newly redesigned Series 2004 $50 notes, featuring subtle
background colors of blue and red, images of a waving American
flag and a small metallic silver-blue star, will be issued
in the U.S. beginning on September 28. On the day of issue,
the Federal Reserve Banks will begin distributing the new
notes to the public through commercial banks.
“The enhanced security features in
this series of notes help ensure that U.S. currency will
continue to represent the trust, value and confidence that
people all over the world have grown to rely on and expect,”
said Federal Reserve Board Governor Mark W. Olson. “As
always, all new notes will co-circulate with the older designs.
All notes are good for good.”
The redesigned $50 note is the second in
the Series 2004 new currency designs. A redesigned $20 note
was issued in October 2003. A redesigned $100 note is also
planned. A decision has not been made on whether the $10
and $5 notes will be redesigned, but the $1 and $2 designs
will not change.
Because the improved security features are
more effective if the public knows about them, the U.S.
government is undertaking a broad, worldwide public education
program. This program will ensure that people all over the
world know the new currency is coming, and help them recognize
and use the security features. The outreach includes cash-handlers,
merchants, business and industry associations and the media.
There is nearly $700 billion in circulation worldwide, and
as much as two-thirds of U.S. currency is held outside the
A variety of training materials –
such as posters, training videos and brochures – is
available in 24 languages. The materials can be downloaded
or ordered through www.moneyfactory.com/newmoney.
While consumers should not use color to
check the authenticity of their currency (relying instead
on user-friendly security features – see below), color
does add complexity to the note, making counterfeiting more
difficult. Different colors are being used for different
denominations, which will help everyone – particularly
those who are visually impaired – to tell denominations
The new $50 design retains three important
security features that were first introduced in the 1990s
and are easy for consumers and merchants alike to check:
Watermark: A faint image, similar to the
portrait, which is part of the paper itself and is visible
from both sides when held up to the light.
Security thread: Also visible from both sides when held
up to the light, this vertical strip of plastic is embedded
in the paper and spells out the denomination in tiny print.
Color-shifting ink: The numeral in the lower right corner
on the face of the note, indicating its denomination, changes
color from copper to green when the note is tilted.
Counterfeiting: Increasingly Digital
Counterfeiting has been kept at low levels
through a combination of improvements in security features,
aggressive law enforcement and education efforts to inform
the public about how to check their currency. About 1 in
25,000 $50 notes is a counterfeit, according to the Federal
However, since 1995, digitally produced
counterfeit notes have increased from one percent of all
counterfeits detected in the U.S. to 40 percent. To stay
ahead of counterfeiters as advances in technology make digital
counterfeiting of currency easier and cheaper, the government
expects to redesign the currency about every seven to ten