New #036;20 bills make their way to county

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 18, 2003

Green has long been considered the color of American money, but that may change with the issuance of the colorful new $20 bills.

The new bills were released Oct. 9 by the Federal Reserve System. The most obvious change is the addition of green, peach and blue color to the background.

"This is a historic milestone on two fronts: for the first time in modern history, U.S. currency features background colors other than black and green, and, more importantly, this currency is the most secure U.S. currency ever, to protect against counterfeiting," Tom Ferguson, director of the U.S. Treasury's Bureau of Engraving and Printing, said in a written statement.

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The public has no cause for worry though because all the old $20 bills will continue to be legal tender.

A few new bills began to show up in Lawrence County over the weekend and are now available at several local banks.

While working at the Cold Spot last Sunday, Rick Mitchell saw two of the bills for the first time and said he was impressed.

"I like them. Personally, I think money needs a little color," he said. "If it helps battle counterfeiters, it saves everybody money."

The new $20 bills have three important security features that were originally introduced in the late 1990s.

The watermark is a faint image similar to the large portrait that is part of the paper itself and is visible from both sides when held up to the light. The security thread is the vertical strip of plastic that is embedded in the paper itself that says "USA TWENTY" and depicts a small flag. The numeral "20" in the lower-right corner on the front of the bill changes from copper to green when the note is tilted.

Mitchell said he even made a $5 profit on the new money after one customer begged him to sell him one of the bills for $25. Regardless, he still kept one to show his family and to save as a keepsake.

"I am definitely going to save one," he said. " I collect money anyway."

Redesigns of the $50 and $100 bills are scheduled for release in 2004 and 2005.

Redesigns of the $5 and $10 notes are under consideration, but the $1 and $2 notes will not be redesigned, according to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

Different colors will be used for different denominations so that it will be easier to differentiate the various dollar amounts.