US Currency Design Timeline

from NewMoney.gov, “New Currency History

  • 1861 – first general circulation of paper money by the federal government

  • 1929 – all paper currency is reduced in size by about 30% to lower manufacturing costs, and standardized designs across each denomination are introduced.

  • 1955 – In God We Trust motto first appears on paper currency
  • 1990 – Security thread and microprinting are introduced to deter counterfeiting, first in the $100 bills and then in all bills (except $1 and $2) by 1993

  • 1996 – first significant design change in 67 years. Redesign occurs so that new anti-counterfeiting security features can be incorporated, and it rolls out over the next four years. “The Bureau of Engraving and Printing announced that new designs would be undertaken every 7-10 years to stay ahead of currency counterfeiters.” This year the new $100 comes out.
  • 1996 is also the first use of watermarking in U.S. currency

    • 1997 – the new $50

    • 1998 – new $20

    • 2000 – new $10 and $5

  • 2003 – another redesign is announced. For the first time since 1905, US currency features subtle background colors. This year the redesigned $20 is released with subtle background colors of green, peach and blue.

    • 20o4 – the redesigned $50 is released, with background colors of blue and red.

    • 2006 – release of redesigned $10, with background colors of orange, yellow, and red.

  • 2006 – a redesign of the $5 bill is announced
  • 2007 – that new $5 is released.

  • 2008 – a redesigned Series 2006 $5 bill is released

  • 2010 – the design for the new $100 bill is unveiled. Due to production problems, it was not released in 2011 as planned, and there have been no further announcements.

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