You might say that the US Mint is going crazy. They've issued new quarters, new nickels, new golden dollar coins, and new rainbow-colored bills! What's going on?
Why dollar coins?
Have you been watching your quarters? Fifty new state quarters have been issued over a 10-year time span, ending in 2008. The backs (reverse) of the new quarters recognize something special about each state. The fronts (obverse) feature a modified version of the design for George Washington.
We have several new dollar coins. One, a golden coin, shows an American Indian woman named Sacagawea, carrying her baby on her back.
You've probably noticed the new colorful $5, $10, $20, and $50 bills. All the new bills have rainbow colors and new security features that make them harder to copy.
New color for the new $10
When you visit your credit union, ask to see a new $10 bill. The Federal Reserve says this and the other new bills are "safer, smarter, and more secure."
- Safer—they're harder to fake and easier to check;
- Smarter—they're one step ahead of people who want to make fake money;
- More secure—they protect the integrity of US currency.
The large "10" in the lower right corner of the back of the bill is easier to read.
Look at the different background colors on the new $10 bill. They must have had a fashion designer pick them: orange, yellow and red!
These colors make the new bill harder for dishonest people to counterfeit, or make fake money with the intent to use it.
Did you miss the large number "10" on the lower right corner on the back of each bill?
You still will easily be able to tell the difference between a new $10 and a new $20—the background colors for the $20 are peach and green.
Money's still money
The new bills still have the distinct size, look and feel of traditional American "greenbacks" —the world's most familiar and circulated currency.
Have some fun with the new bills at NewMoney.gov.
You don't have to trade in your old currency for new. The old bills will still remain in circulation and will hold the same money value as the new bills.
When will it end?
Currently the government doesn't have plans to redesign the $1 or $2 bills. It's not being lazy. It's just that those denominations are less popular with counterfeiters who prefer more bang for their bucks.
What else is new?
The new bills have three big security features that are easy to check: color-shifting ink, watermark and security thread.
Color-shifting ink. Look at the number in the lower right corner on the face of a new bill. When you tilt the note up or down, the color-shifting ink changes from copper to green.
Security thread. If you hold a new bill up to the light, you will notice a skinny plastic strip embedded in the paper. It runs from top to bottom up one side of the note. Look more closely and you will see words that indicate the amount of the bill, and a small flag along the thread.
Watermark. Hold the bill up to the light, and notice the watermark. This is a faint image, similar to the large portrait on the front of the note. It is part of the paper itself, and can be seen from both sides.
Freedom symbols. Two symbols of freedom have been added to the face of the bill. On the new $20 the symbols are American eagles. The symbols on the new $10 are torches from the Statue of Liberty.
Enhanced portrait. The oval borders and fine lines around the portrait on the face have been removed. The portrait has moved up, so the shoulders extend into the border.
When you get one of these new bills, compare it to an older bill. Check the differences, and then hold the new bill up to the light to see all the new features.