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F ed er a l R e se r v e B ank


D ecem ber 22, 1995


Notice 95-122


T he C hief O perating Officer of
each financial institution in the
E leventh F ed eral R eserve District

Information Kit on Redesigned Currency
A n inform ation kit on the redesigned currency th at will b e introduced in early
1996 is now available. T he kit contains a poster, brochure, and other m aterials that
explain the new security features of the redesigned currency.
Enclosed is the inform ation kit on the redesigned currency.
F o r additional kits, please contact B renda C raine at (214) 922-5254. D ue to
a lim ited supply, orders m ust n o t exceed 10 kits p e r financial institution.

F or additional copies, bankers and others are encouraged to use one of the following toll-free num bers in contacting the Federal
Reserve Bank of Dallas: Dallas Office (800) 333 -4460; El Paso Branch Intrastate (800) 592-1631, Interstate (800) 351-1012; H ouston
Branch Intrastate (800) 392-4162, Interstate (800) 221-0363; San A ntonio Branch Intrastate (800) 292-5810.

This publication was digitized and made available by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas' Historical Library (

Beginning with the
$100 note in 1996,
the United States of
America is issuing
currency with new
and enhanced security
features. These
features will help
protect U.S. currency
from advancing
technologies which
could be used for
There will be no
recall or devaluation of
any U.S. currency. As
old notes reach the
Federal Reserve, they
will be replaced by the
redesigned currency.
Whether old or new, all
U.S. currency always
will be honored at full
face value.

Security Thread
A polymer thread is embedded vertically
in the paper and indicates, by its unique
position, the note's denomination. The words
"USA 100"on the thread can be seen from
both sides of the note when held up to a
bright light. Additionally, the thread glows
red when held under an ultraviolet light.

The enlarged portrait of Benjamin
Franklin is easier to recognize,
while the added detail is harder to
duplicate. The portrait is now offcenter, providing room for a
watermark and reducing wear and

A watermark depicting
Benjamin Franklin is visible
from both sides when held
up to a light.

Federal Reserve
A new universal seal
represents the entire Federal
Reserve System. A letter and
number beneath the left serial
number identifies the issuing
Federal Reserve Bank.

Because they're so small,
microprinted words are
hard to replicate. On the
front of the note, “ USA
100" is within the number
in the lower left corner
and "United States of
America" is on Benjamin
Franklin's coat.

The use of color reproduction was
authorized by the Secretary of the
Treasury. Color reprints are prohibited.

Color-Shifting Ink
Concentric Fine Lines
The fine lines printed behind both
Benjamin Franklin's portrait and
Independence Hall are difficult to

The number in the lower
right corner on the front of
the note looks green when
viewed straight on, but
appears black when viewed
at an angle.

Serial Numbers
An additional letter is
added to the serial
number. The unique
combination of eleven
numbers and letters
appears twice on the
front of the note.

Additional copies of the brochure, YOUR MONEY MATTERS, the 17" x 22" full-color folded
poster, and the 8 - 1/ 2 " x 1 1 " full-color flat poster are available for training, educational, and con­
sumer information purposes in reasonable quantities at no charge.
B rochures:

Available in packets of 100. (For quantities of less than 100, please contact
your local Federal Reserve Bank.)


17" x 22" full-color folded. Available in packets of 10.
8-1/2" x 11" full-color flat. Available in packets of 10.

To order your materials, please fill out all of the information below and mail or fax to:
Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
P.O. Box 419442
Kansas City, MO 64141-6442
Fax Number: (816) 881-6850
Contact N am e________________________________ Title __________________________________
Institution___________________________________________________________________ _
Asset Size (if applicable) __________________ Number of Offices (if applicable)_____________
Phone (___ ) ________________________________ Fax (___ ) _____________________________
Please send the following:
_____ packets of


brochures, for a total o f ____ brochures.

_____ packets of 10 folded 17" x 22" full-color posters, for a total o f _______ posters.
_____ packets of


flat 8 - 1 / 2 " x


full-color posters, for a total o f _______ posters.

Please type or print.
Name______________________________________________________________ __ ______________
Institution________________________________________________________ __________________
Mailing Address
C ity __________




Introduction of the Series 1996 Currency
There will be no recall or devaluation of U.S. currency already in circulation. The United States
always honors its currency at full face value, no matter how old. The new Series 1996 $100 notes,
the first in the series, will be introduced in the early part of 1996. Within about a year, lower de­
nominations will be issued in order of decreasing value. The new Federal Reserve notes will be
phased into circulation, replacing older ones as they reach the banking system. This multi-year
introduction of the new series is necessary because of the time-intensive processes involved in
engraving and producing the new designs. Sufficient inventory will be produced to ensure world­
wide availability of new notes.
In conjunction with the Federal Reserve, the Treasury Department is conducting a worldwide public
education campaign with two primary objectives: ( 1 ) communicate to the general public that there
will be no recall or devaluation; and (2 ) provide information that will enable the public, law
enforcement personnel, central banks, depository financial institutions and other cash handlers to
authenticate the new series.

History of the New Series
Until the late 1920s, U.S. currency was redesigned frequently. There also were several types of notes
in circulation: United States Notes, National Bank Notes and Silver Certificates. Since the introduc­
tion of the Series 1928 Federal Reserve Notes, changes in the design, including the use of microprinting
and a security thread in Series 1990, have not affected the overall architecture of U.S. currency.
The counterfeit-deterrent features added in Series 1990 were the first step in responding to advances
in reprographic technologies. Although these features have proved effective and will be retained,
additional measures are necessary to protect against future threats posed by continued improvements
in copy machines, scanners and printing. The new design, beginning with Series 1996, is the culmi­
nation of a five-year study aimed at staying ahead of the counterfeiting threat and is part of a con­
tinuing process to protect U.S. currency.
The process began with the New Currency Design Task Force, which comprised representatives of
the U.S. Treasury Department, Federal Reserve System, U.S. Secret Service and the Bureau of
Engraving and Printing (BEP). The Task Force made its recommendations to the Advanced Currency
Deterrence Steering Committee, also composed of representatives of the Treasury Department,
Federal Reserve, Secret Service and BEP. Based on a comprehensive study by the National Academy

of Sciences, the Steering Committee then made recommendations for the new design and security
features to the Secretary of the Treasury, who has statutory authority to approve such changes.
More than 120 security features were examined and tested, including those submitted in response to
a BEP solicitation, those used in other currencies, and those suggested by the NAS. Evaluation
criteria included impact on security, proven reliability, ability to be manufactured in large quantities,
and durability over time. Among the features evaluated were holograms, color shifting films,
thread variations, color patterns, and machine-readable enhancements. The strategy of the Design
Task Force was to incorporate as many features as are justifiable. The features ultimately selected
have proved successful in other countries as well as in test environments at BEP and the Federal
Reserve. The Design Task Force will continue to seek and test new security features as technology
further evolves.

The New Design
The new currency is the same size, color and feel as the old notes, with the same historical figures
and national symbols. “In God We Trust” and the legal tender wording also will remain on the new
bills. This continuity will facilitate public education and universal recognition of the design as
genuine U.S. currency— an important consideration since there will be dual circulation of the old and
new currencies around the world. Among the new security features:

A larger, slightly off-center portrait is the most noticeable visual change. The larger portrait
incorporates more detail, making it easier to recognize and more difficult to counterfeit. Mov­
ing the portrait away from the center, the area of highest wear, will reduce wear on the portrait.


Shifting the portrait off center provides room for a watermark, making it harder for counterfeit­
ers to print. The watermarks will depict the same historical figures as the engraved portrait.


Serial numbers on the new currency will differ slightly from old currency. The new serial num­
bers will consist of two prefix letters, eight numerals, and a one-letter suffix. The first letter of
the prefix will designate the series (for example, Series 1996 will be designated by the letter A).
The second letter of the prefix will designate the Federal Reserve Bank to which the note was
issued. In addition, a universal Federal Reserve seal will be used, rather than individual seals
for each Reserve Bank.


The use of a unique thread position for each denomination will guard against counterfeiting.


Color shifting ink changes from green to black when viewed from different angles. This feature
is used in the numeral in the lower right-hand comer.


The numeral in the lower left-hand comer incorporates microprinting, a printing technique using
lettering that can be read with a low-powered magnifier. Extremely small print (“USA 100” on
the $ 1 0 0 bill) appears as a thin line to the naked eye and yields a blurred image when copied.
On the $100 bill, similar microprinting also is used on Benjamin Franklin’s coat.


The background of the Franklin portrait on the $100 note incorporates the technique of concen­
tric fine-line printing, as will the background of the picture of Independence Hall on the reverse
side. This type of fine line printing is difficult to resolve properly on scanning equipment and to
replicate accurately by other means of printing.

Although all denominations of currency will have security features, the number of features will vary
according to denomination. The $100 note will have a full package of features, while the $1 note will
have fewer and less sophisticated features. The basic appearance of all denominations will not vary.

The total cost of developing the new design was approximately $765,000. Included in this cost was
funding for National Academy of Sciences studies— $265,376. Another $500,000 was spent to
purchase test quantities of features and carry out internal evaluations. Current notes cost 3.7 cents
each, and BEP produces about nine billion notes each year. Security enhancements will increase the
cost by a fraction of a cent. The Federal Reserve System is funding the development and introduc­
tion of the new currency through earnings the Federal Reserve receives primarily from interest on its
holdings of U.S. government securities.


Technical Background
Security Features
The Departm ent of the Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) is responsible for
producing the new series currency. The Federal Reserve System will introduce the new currency
beginning with the Series 1996 $100 notes. The new features— including enlarged off-center
portrait, watermark, concentric fine-line patterns and color-shifting ink— were selected after
extensive testing and evaluation of approxim ately 1 2 0 bank note security devices, many of
which are used successfully by other countries with lower production and circulation demands.
Other pre-existing security features such as the security thread and microprinting are included in the
new notes and have changed only slightly.

Evaluation Criteria

Counterfeit deterrent effectiveness was tested by reprographic
equipment manufacturers and government scientists. They also
considered the ease of public and cash handler recognition.

D urability

Durability was tested rigorously. Tests included crumpling,
folding, laundering, soiling and soaking in a variety of solvents
such as gasoline, acids and laundry products.


The total cost was $765,000: $265,376 to fund National
Academy of Sciences studies, and approximately $500,000 to
purchase test quantities of features and carry out internal BEP

Production Costs

Research and production expenses will increase the cost of each
note by a fraction of a cent. The Federal Reserve is funding the
development and introduction of the new currency through
earnings the Federal Reserve receives primarily from interest on
its holdings of U.S. government securities.

A ppearance

The currency still looks very American. The size of the notes,
basic colors, historical figures and national symbols are not
changing. New features were evaluated for their compatibility
with the traditional design of United States currency.

The New Features

A watermark may be formed by varying paper density in a small
area during the papermaking process. The image is visible as
darker and lighter areas when held up to the light. The
watermark does not copy on color copiers, thereby making it an
easy way to verify the note and making it harder to use lower
denomination paper to print counterfeit higher denominations.
It depicts the same historical figure as the engraved portrait.

Color-Shifting Inks

These inks change color when the note is viewed from different
angles. The ink appears green when viewed directly and
changes to black when the note is tilted.

Concentric Fine-Line

This type of line structure appears normal to the human eye but
is difficult for current scanning equipment to resolve properly.

Enlarged Off-Center

A larger portrait can incorporate more detail, making it easier to
recognize and more difficult to counterfeit. It also provides an
easy way for the public to distinguish the new design from the
old. The portrait is shifted off center to provide room for a
watermark and unique “lanes” for the security thread in each
denomination. The slight relocation also reduces wear on most
of the portrait by removing it from the center, which is
frequently folded. The increased size is a help to people with
visual impairments.

Pre-Existing Security Features
Security Thread

A security thread is a thin thread or ribbon running through a
bank note substrate. It is a versatile feature, with many types
currently available, including microprinted, metallic, magnetic,
windowed and embedded. The thread in the new notes glows
red when held under an ultraviolet light. This characteristic
makes it difficult to copy with a color copier that uses reflected
light to generate an image. Using a unique thread position for
each denomination starting with the new $ 1 0 0 note guards
against certain counterfeit techniques, such as bleaching ink off
a lower denomination and using the paper to “reprint” the bill as
a higher value note. The unique position also can be used by
currency-accepting equipment to determine the value of the note,
especially if the threads are machine-detectable.


This print appears as a thin line to the naked eye, but the
lettering easily can be read using a low-power magnifier. The
resolution of most current copiers is not sufficient to copy such
fine print. On the newly designed $100 bills, microprinting appears
in the lower left comer and on Benjamin Franklin’s coat.

Advanced Copier and Printer Technology
Advanced reprographic technology improved dramatically during the 1990s. The technology is
expected to continue to improve into the next century. Some types of equipment are capable of
accurately reproducing the colors and fine-line detail of security documents and are seen as a threat
to currency.
Market surveys indicate that as quality, affordability, and availability increase, advanced equipment
will become the standard in offices, copy centers and printing facilities. The color copier/printer of
the ’90s has been compared with the color television of the ’70s, when color became the standard,
rather than the exception.
O f the new technologies, advanced copiers, printers, electronic digital scanners, color workstations
and computer software can present threats to currency. During the early ’90s, the new technologies
used in advanced copiers and printers merged and interfaced with each other. This equipment does
not require extensive expertise to operate and is becoming widely accessible through copy centers
and corporate offices.
Advanced Full-Color Copiers
Advanced full-color copiers have evolved into a digital electrophotographic process utilizing digital
scanners and computer technology to produce high quality plain paper copies. Some of these copiers
interface with personal computers. The scanner portion of the copier can be used to scan an image
into the computer or as the computer’s output device. In time, the high-end digital copiers may well
be able to reproduce much of the fine detail of currency.
Digital Scanners
Scanner equipment electronically scans an image or text from an original document and digitizes it
into a computer-readable form. Through the use of computer graphics software, the image may be
displayed on a screen and changed or combined with other images. The edited image then can be
stored in an electronic format, printed on a color output device or used to make offset or gravure
printing plates.
Scanner equipment is no longer confined to large printing, graphic design or advertising firms. Lowand medium-quality scanners are readily available to the individual. High-quality scanners are
readily available in copy centers and corporate offices. The scanners incorporated in some advanced
color copiers can interface with personal computers and graphics programs.

Advanced color copiers and printing equipment using this technology can be a security threat
because of the flexible editing capabilities and fine-detail reproductions. As the price of this
technology continues to drop, the availability of high quality scanners will increase.

Color Ink Jet Copiers and Printers
Color in k je t copiers utilize scanner technology to digitize an image, which is then reproduced
using inkjet printer technology. These machines, which are capable of producing good quality
reproductions on plain paper, are widely available and inexpensive. Some of these in k jet copier
machines can interface with personal computers and graphics software. The machines then can be
used to scan an image into the computer or to output an image.
Personal Computers and Graphics Software
Personal computers and graphics software combine the latest personal computer, graphics software,
printer/copier, video and scanner technologies. The images can be stored indefinitely, copied
electronically or transmitted to another location for printing. Output quality depends on the scanner
and printer dpi resolution capabilities. Printer resolution is of greater importance because scanner
input can be edited to enhance image quality. As the price of personal computer technology
continues to drop, the availability and use of this technology to counterfeit currency and other
security documents will increase.

United States Currency Security Features

Security Thread
and Microprinting

Reactions to the New U.S. Currency: Analysis o f Focus Group
Discussions, November 3, 1986. Market Facts Inc., funded by
the Federal Reserve Board.
To determine public reaction to currency with security thread
and microprinting. Focus group participants were satisfied with
their currency but would accept the addition of a security
thread and m icroprinting for well-com m unicated counterfeit
deterrent reasons.

Counterfeit Threat

Advanced Reprographic Systems: Counterfeiting Threat
Assessment and Deterrent Measures, June, 1986. National
Academy of Sciences, funded by the Bureau of Engraving
and Printing.
To assess counterfeit threats from specific advanced
reprographic equipment and recommend counterfeit deterrents.
Confirmed threat and recommended action. For near term,
suggested combination of conventional deterrent devices,
including a security thread.
Counterfeit Deterrent Features fo r the Next-Generation
Currency Design, December, 1993. National Research Council,
funded by the Department of the Treasury.
To analyze and recommend overt counterfeit deterrent features
that could be incorporated into a redesign of U.S. bank notes.
Beginning in 1996, U.S. paper currency will be redesigned to
incorporate anti-counterfeiting features. Features recommended
included color-shifting ink, a watermark, microprinting, a
security thread and other features that are difficult to copy.

Visual Deterrents

Currency Features fo r Visually Impaired People, 1995.
National Research Council, funded by the Bureau of
Engraving and Printing.
To analyze and recommend overt counterfeit deterrence features
that could be incorporated into a redesign of U.S. currency for
use by the visually impaired. Recommended long-range
systematic planning as a regular part of the mission within the
Department of the Treasury.

Design Change

Reactions to U.S. Currency Redesign: Analysis o f Focus Group
Discussion, September 21, 1983. Market Facts Inc., funded by
the Federal Reserve Board.
To obtain further data on public opinion regarding currency
design. Found the public willing to accept design changes for
counterfeit protection.

Advanced Imaging

The Impact o f Emerging Imaging Technologies on Counterfeiting
o f U.S. Currency, August 16, 1983. Batelle Columbus
Laboratory, funded by Federal Reserve Board.
To evaluate counterfeit threat from advanced copier and printer
technology. Found question to be not whether color copies will
present a threat but when.

U.S. Currency Acceptance

Final Report: Stage Two, Public Acceptance o f Proposed
Changes in U.S. Currency Project, February 23, 1981.
University of Michigan Graduate School of Business, Division
of Research, funded by the Federal Reserve Board.
To determine public opinion on currency redesign. Found the
public satisfied with currency design but supportive of a design
change to deter counterfeiting.


Department of the Treasury
Bureau of Engraving and Printing:
The U.S. Government’s Security Printer

Since October 1, 1877, all United States currency has been printed by the Bureau of Engraving
and Printing, which began as a six-person operation using steam-powered presses in the
Department of the Treasury’s basement.


Now 2,500 Bureau employees occupy 25 acres of floor space in two Washington, D.C. buildings
flanking 14th Street. Currency and stamps are designed, engraved, and printed 24 hours a day
on 30 high-speed presses. An additional 500 Bureau employees are at the Western Currency
Facility in Fort Worth, Texas, where currency is printed 16 hours a day, 5 days a week on 10
high-speed presses.


In 1995, at a cost of 3.7 cents each, over 9 billion notes worth approximately $129 billion are
being produced for circulation by the Federal Reserve System. Ninety-five percent will replace
unfit notes and five percent will support economic growth. At any one time, $200 million in
notes may be in production.


O f total production, notes currently produced are the $1 (45 percent of production time), $5 and
$10 (12 percent each), $20 (26 percent), $50 (2 percent), and $100 (3 percent).


The Bureau also prints White House invitations and some 500 engraved items, such as visa
counterfoils, naturalization documents, commissions, and certificates for almost 75 federal
departments and agencies.


The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is one of the most popular tourist stops in Washington—
over 700,000 visit the printing facility each year.


Free 20-minute guided tours are offered Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., except for
federal holidays and the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Tours start on Raoul
Wallenberg Place (formerly 15th Street). During the summer months (June-August), afternoon
tours are given from 4 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.


Visitors can see press runs of 32-note currency sheets, examiners overseeing production to
ensure high-quality notes, the application of Federal Reserve and Treasury seals, and 4,000 note
“bricks” being readied for distribution to Federal Reserve Banks.


In late 1995, the Bureau will offer tours of postage stamp production.

Visitors Center

At the Visitors Center, history, production, and counterfeit exhibits showcase interesting
information about United States currency.


Many unique items can be purchased at the sales counter. Items include uncut currency sheets
of 32, 16, or 4 $1 notes; $150 worth of shredded currency in plastic bags that are sold for $1;
engraved collectors’ prints; souvenir cards; and Department of the Interior Duck Stamps.

Mail Order Sales

Persons wishing to receive notice of new Bureau products or to order by mail can write: Mail
Order Sales, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, 14th and C Streets, S.W., Room 513-M,
Washington, D.C. 20228. Credit card purchases of Bureau products are available by calling
(202) 874-3316, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.


The History of Paper Money
In the early days of this nation, before and just after the American Revolution, Americans used
English, Spanish, and French currencies.
Colonial Notes

The Massachusetts Bay Colony issued the first paper money in
the colonies which would later form the United States.

Continental Currency

Nation’s First Bank

The Dollar

First U.S. Bank

Monetary System

Second U.S. Bank
State Bank Notes

American colonists issued paper currency for the Continental
Congress to finance the Revolutionary War. The notes were
backed by the “anticipation” of tax revenues. Without solid
backing and easily counterfeited, the notes quickly became
devalued, giving rise to the phrase “not worth a Continental.”
The Continental Congress chartered the Bank of North America
in Philadelphia as the nation’s first “real” bank to give further
support to the Revolutionary War.
The Continental Congress adopted the dollar as the unit for
national currency. At that time, private bank note companies
printed a variety of notes.
After adoption of the Constitution in 1789, Congress chartered
the First Bank of the United States until 1811 and authorized it to
issue paper bank notes to eliminate confusion and simplify trade.
The bank served as the U.S. Treasury’s fiscal agent, thus
performing the first central bank functions.
The federal monetary system was established with the creation of
the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. The first American coins were
struck in 1793.
The Second Bank of the United States was chartered for 20 years
until 1836.
With minimum regulation, a proliferation of 1,600 statechartered, private banks issued paper money. State bank notes,
with over 30,000 varieties of color and design, were easily
counterfeited. That, along with bank failures, caused confusion
and circulation problems.

Civil War

On the brink of bankruptcy and pressed to finance the Civil War,
Congress authorized the United States Treasury to issue paper
money for the first time in the form of non-interest bearing
Treasury Notes called Demand Notes.


Demand Notes were replaced by United States Notes.
Commonly called “greenbacks,” they were last issued in 1971.
The Secretary of the Treasury was empowered by Congress to
have notes engraved and printed by private bank note companies.
The notes were signed and affixed with seals by six Treasury
Department employees.

The Design

The design of U.S. currency incorporated a Treasury seal, the
fine-line engraving necessary for the difficult-to-counterfeit
intaglio printing, intricate geometric lathe work patterns, and
distinctive cotton and linen paper with embedded red and blue

Gold Certificates

Gold Certificates were issued by the Department of the Treasury
against gold coin and bullion deposits and were circulated until

Secret Service

The Department of the Treasury established the United States
Secret Service to control counterfeiting. At that time, counterfeits
were estimated to be one-third of all circulating currency.

National Bank Notes

National Bank Notes, backed by U.S. government securities,
became predominant. By this time, 75 percent of bank deposits
were held by nationally-chartered banks. As State Bank Notes
were replaced, the value of currency stabilized for a time.

Bureau of Engraving
and Printing

The Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and
Printing started printing all U.S. currency.

Silver Certificates

The Department of the Treasury was authorized to issue Silver
Certificates in exchange for silver dollars. The last issue was in
the Series 1957.

Federal Reserve Act

A fter the 1893 and 1907 financial panics, the Federal Reserve
Act of 1913 was passed. It created the Federal Reserve
System as the nation’s central bank to regulate the flow of
money and credit for economic stability and growth. The
System was authorized to issue Federal Reserve Notes, now
the only U.S. currency produced and representing 99 percent
of all currency in circulation.

Standardized Design

Currency was reduced in size by 25 percent and standardized
with uniform portraits on the front and emblems and monuments
on the back.

In God We Trust

Paper currency was first issued with “In God We Trust" in 1957.
The inscription appears on all currency Series 1963 and later.

Security Thread and

A security thread and microprinting were introduced to deter
counterfeiting by advanced copiers and printers. The features
first appeared in Series 1990 $100 and $50 notes. By Series
1993, the features appeared in all denominations except $1 notes.

Currency Redesign

The Secretary of the Treasury announced that U.S. currency
would be redesigned to incorporate a new series of counterfeit
deterrents. The new notes will be issued in 1996.

The U.S. Secret Service and Counterfeiting
The United States issued its first national currency notes in 1861.
By the end of the Civil War, one-third of all U.S. paper currency in circulation was counterfeit.
On July 5, 1865, the Secret Service was created within the U.S. Department of the Treasury with
the sole mission of suppressing counterfeit currency. In less than a decade, counterfeiting was
sharply reduced.
To stem counterfeiting, the Secret Service works in conjunction with local, state, federal and foreign
law enforcement agencies.
The Secret Service also maintains close working relationships with the Federal Reserve Banks and
domestic as well as international commercial banking institutions.
Thanks to such cooperation, approximately 90 percent of all known counterfeit U.S. currency is
seized before it reaches the public.
The most passed counterfeit denomination is the $20 note, followed, respectively, by the $100
note, the $10 note, the $50 note, the $5 note, and the $1 note. The $100 note is the most common
foreign-produced counterfeit note.
To aid in counterfeit investigations, agents use the Service’s modem, well-equipped Forensic
Services Laboratory that includes:

A complete library of specimen notes dating back to 1865;
The largest watermark file in existence;
The largest ink library in existence;
Equipment to examine and analyze notes counterfeited by various types of printing
methods as well as by office machine copiers.

In 1994, the disposition of prosecuted arrests showed a 99.5 percent conviction rate.
For further information, please contact:
United States Secret Service
Office of Government Liaison and Public Affairs
1800 G Street, N.W., Room 805
Washington, D.C. 20223
Phone 202/435-5708










The Federal Reserve:
Central Bank of the United States
Federal Reserve System

The Federal Reserve System was created by the Federal Reserve
Act, which was passed by Congress in 1913, to provide a safer
and more flexible banking and monetary system. For
approximately 100 years before the creation of the Federal
Reserve, periodic financial panics had led to failures of a large
number of banks, with associated business bankruptcies and
general economic contractions. Following the studies of the
National Monetary Commission, established by Congress a year
after the particularly severe panic of 1907, several proposals were
put forward for the creation of an institution designed to counter
such financial disruptions. Following considerable debate, the
Federal Reserve System was established. Its original purposes
were to give the country an elastic currency, provide facilities for
discounting commercial credits, and improve the supervision of
the banking system.

Economic Stability
and Growth

From the inception of the Federal Reserve System, it was clear
that these original purposes were aspects of broader national
economic and financial objectives. Over the years, stability and
growth of the economy, a high level of employment, stability in
the purchasing power of the dollar, and a reasonable balance in
transactions with foreign countries have come to be recognized as
primary objectives of governmental economic policy.

Currency Circulation

An important function of the Federal Reserve System is to ensure
that the economy has enough currency and coin to meet the
public’s demand. Currency and coin are put into or retired from
circulation by the Federal Reserve Banks, which use depository
institutions as the channel of distribution. When banks and other
depository institutions need to replenish their supply of currency
and coin— for example, when the public’s need for cash increases
around holiday shopping periods— depository institutions order
the cash from the Federal Reserve Bank or Branch in their area,
and the face value of that cash is charged to their accounts at the
Federal Reserve. When the public’s need for currency and coin
declines, depository institutions return excess cash to a Federal
Reserve Bank, which in turn credits their accounts.

Unfit and Counterfeit

The Federal Reserve Banks and the U.S. Department of the Treasury
share responsibility for maintaining the physical quality of United
States paper currency in circulation. Each day, millions of dollars of
deposits to Reserve Banks by depository institutions are carefully
scrutinized. The Reserve Banks are responsible for receiving,
verifying, authenticating, and storing currency and shipping it as
needed. Currency in good condition is stored for later distribution.
Worn or mutilated notes are removed from circulation and destroyed.
Counterfeit notes are forwarded to the U.S. Secret Service, an
agency of the Treasury Department.

Federal Reserve

Virtually all currency in circulation is in the form of Federal Reserve
Notes, which are printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing of
the U.S. Treasury. The Reserve Banks are currently authorized to
issue notes in denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100.
Coins are produced by the Treasury’s United States Mint.

Cash Transfers

Currency and coin are used primarily for small transactions. In the
aggregate, such transactions probably account for only a small
proportion of the value of all transfers of funds.

Map of the Federal Reserve System

L egend

Federal Reserve Bank city


Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System,
Washington, D.C.

List of Federal Reserve System Locations
B oard o f G overnors o f the Federal Reserve System , W ashington, D.C. 20551

Federal Reserve





600 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02106

Buffalo Branch



33 Liberty Street (Federal Reserve P.O. Station), New York, New York 10045
160 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, New York 14202 (P.O. Box 961, Buffalo, New York 14240-0961)




Ten Independence Mall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106 (P.O. Box 66, Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania 19105)

Cincinnati Branch
Pittsburgh Branch



1455 East Sixth Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44114 (P.O. Box 6387, Cleveland, Ohio 44101)
150 East Fourth Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 (P.O. Box 999, Cincinnati, Ohio 45201-0999)
717 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219 (P.O. Box 867, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230)

Baltimore Branch
Charlotte Branch



701 East Byrd Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219 (P.O. Box 27622, Richmond, Virginia 23261)
502 South Sharp Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201 (P.O. Box 1378, Baltimore, Maryland 21203)
530 Trade Street, Charlotte, North Carolina 28202 (P.O. Box 30248, Charlotte, North Carolina 28230)

Birmingham Branch



Jacksonville Branch
Miami Branch
Nashville Branch


New Orleans Branch


104 Marietta Street, N.W., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-2713
1801 Fifth Avenue, North, Birmingham, Alabama 35203 (P.O. Box 830447, Birmingham, Alabama
800 Water Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32204 (P.O. Box 929, Jacksonville, Florida 32231-0044)
9100 Northwest 36th Street, Miami, Florida 33178 (P.O. Box 520847, Miami, Florida 33152-0847)
301 Eighth Avenue, North, Nashville, Tennessee 37203 (P.O. Box 4407, Nashville, Tennessee
525 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130 (P.O. Box 61630, New Orleans, Louisana


Detroit Branch



230 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60604 (P.O. Box 834, Chicago, Illinois 60690-0834)
160 West Fort Street, Detroit, Michigan 48226 (P.O. Box 1059, Detroit, Michigan 48231)

Little Rock Branch



Louisville Branch


Memphis Branch


411 Locust Street, St. Louis, Missouri 63102 (P.O. Box 442, St. Louis, Missouri 63166)
325 West Capitol Avenue, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201 (P.O. Box 1261, Little Rock, Arkansas
410 South Fifth Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202 (P.O. Box 32710, Louisville, Kentucky
200 North Main Street, Memphis, Tennessee 38103 (P.O. Box 407, Memphis, Tennessee 38101-0407)


250 Marquette Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401-2171 (P.O. Box 291, Minneapolis,
Minnesota 55480-0291)
100 Neill Avenue, Helena, Montana 59601

Helena Branch


Denver Branch
Oklahoma City Branch
Omaha Branch



925 Grand Boulevard, Kansas City, Missouri 64198
1020 16th Street, Denver, Colorado 80202 (Terminal Annex-P.O. Box 5228, Denver, Colorado 80217)
226 Dean A. McGee Avenue (P.O. Box 25129) Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73125
2201 Farnam Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68102 (P.O. Box 3958 Omaha, Nebraska 68103)

El Paso Branch
Houston Branch
San Antonio Branch



2200 North Pearl S treet, Dallas, Texas 75222 (P.O. Box 655906, Dallas, TX 75265-5906)
301 East Main Street, El Paso, Texas 79901 (P.O. Box 100, El Paso, Texas 79999)
1701 San Jacinto Street, Houston, Texas 77002 (P.O. Box 2578, Houston, Texas 77252)
126 East Nueva Street, San Antonio, Texas 78204 (P.O. Box 1471, San Antonio, Texas 78295)

Los Angeles Branch



101 Market Street, San Francisco, California 94105 (P.O. Box 7702, San Francisco, California 94120)
950 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90015 (Terminal Annex-P.O. Box 2077,
Los Angeles, California 90051)
915 Southwest Stark Street, Portland, Oregon 97025 (P.O. Box 3436, Portland Oregon 97208)
120 South State Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111 (P.O. Box 30780, Salt Lake City, Utah 84125)
1015 Second Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98104 (P.O. Box 3567, Seattle, Washington 98124)

Portland Branch
Salt Lake City Branch
Seattle Branch


*Additional offices of these Banks are located at Lewiston, Maine 04240; Windsor Locks, Connecticut 06096; Jericho, New York 11753; East Rutherford, NJ
07073; Utica Oriskany, New York 13424; Columbus, Ohio 43216; Columbia, South Carolina 29210; Charleston, West Virginia 25328; Des Moines, Iowa 50306;
Peoria, Illinois 61607; Indianapolis, Indiana 46206; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201.

Beginning with the
S100 note in 1996,
the United States of
America is issuing
cur-rency with new
and enhanced security
features. These
features will help pro­
tect U.S. currency from
advancing technologies
which could be used for
There will be no
recall or devaluation of
any U.S. currency. As
old notes reach the
Federal Reserve, they
will be replaced by the
redesigned currency.
W hether old or new, all
U.S. currency alw ays
wifi be honored at full
face value.

Security Thread •


A polymer thread is embedded vertically in the
paper and indicates, by its unique position, the


note's denom ination.The words "USA 100"on

The enlarged po rtra it o f Benjamin

Benjamin Franklin is

the thread can be seen from both sides o f the

Franklin isdesier to recognize,

visible from both sides

note when held up to a bright light. Additionally,

w hile the addecldetail is harder to

when held up to a light.

the thread glows red when held under an ultra­
violet light.

duplicate, th e po rtra it is now off-

A waterm ark depicting

center, providing room fo r a
w aterm ark and reducing wear ancT
tear on the portrait.

Federal Reserve
A new universal seal
represents the entire Federal
Reserve System. A letter and
number beneath the le ft serial
number identifies the issuing
Federal Reserve Bank.

Because they're so small,


microprinted words are
hard to replicate. On the
fro n t o f the note, "USA
100" is w ith in the number
in the lower left corner
and "U nited States of

Color-Shifting Ink

America" is on Benjamin

The number in the lower

Franklin's coat.

Concentric Fine Lines
The fin e lines p rin te d be h in d
both Benjamin Franklin's p o rtra it
and Ind epe nde nce H all are
d iffic u lt to re p lica te .

right corner on the fro n t of

Serial Numbers

the note looks green when

An additional letter is

viewed straight on, but

added to the serial

appears black when viewed

number. The unique combi­

at an angle.

nation of eleven numbers
and letters appears twice
on the fro n t o f the note.

The use o f color reproduction
was authorized by the Secretary

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, One Federal Reserve Bank Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63102