New $20 bills arrive next week

Published 5:00 am Monday, October 13, 2003

“Old Hickory” has been given a touch of color on the new $20bills released last week, but he’s not blushing. Area residentsshould begin seeing the new bills next week.

The new bills were released nationwide Thursday, but arearesidents probably won’t see any until later this week, accordingto Elaine Coffey, head teller at State Bank and Trust.

“I was supposed to receive some in my order Thursday, but I didnot get them,” she said. “I expect we’ll get them in our nextorder.”

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Shannon Aker, a senior vice president with the Bank ofBrookhaven, said they are also expected to begin receiving the newbills next week, but Sandra Rushing, head teller at TrustmarkNational Bank, was not sure when they would receive them.

“We don’t actually order $20s, so we’ll just get them as theycome in,” she said.

Rushing said the bank is, however, ready to receive them.

“Our counterfeit detectors and currency counters were upgraded(Friday) to handle the new bills,” she said.

When the $20 bill was redesigned in 1998, the first majorredesign of American paper currency is quite some time, people wereskeptical of the new money and referred to the bills as “Monopoly”money after the famous real estate game created by ParkerBrothers.

Bank officials don’t expect the same response this time,although there is some skepticism among clients.

Coffey said she thought the bills would be readily accepted, butadded there is some trepidation.

“I don’t know how well it’s going to go over,” she said. “I’vealready had customers ask me to save them some old bills, which Ican’t do.”

Aker disagreed.

“People are used to changes now,” he said.

Rushing agreed.

“People are really anxious to see what they look like,” shesaid.

The background on the new bills is green, peach and blue. It’sthe first and only bill in history to abandon the puregreen-and-black color scheme people are familiar with on the restof American currency.

The image of Jackson, nicknamed Old Hickory, appears slightlylarger because of the removal of the border around his portrait,but his head is the same size on both the new and old bills. Thereis no color on the portrait.

The U.S. Treasury Department is billing the new $20 bills as”safer, smarter and more secure.”

“They’re saying it will be safer for us to take them. They’resupposed to be more secure, harder to duplicate,” Aker said.

Three new security features have been added to make the nation’smost counterfeited bill harder to copy.

The most noticeable difference in the new design is the subtleintroduction of a peach background color, which makes it moreburdensome for potential counterfeiters because it adds complexityto the note. The color will also make it easier to distinguishbetween denominations because different background colors will beused for each denomination, according to the TreasuryDepartment.

The number 20 in the lower righthand corner of the bill isprinted in color-shifting ink that changes from copper to greendepending on the light.

The security thread introduced when the bill was last redesignedin 1998 remains, but the words “USA TWENTY” have been added toit.

“(Counterfeiters) can’t actually duplicate the magnetic tapewoven into the bill,” Rushing said. “They try to make you thinkit’s on there by stamping it onto the bill.”

The third modification is a watermark of the nation’s seventhpresident that can be seen on both sides of the bill.

The issuance of the new $20 note will be followed by a new $50note in 2004 and a new $100 note in 2005. Decisions on new designsfor the $5 and $10 notes are still under consideration, but aredesign of the $2 and $1 notes is not planned, according toTreasury Department.