US spending gets more colourful

Appropriate for the coming spring blossoms in the United States, the government is adding a little colour to American wallets. A newly redesigned $10 bill is going into circulation.

The new $10, featuring shades of orange, yellow and red, will join colourised versions of the $20 bill and the $50 bill as the Bureau of Engraving and Printing attempts to stay a step ahead of counterfeiters and ever-more-sophisticated copying machines.

The Federal Reserve begins on Thursday shipments of the first of 800-million of the new $10 bills to commercial banks. In the next few days, the bills will start showing up in cash registers around the country.

To highlight the occasion, US Treasurer Anna Escobedo Cabral, whose signature appears on the nation’s currency, will spend the first redesigned $10 bill at the gift store of the National Archives.

That location was selected because the new bill will feature in red letters the phrase ”We the People”, the first three words of the US Constitution, which is housed at the archives.

It will take time before all the old-style green $10 bills in circulation are replaced by the more colourful model. The older-designed notes will continue to be valid currency for as long as they circulate.

The new bill still features Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first Treasury secretary, on one side, and the Treasury building on the other. Those two images are joined by the Statue of Liberty’s torch and ”We the People” in red along with small yellow 10s and a subtle orange background.

The colourised $20 note went into circulation in 2003 and was followed in 2004 by a newly designed $50 note.

The $100 bill is the next denomination scheduled to receive a dash of colour. However, introduction of that bill has been delayed while the government conducts a search for additional security features to protect the denomination that is the most frequently counterfeited outside the US.

Larry Felix, director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, said his agency expects to receive recommendations this summer for what types of additional security features should be included on the $100 bill.

”It has to be a feature that the public can use,” he said. ”It must work with the eyes and light so that it stands out.”

The hope is to introduce the $100 in 2007. There are no plans to colourise the $1 bill or the $5 bill, neither of which is of sufficient value to interest counterfeiters. — Sapa-AP

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