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New Five Dollar Bill Facts and Pictures


Yesterday, March 13, 2008, the US Department of the Treasury released the new $5 bills into circulation. The new $5 bills were included among currency shipments from Federal Reserve to banks, which will distribute the money to customers and businesses. People will start seeing these new bills as soon as this weekend.

Changes to the new $5 bill

Changes to the front: There are several striking visual changes to the new $5 bill. There is a splash of light purple next to Lincoln’s portrait that fades to gray as it spreads toward the bill’s edges. To the right of Lincoln’s portrait (as you view the bill), there is an imprinting of The Great Seal of the United States. Surrounding Lincoln’s portrait and The Great Seal of the United States is a band of purple stars.

Changes to the back: The most obvious changes to the back side of the $5 bill include a large purple “5″ in the bottom right corner of the bill, small yellow “5″ numerals on the back, and a multitude of changes to the micro-printing and other security features.


Security features of the new $5 bill

The descriptions of the security features are taken from the US Government press release for the new $5 bill.

Watermark: There are now two watermarks on the redesigned $5 bill. A large number “5″ watermark is located to the right of the portrait, replacing the previous watermark portrait of President Lincoln found on older design $5 bills. Its location is highlighted by a blank window incorporated into the background design. A second watermark — a column of three smaller “5″s — has been added to the new $5 bill design and is positioned to the left of the portrait.

5 Bill Watermark

Security thread: The embedded security thread, which is located to the left of the portrait on older-design $5 bills, has moved to the right of the portrait on the redesigned $5 bill. The letters “USA” followed by the number “5″ in an alternating pattern are visible along the thread from both sides of the bill. The embedded security thread glows blue when held under ultraviolet light.


Rules for reproducing US currency

Don’t go printing these out! Here is what you need to know if you want to reproduce images of US currency:

Regulations for Reproducing U.S. Currency
Authority: 18 U.S.C. 504; Treasury Directive Number 15-56, 58 FR 48539
(September 16, 1993)
411.1 Color illustrations authorized
(a) Notwithstanding any provision of chapter 25 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, authority is hereby given for the printing, publishing or importation, or the making or importation of the necessary plates or items for such printing or publishing, of color illustrations of U.S. currency provided that:
(1) The illustration be of a size less than three-fourths or more than one and one-half, in linear dimension, of each part of any matter
so illustrated;
(2) The illustration be one-sided; and
(3) All negatives, plates, positives, digitized storage medium, graphic files, magnetic medium, optical storage devices, and any other thing used in the making of that illustration that contain an image of the
illustration or any part thereof shall be destroyed and/or deleted or erased after their final use in accordance with this section.
(b) [Reserved].

For more fun, explore the interactive feature for the new $5 bill. Click on the link under the small picture of the $5 bill – “Explore the Interactive $5 Bill.” This launches a separate window, but is pretty cool!

Photo credit: $5 bill front and back – The Associated Press (link no longer available). All other photos:

Published or updated May 15, 2009.
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