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The Almighty Buck United States

Bureau of Engraving and Printing Issues New US$20 706

Posted by michael
from the legal-tender dept.
jea6 writes "Hot off the Western Currency Facility presses in Fort Worth! The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is issuing the new US$20 note to banks today. The newly redesigned Series 2004 $20 notes have background colors (so long, greenbacks) and improved security features. Ask your bank to send a few your way. Unlike the U.S Mint's "Golden Dollar", these notes will be issued to replace the Series 2001 note. Look for a redesigned Grant in 2004 and a new Benjamin in 2005. The US Government is spending $53,000,000 over the next 5 years to make sure everybody knows that this is a real note, so go get acquainted with one."
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Bureau of Engraving and Printing Issues New US$20

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  • Euro (Score:2, Funny)

    by quigonn (80360)
    So, when will the USA switch to Euro?
    • So, when will the USA switch to Euro?

      When will the Euro and the Dollar freeze parity?
      And before you start ranting or laughing, think about it.
      I say in 20 years from now the latest we'll have a unified currency across the western hemispere. At least the western hemispere.
    • Re:Euro (Score:3, Funny)

      by LordKronos (470910)
      So, when will the USA switch to Euro?
      Right after our conversion to the metric system.
  • by Jameth (664111) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @08:30AM (#7170786)
    I know it's kind-of silly, but I always really liked having all green bills. It makes my money-wads look a lot less messy. I've had money-wads of multi-colored bills, and it just gets ugly. The mass of colors ends up so busy that its irritating to look at.

    Of course, I'm a little obsessive compulsive and my favorite color is green, but it's alright to have a biased position.
    • by quigonn (80360) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @08:35AM (#7170823) Homepage
      Actually, the colors make sense. When a color marks a certain value, it's easier to distinguish them. With bills all in this greenish color you have to look closely to know which value it has. In fact, this led to a number of tricks to make people believe that they get a US-$ 20 bill, but instead they only got a US-$ 5 bill. So colors do have their advantages. And the Euro proves that colorful bills can look elegant, too.
      • I guess I'm in the minority here, but when I'm executing financial transactions (from going to the bank to going out to lunch), I CHECK the denominations of the bills I give and those I recieve. The new-look (not the brand-new-look) currency has a high-contrast, big, blocky, really-hard-to-miss printing of the denomination in one corner, and if I'm overpaying (using a $10 for less than $5, $20 for less than $10), I hand that side to the cashier or whoever's taking my money to make sure they get it.

        I have
        • Several currencies come not only in different sizes and colours, but also have indentations on them in braille so the blind can "read" the value of the notes... do you think including that sort of feature would cause outrage too?
        • Good thing we issued the Sacajawea dollar - everybody's using that, right?

          If by "everybody" you mean "the Post Office", then yeah, everybody's using them ;)

          Seriously, that's the only place I see them in regular use - stick a $20 nill into the self-serve stamp machine for a $7.40 book of stamps, and you'll get a half-pound of Sacajaweas and Susan B's back as change.

    • I agree with you. I'm glad that the new 20 is still pretty much 'green.' It has some highlights in different colors, and a bluish background, but for the most part, it's still green.

      I understand the reason all the European money is different colors and sizes, and yes, it absolutely makes sense...but I just don't care. Greenbacks should be green.
    • The mass of colors ends up so busy that its irritating to look at.

      FWIW, the new bill has strategic color such that it becomes difficult for an ink-jet to reproduce without obvious dithering. Consider the new color a safe-guard against anyone devaluating that ugly mess of bills in your pocket.

  • I don't get it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CGP314 (672613) <CGPNO@SPAMColinGregoryPalmer.net> on Thursday October 09, 2003 @08:30AM (#7170789) Homepage
    There will be no recall or devaluation of any U.S. currency. Old or new, all U.S. currency always will be honored at full face value.

    So, tell me, if I'm a counterfitter, why wouldn't I just copy the older bills and 'age' them in the washing machine?
    • While there will be no recall, old bills are pulled from circulation. Only between 5-10% of the money printed each year is actually new to the system as value, the other percentage is printed for the replacement of old bills.

      So, keep printing your old style counterfits. The public will begin to question their authenticity if they are in the minority. The public does that now with new redesigned bills when they are new.

    • Yes, but as time goes on, the older bills will be more uncommon and attract more of the acceptor's attention when you use them, making any imperfections in your counterfeit more likely to be noticed.
    • Re:I don't get it. (Score:3, Informative)

      by hype7 (239530)

      So, tell me, if I'm a counterfitter, why wouldn't I just copy the older bills and 'age' them in the washing machine?

      The US government has promised to honour them. Not necessarily Joe Blogs on the street corner.

      What normally happens is that the country's central bank draws a line underneath a certain date, and says "from this day forth, only the new currency is legal tender. If you want to exchange the old currency for new currency, bring it to us or a big private bank".

      Normally, the outlets that accept

      • Re:I don't get it. (Score:3, Informative)

        by Zachary Kessin (1372)
        Not in the US. All money ever issued by the US goverment back to the first coins in the 1790's are still legal tender. In theory if you had a quarter dated 1800 you could spend it.

        This is not true of many countries, When I lived in England they changed the money around from time to time. (And ofcourse they changed it in a major way in the 1960's). Here in Israel we are on our 3rd money unit in 50 some years. We had the Israeli Pound, then the Shekel, now the NEW Shekel. Other countries do other things.
      • Re:I don't get it. (Score:3, Informative)

        by Phleg (523632)
        The US government has promised to honour them. Not necessarily Joe Blogs on the street corner.

        I suggest you take a closer look at your bills. "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private." The bills must be accepted for the payment of debts, services, etc., by U.S. law. You cannot pick which bills you will or will not accept, under U.S. law.
        • Re:I don't get it. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Senior Frac (110715)

          I suggest you take a closer look at your bills. "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private." The bills must be accepted for the payment of debts, services, etc., by U.S. law. You cannot pick which bills you will or will not accept, under U.S. law.

          A common misinterpretation of the text. If you think carefully, it implies no obligation for me to accept it. Why can't I pay for my $150 grocery bill in pennies? That's "legal tender."

          No, it's legal tender in that it can be used. Not th

    • by Detritus (11846) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @08:40AM (#7170863) Homepage
      If you're a "counterfitter", you would be helping build kitchens, not printing money.
      • My father was a dieselfitter. He worked in a lady's underwear shop. When woman would come in not knowing their size, he would look at them, then say "Dies'll fit her"
    • The vast majority of US currency (around 80%) is used overseas, where it is the defacto currency of business.

      Foreign banks, particularly in places like Russia and Asia will require you to turn in your old currency if you wish to do business with them in US Dollars.
  • by pi radians (170660) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @08:30AM (#7170790)
    Only in America will they spend $35 million dollars to promote something everyone already wants, money.
  • by ArmorFiend (151674) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @08:31AM (#7170796) Homepage Journal
    In 2001 they released a new bill design, and said "we want to stay one step ahead of the counterfeiters". Before that the bill had been unchanged for, what, 30 years? And now three years later, they're releasing a new bill? Its being kept hush-hush, but this is a clear sign that our currency is being successfully counterfitted.
    • And the counterfeiters will still keep winning! You know why?

      Because there are so many dumb people out there [thesmokinggun.com] .

      -- james
    • Gee, imagine that... counterfeiters actually keeping up with changes in the most desirable currency on the planet.

      In all honesty, the Mint has known for years that the "greenbacks" we use are easy to confuse and counterfeit. It'd be nice to have all our bills instantly be different sizes, colors and textures, but that would be way too much adjustment. So they're introducing changes gradually -- first redesigning the bills, then adding some color. Probably in another five years they'll add even more color a
      • by Safety Cap (253500) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @09:30AM (#7171251) Homepage Journal

        Why do that when the government has proven itself utterly incompetent so far?

        Both the Susan B. Anthony and Sacajawea coin were rolled out with great fanfare, but people largely ignored them. Why? Because there was no reason to change, since Uncle Stupid kept printing paper dollars. Look at Canada -- they did the same thing, except they stopped printing the paper. People grumbled at first ("fear change"), but now it is all good.

        Easy recipe for change:

        1. At the next election, add a line item to the ballot: Replace dollar bills with coins or add national sales tax of 1% to cover cost of printing paper money?
        2. When coins wins by 99 to 1, start minting coins to cover supply
        3. Stop printing dollars
        4. "The problem will naturally work itself out."
        5. ...
        6. Profit! (Actually yes, because a coin lasts 20+ years, whereas a bill lasts only 18 months on avg)

        Next, the Metric system: time to join the rest of the planet.

        • by Dun Malg (230075) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:18AM (#7171749) Homepage
          At the next election, add a line item to the ballot: Replace dollar bills with coins or add national sales tax of 1% to cover cost of printing paper money?

          First, in the US, a national sales taxes would be unconstitutional. Second, there's no mechanism for federal level popular referendums-- we have a strictly representative republic. Third, using the threat of taxation to make people feel good about a format change in currency is ridiculous. If replacing paper 1's become that much of a drain on the treasury, then the change to coins will happen. As it is, the Dept. of the Treasury has only made the case that it would make their lives a little easier. We the taxpayers pay 'em to work. Let 'em work. The extra expense is really nothing in comparison to the federal budget as a whole.

  • by hype7 (239530) <u3295110NO@SPAManu.edu.au> on Thursday October 09, 2003 @08:34AM (#7170822) Journal
    The Aussie notes are amongst the best in the world, IMO.

    Different colours for different values.

    Different sizes for different values.

    They're based on Polymer [rba.gov.au]. Put one through the wash, it comes out looking like new. Well, almost.

    Some extremely sophisticated anti-counterfeiting techniques [rba.gov.au].

    Our Reserve Bank has even been thoughtful enough to worry about those with vision impairment [rba.gov.au].

    And, they just look cool [rba.gov.au].
    • Very cool notes indeedd. A somewhat similar page exists for the Euro [eurotracer.net] at eurotracer.net. The web site even allows you to enter the serial number of the notes you have in your possession, and will tell you if that note was already recorded at a prior date and give you its location back then, showing how money travels !

      The site is loaded with information on not just notes but coins as well, just browse around.

  • They still look rather dull and boring. Why make all the notes the same colour? it's easier for people with poor eyesight to distinguish between the different notes if they're different colours and sizes.
  • High time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by david.given (6740) <dg@cowlark.cNETBSDom minus bsd> on Thursday October 09, 2003 @08:37AM (#7170841) Homepage Journal
    At last! Banknotes you don't have to read to work out the denomination of!

    I'm British. I'm used to European money, which is all different colours and different sizes, and in a lot of cases is made out of plastic. You probably don't realise just how weird American money looks to us; it's all the same size, it's all the same colour --- even the material feels odd; thin and papery and not very robust. (Rag paper, isn't it?)

    When I last visited the US, dealing with American money was a continual surprise. Normally when I visit another country it doesn't take long before I can recognise notes by colour and size, which makes it much easier to handle. With American money, I kept having to peer at it to work out what it was I was about to hand over. I got the impression that they were designed by someone who knew about ergonomics, but wanted no truck with the idea.

    Of course, this is mostly just a matter of being used to a different system (I expect that with some practice you get used to looking at the picture rather than the overall design), but I do wonder how blind and partially sighted people manage.

    While this isn't a complete solution, at least the high-denomination notes will look different from the low-denomination notes, which will make it much less easy to, e.g., tip someone a hundred dollars instead of one. (Although whether this is considered a benefit depends which side of the transaction you're standing.)

    • by troc (3606)
      Heh, the US is the only place I have seen a drive-through ATM (cashpoint) which had braille on the digits for all those, erm, blind drivers.

      Troc
    • Re:High time (Score:3, Insightful)

      by warpSpeed (67927)
      Being an american I found that, while traveing to Euroup, understaning all the different denominations to be pretty straight forward once you could do the converions back to USD.

      I think it is all what you are used too.

      While this isn't a complete solution, at least the high-denomination notes will look different from the low-denomination notes, which will make it much less easy to, e.g., tip someone a hundred dollars instead of one.

      Well, the various denominations of american money do look different fr

      • Higher denomination bills appear less worn because they circulate more slowly.

        Your average $1 bill sees a lot of action.
    • I'm British. I'm used to European money

      Funny, I'm British too, but I didn't think we'd joined the Euro yet. ;)
    • by toupsie (88295) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @09:24AM (#7171191) Homepage
      As American, I want to apologize about currency and your confusion using it. We should know how confusing numbers are to Europeans. That is why we are releasing European friendly bank notes now.

      On your next trip to America, just remember this simple little mathmatical formula:

      1 is less than 5 is less than 10 is less than 20 is less than 50 is less than 100

      If this still proves to be difficult, just hand over your wallet to one of us and we will audit your currency for you...for a small fee.

    • You might have missed the numbers in large print... US currency is designated with positive integers like "1", "5", "10", "20", "50", "100", which indicates the value.

      The texture of each bill is slightly different. The newsstand near my office is run by a blind guy who is likely the fastest money sorter/counter that I have ever met.
    • Re:High time (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Galvatron (115029) * on Thursday October 09, 2003 @10:28AM (#7171874)
      I've got to agree with the other people who say "look at the numbers." It's not our fault if your money gets you in the habit of looking at colors instead. As for it looking "odd," that's the entire goddamn point! We're used to it, so your money looks odd to us, and we don't want to switch (after all, we're the ones who have to look at it every day).

      One thing that is funny, though: dimes do not state their denomination. Nickels and pennies say "five cents" and "one cent" respectively, and quarters are, of course, a quarter of a dollar. But a dime just says "one dime." How useless is that?

    • Re:High time (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RealAlaskan (576404)
      At last! Banknotes you don't have to read to work out the denomination of!
      [snip]
      ... I expect that with some practice you get used to looking at the picture rather than the overall design ...

      Read? Picture? Overall design? What country's banknotes were you using?

      Here in the US, all banknotes (including the ones which were issued by private banks 100+ years ago) are clearly marked with large, legible numbers, which (follow closely here, this is deep) indicate the denomination. We use a 1 to indicate

  • by webrunner (108849) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @08:40AM (#7170860) Homepage Journal
    Thousands of peices of clipart rendered obsolete!
  • would be to alter the sizes so the blind can tell them apart, just about every country in the world has different sized bank notes for this reason, why not the US....

    • there's some countries that use 'raised' inks. probably not accurate enough for real braille, but a set of symbols (dots, a few mm across and similar sized bars) would be enough to keep different bills apart.
  • It's a nuisance having all the notes different colours. They become less uniform. It's bad enough that they have different pictures on them. Can't they all be the same except for the value? Only the laziest of people and those stupid Canucks can't be bothered to read the number.

    What's even more annoying is that small change comes in different sizes. Not only that, but the sizes are illogical. I mean come on! 5c is bigger than 10c! We need to make themn all the same size and all the same colour to
  • by amichalo (132545) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @08:48AM (#7170930)
    The issue I see with this form of anti-piracy copy protection is that the methods to detect fraud take too long.

    When I worked in retail where a typical purchase was about $35, we saw Twenties all day long. The only thing we did was make sure it was put in the drawer facing the same way so the manager wouldn't get upset when he did the count that night.

    For $50 or $100 we had a yellow pen that you ran on the bill and the ink would be brown for a good bill, black if it was not.

    THAT'S IT - there was no using a microscope to read Jackson's lips as he spoke the word "Republic".

    Bottom line is, unless retailers perceive there is a problem to their bottom line because the banks won't accept their cash deposits full of bad cash, the best solution is for the mint to print fewer bills and assume a certain percentage of fraudulent bills are in circulation.

    It woudl save the treasury money on ink and cotton paper!
  • by 4of12 (97621) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @08:48AM (#7170931) Homepage Journal

    All the big portrait remakes of U.S. currency neglected the one dollar bill.

    From what I understand, paper money costs more to maintain relative to coin over a period of years. Wear and tear means reprinting and replacement over a shorter life cycle for paper currency.

    There's been 2 or 3 attempts to get US to use one dollar coins, and the vending machine manufacturers and the casinos would welcome the move, but people keep wanting to use those $1 bills over the Ike dollars, the Susan B. dollars and I'm not sure what else.

    What's weird is that coins up to $20 denomination were used in the 19th century. And that was when $20 represented something like 2/3 of a month's wages for many people.

  • by Eslyjah (245320) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @08:48AM (#7170932)
    It looks like Queer Eye [bravotv.com] visited the US Treasury.
  • The US mint anf Govt is being really stinking stupid.

    Let's make new hard to copy bills...

    oh but the old stuff is still perfectly fine...

    so all counterfitters need to do is continue what they have done forever? as the new bills mean nothing to them as the old bills are still useable and therefore the counterfits are still useable.

    pure stupidity... have the banks pull them out of circulation and announce a death date for the bills. I.E. 60 days after the introduction of the new bill the old bills will b
    • I have to say, I don't think it is a counterfeit issue at all. With things like the "State Quarters", and $1 coins, it seems quite clearly to be an attempt to actively solicit coin-collectors to save up a lot of them, and in the process, pad the federal budget, since money not spent is pure profit. And when you later realize that you made a mistake in collecting this crap, you will spend that coin, at the same dollar/cent value as when you got it, but after significant inflation reduced it to a tiny fract
  • I only occasionally use cash now.
    Most of the time I use my credit card, faster, easier, less to carry, no lost change, no pockets of change, no rolling of change.
    I get a nice clean statement telling me what I have purchased.

    I just use cash for the few places that don't take Credit cards.
    • my credit card, faster, easier, less to carry, no lost change, no pockets of change, no rolling of change.

      Amen! None of that whole, being able to purchase a product without Identifying yourself. None of that whole, staying out of mega-corp databases. None of that whole hassle of privacy at all.

      (Not trolling, just making a point)
  • You know, I found I derived more enjoyment and satisfaction from the flash tutorial talking about the new bill than I'll ever enjoy from fondling the real money. *sigh*
  • by Plutor (2994) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @09:06AM (#7171063) Homepage
    > US Government is spending $53,000,000 over the next 5 years to make sure everybody knows that this is a real note, so go get acquainted with one.

    Well, you have to spend money to make money..
  • An Idea I've had for an while: let Chille, and other countries that use the US dollar as the national currency design their own bills, for circulation in their country only. They would be legal US currency, and you could spend them in any US store, but the only way to get them in the US is to physically go to that country (where they would be common).

    Better yet, we can put some limits that would help in the long run. Let them do a $1 coin, but not $1 bill. National pride should then get people to pre

  • Wouldn't it be cheaper to just send a new $20 bill to every person in the US?

  • Spending 53 million to make sure everyone knows the new bills are real doesn't seem like such a big deal when you're the one in charge of printing the cash you spend!
  • American bills had always been pretty bad because they had to print a lot (several times more than what ciruclates inside the US) since it's an global currency, not just the currency of the US of A, and as a result printing bills had to be very cheap and very fast. They thoguht that conterfeiting was a necessary evil.

    And now, even though they'd sooner tear their left arms off and beat themselves to death with them than admit it, those new bills introduce a lot of the security features the Euro (most expens
  • One of the little hassles of life I struck when moving from New Zealand to the US is the greater effort required to empty my pocket of coins. I'd never seen those little boxes of pennies on shop counters. In NZ we gave up our 1 and 2 cent coins long ago and nobody seemed to suffer much. In the US this is the subject of a raging debate [cnn.com]. Change (no pun intended) doesn't come easily here. In NZ we also have $1 and $2 coins and prices are usually inclusive of tax so there are fewer oddball amounts to pay.
    • ... prices are usually inclusive of tax so there are fewer oddball amounts to pay.

      Oddball amounts in the US are not the result of taxes being added to the total. Shopkeepers could easily work backwards to price things such that the taxes rounded off the total.

      Our non-round prices were intentionally set to force cashiers to use the cash register. If prices were nice and easy to calculate in one's head and were likely to come to some round number, a cashier might never key the sale into the register.

  • And I thought only german names for authorities where obnoxious.
  • I guess... (Score:3, Funny)

    by feldkamp (146657) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @09:28AM (#7171241)
    "The US Government is spending $53,000,000 over the next 5 years to make sure everybody knows that this is a real note" ...you have to spend money to make money.
  • by theonetruekeebler (60888) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:26AM (#7172615) Homepage Journal
    What the hell kind of geek news is this? My money is just a bunch of ones and zeroes (mostly zeroes) flittling from one place to the next.

    The only thing I use paper money for is milk shakes and lap dances.

  • by istartedi (132515) on Thursday October 09, 2003 @11:49AM (#7172951) Journal

    When will they get it through their heads that the construction of the bill won't every solve counterfeiting? Anything they can make, others can make too. Last time, the Russian mafia had excellent fakes out almost before most people in the US had the new bills in their pockets!

    The only practical solution is to surveil the money (not the people). What do I mean by "surveil the money?". Well, each bill already has a serial number. You don't have to track every bill either, just most bills. Scanners at banks, convenience stores, and other common cash exchange points would transmit the location of the bill, as well as validate the bill.

    To catch a counterfeiter, just watch for the following inconsistancies: Bills moving at hypersonic speeds accross the US, serial numbers that aren't in the database, two bills with the same number in different locations, etc.

    Then, just pull up the surveilance tapes from the stores where the bills are passed. Match faces. If a suspicious bill is passed by the same person more than once, you have just cause. Get warrant. Search house. You've got them.

    A few crooks would still slip through now and then, but high-volume operations would be extremely difficult because the odds would catch up with these guys. They would have to control the valid bill to prevent the dupe flag from being raised, or conspire to hack the database, or launder money through stores that didn't participate in the system--activities which are much easier to investigate and track.

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