,000 tons of worn out currency each year.
As of 2013, Federal Reserve notes remain, on average, in circulation for the following periods of time:
|Years in circulation||5.8||no data||5.5||4.5||7.9||8.5||15.0|
The Federal Reserve does not publish an average life span for the $2 bill. This is likely due to its treatment as a collector's item by the general public; it is, therefore, not subjected to normal circulation.
Starting with the Series 1996 $100 note, bills $5 and above have a special letter in addition to the prefix letters which range from A-P. The first letter is A for series 1996; the first letter is B for series 1999; the first letter is C for series 2001; the first letter is D for series 2003; the first letter is F for series 2003A; the first letter is H for series 2006; and the first letter is K for series 2006A, L is for Series 2009 $100 bills, M is Series 2013, N is Series 2017 and P is Series 2017A. Series 2021 will likely use R. 
The Series 2004 $20, the first note in the second redesign, has kept the element of the special double prefix. The first letter is E for series 2004; the first letter is G for series 2004A; the first letter is I for series 2006; the first letter is J for series 2009; the first letter is L for series 2009A; and the first letter is M for series 2013.
Federal Reserve Notes are made of 75% cotton and 25% linen fibers, supplied by Crane & Co. of Dalton, Massachusetts.
U.S. paper currency has had many nicknames and slang terms. The notes themselves are generally referred to as bills (as in "five-dollar bill"). Notes can be referred to by the first or last name of the person on the portrait (George for one dollar, or even more popularly, "Benjamins" for $100 notes).
- Greenbacks, any amount in any denomination of Federal Reserve Note (from the green ink used on the back). The Demand Notes issued in 1861 had green-inked backs, and the Federal Reserve Note of 1914 copied this pattern.
- Buck for a one-dollar bill
- fin is a slang term for a five-dollar bill, from Yiddish "finf" meaning five.
- sawbuck is a slang term for a ten-dollar bill, from the image of the Roman numeral X and its resemblance to the carpentry implement.
- double sawbuck is slang term for a twenty-dollar bill, from the image of the Roman numeral XX.
- One hundred dollar bills are sometimes called "Benjamins" (in reference to their portrait of Benjamin Franklin) or C-Notes (the letter "C" is the Roman numeral 100).
Despite the relatively late addition of color and other anti-counterfeiting features to U.S. currency, critics hold that it is still a straightforward matter to counterfeit these bills. They point out that the ability to reproduce color images is well within the capabilities of modern color printers, most of which are affordable to many consumers. These critics suggest that the Federal Reserve should incorporate holographic features, as are used in most other major currencies, such as the pound sterling, Canadian dollar and euro banknotes, which are more difficult and expensive to forge. Another robust technology, the polymer banknote, has been developed for the Australian dollar and adopted for the New Zealand dollar, Romanian leu, Papua New Guinea kina, Canadian dollar, and other circulating, as well as commemorative, banknotes of a number of other countries. They are said to be more secure, cleaner and more durable than paper notes but that is not the case with U.S. banknotes which are already designed to be more durable than traditional cotton-based banknotes, circulation life shows this to be the case. One major issue with implementing these or any new counterfeiting countermeasures, however, is that (other than under Executive Order 6102) the United States has never demonetized or required a mandatory exchange of any existing currency. Consequently, would-be counterfeiters can easily circumvent any new security features simply by counterfeiting older designs, although once a new design is launched, the older designs are usually withdrawn from circulation as they cycle through the Federal Reserve Banks.
U.S. currency does, however, bear several anti-counterfeiting features. Two of the most critical anti-counterfeiting features of U.S. currency are the paper and the ink. The ink and paper combine to create a distinct texture, particularly as the currency is circulated. The paper and the ink alone have no effect on the value of the dollar until post print. These characteristics can be hard to duplicate without the proper equipment and materials. Furthermore, recent redesigns of the $5, $10, $20, and $50 notes have added EURion constellation patterns which can be used by scanning software to recognize banknotes and refuse to scan them.
The differing sizes of other nations' banknotes is a security feature that eliminates one form of counterfeiting to which U.S. currency is prone: Counterfeiters can simply bleach the ink off a low-denomination note, such as a $1 or $5 bill, and reprint it as a higher-value note, such as a $100 bill. To counter this, the U.S. government has included in all $5 and higher denominated notes since the 1990 series a security thread, which is a vertical laminate strip imprinted with denomination information. Under ultraviolet light, the security thread fluoresces a different color for each denomination ($5 note: blue; $10 note: orange; $20 note: green; $50 note: yellow; $100 note: red). Additionally the newly designed $100 launched in 2013 has a 3D security ribbon which has proven to be highly resistant to counterfeiting, yet easily understood by the public without special tools or lights.
According to the central banks, the number of counterfeited bank notes seized annually is about 10 in one million of real bank notes for the Swiss franc, of 50 in one million for the Euro, of 100 in one million for United States dollar and of 300 in one million for pound sterling (old style).
Critics, such as the American Council of the Blind, note that U.S. bills are relatively hard to tell apart: they use very similar designs, they are printed in the same colors (until the 2003 banknotes, in which a faint secondary color was added), and they are all the same size. The American Council of the Blind has argued that American paper currency design should use increasing sizes according to value or raised or indented features to make the currency more usable by the vision-impaired, since the denominations cannot currently be distinguished from one another non-visually. Use of Braille codes on currency is not considered a desirable solution because these markings would only be useful to people who know how to read Braille, and one Braille symbol can become confused with another if even one bump is rubbed off. Though some blind individuals say that they have no problems keeping track of their currency because they fold their bills in different ways or keep them in different places in their wallets, they nevertheless must rely on sighted people or currency-reading machines to determine the value of each bill before filing it away using the system of their choice. This means that no matter how organized they are, blind people still have to trust sighted people or machines each time they receive U.S. banknotes.
By contrast, other major currencies, such as the pound sterling and euro, feature notes of differing sizes: the size of the note increases with the denomination and different denominations are printed in different, contrasting colors. This is useful not only for the vision-impaired; they nearly eliminate the risk that, for example, someone might fail to notice a high-value note among low-value ones.
Multiple currency sizes were considered for U.S. currency, but makers of vending and change machines successfully argued that implementing such a wide range of sizes would greatly increase the cost and complexity of such machines. Similar arguments were unsuccessfully made in Europe prior to the introduction of multiple note sizes.
Alongside the contrasting colors and increasing sizes, many other countries' currencies contain tactile features missing from U.S. banknotes to assist the blind. For example, Canadian banknotes have a series of raised dots (not Braille) in the upper right corner to indicate denomination. Mexican peso banknotes also have raised patterns of dashed lines. The Indian rupee has raised patterns of different shapes printed for various denominations on the left of the watermark window (20: vertical rectangle; 50: square; 100: triangle; 500: circle; 1,000: diamond).
Suit by the blind over U.S. banknote design
This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(June 2021)
Ruling on a lawsuit filed in 2002 (American Council of the Blind v. Paulson), on November 28, 2006, U.S. District Judge James Robertson ruled that the American bills gave an undue burden to the blind and denied them "meaningful access" to the U.S. currency system. In his ruling, Robertson noted that the United States was the only nation out of 180 issuing paper currency that printed bills that were identical in size and color in all their denominations and that the successful use of such features as varying sizes, raised lettering and tiny perforations used by other nations is evidence that the ordered changes are feasible. The plaintiff's attorney was quoted as saying "It's just frankly unfair that blind people should have to rely on the good faith of people they have never met in knowing whether they've been given the correct change." Government attorneys estimated that the cost of such a change ranges from $75 million in equipment upgrades and $9 million annual expenses for punching holes in bills to $178 million in one-time charges and $50 million annual expenses for printing bills of varying sizes.
Robertson accepted the plaintiff's argument that current practice violates Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The judge ordered the United States Department of the Treasury to begin working on a redesign within 30 days, but the Treasury appealed the decision.
On May 20, 2008, in a 2-to-1 decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the earlier ruling, pointing out that the cost estimates were inflated and that the burdens on blind and visually impaired currency users had not been adequately addressed.
On October 3, 2008, on remand from the D.C. Circuit, D.C. District Court Judge Robertson granted the injunction.
As a result of the court's injunction, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is planning to implement a raised tactile feature in the next redesign of each note, except the $1 bill (which is not allowed to be redesigned, Pub.L. 114–113 (text)(pdf), 129 Stat. 2431, enacted December 18, 2015), though the version of the $100 bill already is in progress. It also plans larger, higher-contrast numerals, more color differences, and distribution of currency readers to assist the visually impaired during the transition period. The Bureau received a comprehensive study on accessibility options in July 2009, and solicited public comments from May to August 2010.
Legal authorizations for currency, and limitations on design
The Secretary of the Treasury is charged with the obligation to produce currency and bonds. 31 U.S.C. § 5114. Treasury Department regulations further specify the quality of paper and ink to be used. 31 C.F.R. Part 601. The denominations and design of currency are not further specified by law; for example, the choice of $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100, and the portraits on each, are largely left to the discretion of the Secretary of the Treasury.
There are few requirements set by Congress. The national motto "In God We Trust" must appear on all U.S. currency and coins. Though the motto had periodically appeared on coins since 1865, it did not appear on currency (other than interest-bearing notes in 1861) until a law passed in 1956 required it. It began to appear on Federal Reserve Notes delivered from 1964 to 1966, depending on denomination.
The portraits appearing on the U.S. currency can feature only people who have died, whose names should be included below each of the portraits. Since the standardization of the bills in 1928, the Department of the Treasury has chosen to feature the same portraits on the bills. These portraits were decided upon in 1929 by a committee appointed by the Treasury. Originally, the committee had decided to feature U.S. presidents because they were more familiar to the public than other potential candidates. The Treasury altered this decision, however, to include three statesmen who were also well known to the public: Alexander Hamilton (the first Secretary of the Treasury who appears on the $10 bill), Salmon P. Chase (the Secretary of the Treasury during the American Civil War who appeared on the now obsolete $10,000 bill), and Benjamin Franklin (a signer of the Declaration of Independence and of the Constitution, who appears on the $100 bill). In 2016, the Treasury announced a number of design changes to the $5, $10 and $20 bills; to be introduced over the next ten years. The redesigns include:
- The back of the $5 bill will be changed to showcase historical events at the pictured Lincoln Memorial by adding portraits of Marian Anderson (due to her famous performance there after being barred from Constitution Hall because of her race), Martin Luther King Jr. (due to his famous I Have A Dream speech), and Eleanor Roosevelt (who arranged Anderson's performance).
- The back of the $10 bill will be changed to show a 1913 march for women's suffrage in the United States, plus portraits of Sojourner Truth, Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
- On the $20 bill, Andrew Jackson will move to the back (reduced in size, alongside the White House) and Harriet Tubman will appear on the front.
After an unsuccessful attempt in the proposed Legal Tender Modernization Act of 2001, the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 required that none of the funds set aside for either the Treasury or the Bureau of Engraving and Printing may be used to redesign the $1 bill. This is because any change would affect vending machines and the risk of counterfeiting is low for this small denomination. This superseded the Federal Reserve Act (Section 16, Paragraph 8) which gives the Treasury permission to redesign any banknote to prevent counterfeiting.
|1914||$5, $10, $20, $50, $100||"This note is receivable by all national and member banks and Federal Reserve Banks and for all taxes, customs and other public dues. It is redeemable in gold on demand at the Treasury Department of the United States in the city of Washington, District of Columbia or in gold or lawful money at any Federal Reserve Bank."|
|1918||$500, $1,000, $5,000, $10,000|
|1928||$5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $500, $1,000, $5,000, $10,000||"Redeemable in gold on demand at the United States Treasury, or in gold or lawful money at any Federal Reserve Bank"||Branch ID in numerals|
|1934||"This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private, and is redeemable in lawful money at the United States Treasury, or at any Federal Reserve Bank"||Branch ID in letters; during the Great Depression|
|1950||$5, $10, $20, $50, $100||Slight design changes: branch logo; placements of signatures, "Series xxxx", and "Washington, D.C.",|
|1963, 1963A, 1963B, 1969, 1969A, 1969B, 1969C, 1974||$1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100||"This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private"||First $1 FRN; "Will pay to the bearer on demand" removed; Seal in Latin replaced by seal in English in 1969|
|1976||$2||First $2 FRN, Bicentennial|
|1977||$1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100||"This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private"|
|1977A||$1, $5, $10, $20|
|1981, 1981A, 1985||$1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100|
|1988||$1, $5, $50, $100|
|1988A||$1, $5, $10, $20|
|1990||$10, $20, $50, $100|
|1993||$1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100|
|1995||$1, $2, $5, $10, $20|
|Large-portrait ($1 and $2 remain small-portrait)|
|1996||$20, $50, $100|
|1999||$1, $5, $10, $20, $100|
|2001||$1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100|
|2003||$1, $2, $5, $10, $100|
|2003A||$1, $2, $5, $100|
|Color notes ($1 and $2 remain unchanged)|
|2004A||$10, $20, $50|
|2006||$1, $5, $10, $20, $50|
|2009||$1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100|
|2013||$1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100|
|2017||$1, $10, $20|
|2017A||$1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100|
Series 1914 (district seals)
Series 1996–2003 (new currency design)
Note: The series 2006A was produced from 2011 to 2013 due to issues with the printing process for the colorized (NextGen) $100 notes.
Post-2004 redesigned series
Beginning in 2003, the Federal Reserve introduced a new series of bills, featuring images of national symbols of freedom. The new $20 bill was first issued on October 9, 2003; the new $50 on September 28, 2004; the new $10 bill on March 2, 2006; the new $5 bill on March 13, 2008; the new $100 bill on October 8, 2013. The one and two dollar bills still remain small portrait, unchanged, and not watermarked.
All small-sized bills measure 6.14 in × 2.61 in (156 mm × 66 mm), with thickness of 0.0043 in (0.11 mm).
While the series 2009A was the first series of these $100 bills released for circulation, the first printing was series 2009 printed in 2010 and 2011. These were withheld from circulation due to issues with the printing process and none were released until 2016.
- ^O'Sullivan, Arthur; Sheffrin, Steven M. (2003). Economics: Principles in Action. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall. p. 255. ISBN .
- ^ abc12 U.S.C. § 411
- ^Bryan A. Garner, editor, Black's Law Dictionary 8th ed. (West Group, 2004) ISBN 0-314-15199-0.
- ^12 U.S.C. § 415 Section 415 describes circulating Federal Reserve Notes as liabilities of the issuing Federal Reserve Bank.
- ^31 U.S.C. § 5103
- ^See weekly H.4.1 reports, "Collateral Held against Federal Reserve Notes"
- ^Schwarz, John; Lindquist, Scott (September 21, 2009). Standard Guide to Small-Size U.S. Paper Money - 1928-Date. ISBN .
- ^Cross, Ira B. (June 1938). "A Note on Lawful Money". The Journal of Political Economy. 46 (3): 409–413. doi:10.1086/255236. S2CID 153434804.
- ^ ab12 U.S.C. § 412
- ^Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, p. 148.
- ^Friedberg & Friedberg, 2013, pp. 157–59.
- ^Treasury Department Appropriation Bill, 1929. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1928. p. 105.
- ^ abFederal Reserve Bank of New York (April 2007). "How Currency Gets into Circulation". Retrieved February 17, 2008.
- ^United States Department of the Treasury. "Organization chart of the Department of the Treasury"(PDF). Archived from the original(PDF) on February 16, 2008. Retrieved February 17, 2008.
- ^12 U.S.C. § 416
- ^12 U.S.C. § 413
- ^"US Coin Facts". Fleur-de-coin.com. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
- ^Federal Reserve System (October 8, 2013). "How long is the life span of U.S. paper money?". Retrieved November 15, 2013.
- ^ ab"History of Currency Designs". USPaperMoney.info. Retrieved February 19, 2008.
- ^ ab"Details of Serial Numbering". USPaperMoney.info. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
- ^"U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing – How Money is Made – Paper and Ink". www.bep.gov. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
- ^"Counterfeit". NewYorker.com. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
- ^"Security Features". The United States Treasury Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Archived from the original on October 27, 2014. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
- ^Michel Beuret, "Les mystères de la fausse monnaie"Archived October 13, 2013, at the Wayback MachineAllez savoir !, no. 50, May 2011 (in French).
- ^ ab"Judge rules paper money unfair to blind". CNN. November 29, 2006.
- ^American Council of the Blind v. Paulson, 463 F. Supp. 2d 51 (D. D.C. 2008).
- ^"Government appeals currency redesign". USA Today. Associated Press. December 13, 2006. Retrieved March 26, 2010.
- ^ ab"Judge: Make Money Recognizable to Blind". The Washington Post. November 29, 2006. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
- ^"AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND, et al. v. Henry M. Paulson, Jr., Secretary of the Treasury, Civil Action No. 02-0864 (JR)"(PDF). United States District Court for the District of Columbia. 2002. Archived from the original(PDF) on February 16, 2007. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
- ^Bridges, Eric, ed. (October 6, 2008). "Court Says Next Gen Currency Must Be Accessible to the Blind" (Press release). American Council of the Blind. Archived from the original on October 22, 2008.
- ^"Court Says the Blind Will Have Meaningful Access to Currency, Tells Government 'No Unnecessary Delays'". American Council of the Blind. Archived from the original on November 19, 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2008.
- ^"Federal Court Tells U.S. Treasury Department That It Must Design and Issue Accessible Paper Currency". American Council of the Blind. Archived from the original on November 19, 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2008.
- ^American Council of the Blind v. Paulson, 525 F. 3d 1256 (D.C. Cir.2008).
- ^American Council of the Blind v. Paulson, 581 F. Supp. 2d 1 (D. D.C. 2008).
- ^"Congressional Research Service Report RS21907"(PDF). WikiLeaks Document Release. August 11, 2004. p. 3 footnote. Retrieved February 16, 2018 – via MIT.
- ^"Administrative Provisions : Department of the Treasury". Retrieved June 28, 2017.
- ^"Final Report: Study to Address Options for Enabling the Blind and Visually Impaired Community to Denominate U.S. Currency, July 2009"(PDF).
- ^75 FR28331
- ^"Meaningful Access to United States Currency for Blind and Visually Impaired Persons". Regulations.gov. TREAS-DO-2010-0003.
- ^ ab31 U.S.C. § 5114
- ^Public Law 84-140
- ^"History of 'In God We Trust'". treasury.gov. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
- ^"U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing – FAQ Library". Moneyfactory.gov. Archived from the original on November 25, 2010. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
- ^Calmes, Jackie (April 20, 2016). "Harriet Tubman Ousts Andrew Jackson in Change for a $20" – via NYTimes.com.
- ^"Anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman to replace Jackson on $20 bill". usatoday.com. Retrieved April 21, 2016.
- ^H.R. 2528
- ^H.R. 1105
- ^Mimms, Sarah. "Why the $1 bill hasn't changed since 1929". Quartz (publication). Atlantic Media. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
- ^"FRB: Federal Reserve Act: Section 16". Federalreserve.gov. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
- ^"Evolution from Gold to Fiat Money". ecclesia.org. Retrieved February 19, 2008.
- ^"Series 2017 $1". USPaperMoney.info. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
- ^"Series 2017 $10". USPaperMoney.info. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
- ^"Series 2017 $20". USPaperMoney.info. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
- ^"Series 2017A $1". USPaperMoney.info. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
- ^"Transition from Series 2017 to 2017A continues at BEP". CoinWorld. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
- ^"Latest BEP production report reveals Series 2017A notes". CoinWorld. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
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We stood hugging each other for the last seconds of our trip. - So long to the house in the elevator, I have not yet traveled: I was joking. - I, too. - But this is probably my best trip.