Banks Distribute Redesigned $50 Note

Federal Reserve Bulletin, Autumn 2004 | Go to article overview

Banks Distribute Redesigned $50 Note


Newly redesigned $50 notes arrived at banks beginning September 28, 2004, ready to make their way into circulation and consumer wallets. On that day, the Federal Reserve System distributed the new note to banks and thus into the public's hands.

To mark the occasion, officials from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Board, and the U.S. Secret Service were on hand for the first transaction using the newly redesigned $50 note. Paying homage to the symbol of freedom featured in the note's new design, the U.S. flag, the officials used one of the first new $50 notes to buy an American flag from the Alamo Flag shop in Washington, D.C.'s Union Station.

The $50 note includes enhanced security features, subtle background colors of blue and red, images of a waving American flag, and a small metallic silver-blue star. The new design is part of the U.S. government's ongoing efforts to stay ahead of counterfeiting and protect the integrity of U.S. currency.

"The stability and integrity of U.S. paper currency is something the U.S. government takes very seriously," said Brian Roseboro, Under Secretary for Domestic Finance at the Department of the Treasury. "We believe that redesigning the currency regularly and enhancing security features is the way to keep U.S. currency safe and secure from would-be counterfeiters."

"A combination of factors keep currency counterfeiting at low levels," said Paul Johnson, assistant special agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service's Criminal Investigations Division. "Improved worldwide cooperation in law enforcement, improvements in currency design, like those in the new $50 notes that will begin circulating today, and a better-informed public all contribute to our success in the fight against counterfeiting."

The government is supporting the new currency's issue with a public education program designed to inform people in the United States and in other countries about updated security features and ensure a smooth introduction of each newly designed note into circulation.

"As we introduce these beautiful new notes, we want to emphasize that the older design $50 notes will remain in circulation for some time to come and will remain legal tender," said Louise Roseman, the Federal Reserve Board's director of Federal Reserve Bank Operations and Payment Systems.

The new $50 note is the second denomination in the Series 2004 currency, the most secure series of notes in U.S. history. The first denomination in the series to be redesigned was the $20 note, which began circulating in October 2003.

"The next denomination in the series will be a new $10 note," said Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors. "We are currently working on the design and expect to unveil it in the spring of 2005." The $100 note is also slated to be redesigned, but a timetable for its introduction is not yet set. No decision has been reached on any potential design changes to the $5 note, but the $1 and $2 notes will not be redesigned. …

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