WASHINGTON, March 13, 2008 (AFP) — "The redesigned five-dollar bill's enhanced security features help ensure we stay ahead of counterfeiters and protect your hard-earned money," Federal Reserve Board official Michael Lambert said at a ceremony to launch the new bill.
Lambert spent the first new bill, which like the old features a portrait of president Abraham Lincoln, at the gift shop at the site of the 34-room house on a hilltop in Washington, called Lincoln's Cottage, in which Lincoln and his family lived for six months of the year during the Civil War.
The Fed official bought a book of Lincoln's speeches, in keeping with the theme of the US president who brought an end to slavery and who has long graced five-dollar bills.
"It only takes a few seconds to check the new five-dollar bill to make sure it's genuine. If you know how to check its security features, you can easily be confident it's real," Lambert said.
The new bill is the same size and bears the same, but enhanced, images as the old bills -- of Lincoln on one side and the Lincoln Memorial on the other -- and will be easily recognisable as "quintessentially American," the US Treasury's Bureau of Engraving and Printing said.
But key security features, such as watermarks, have been either added, changed or made better, in a bid to outsmart increasingly astute counterfeiters.
The number of watermarks has been increased, from one to two, and the watermark of Lincoln on old five dollar bills has been replaced by a large number five.
The new bills' security thread, positioned to the right of Lincoln's portrait, glows blue when held under an ultraviolet light, and microprinting -- words so small that they are hard to replicate -- has been added in several places in the bills.
The most noticeable new feature on the new bills is the addition of color.
Unlike the old bills, which are green against an off-white background, the new ones have had light purple added to the center, blending into gray near the edges.
Small yellow "05"s are printed to the left of Lincoln's portrait on the front of the bill and to the right of the Lincoln Memorial on the back.
The Great Seal of the United States has been added to the bill, clouds have been put in the sky behind the Lincoln Memorial, and Lincoln's portrait takes up more space on the money.
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