- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 27, 2000

A big Abe Lincoln and Alexander Hamilton new $5 and $10 bills aimed at tripping up high-tech counterfeiters could soon be showing up in cash registers and ATMs.

Banks and other financial institutions on May 24 will begin receiving the first shipments of the new $5 and $10 bills from Federal Reserve banks and branches, Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers said yesterday.

But that doesn't guarantee that consumers will be seeing those redesigned bills then. Consumers may not see the notes for some time, depending on their banks' supply of the older bills, Treasury said in a statement.

The old bills will continued to be accepted and recirculated until they wear out, which usually takes about two years.

The new $5 and $10 bills first made public last year include a number of new features, but it's the bigger and slightly off-center portraits much like what was done to Andrew Jackson on 1998's new $20 that people will notice first.

The bigger portraits of Lincoln and Hamilton the latter was the nation's first Treasury secretary are easier to recognize and their added detail harder to duplicate. Moving them off center makes room for a watermark and reduces wear on the portraits.

Other new features include watermarks that are visible when held up to a light; embedded polymer security threads that glow blue on the new $5 bill and white on the new $10 bill when exposed to an ultraviolet light; and very tiny printing, visible with a magnifying glass.

"The new security features and an informed public who knows how to use them is our best and first line of defense against counterfeiting," Mr. Summers said.

Treasury is working with retailers and others to educate the public about the new $5s and $10s. Efforts outlined by Treasury yesterday include:

• America Online will link the Treasury Department's www.moneyfactory.com Web site to its personal-finance section.

• 7-Eleven will display an information piece on the counter of all its stores nationwide, Ace Hardware stores will offer customers posters and pamphlets developed by Treasury, and Supervalu stores will feature the new notes on paper grocery bags.

Over the years, counterfeiters have graduated from offset printing to sophisticated color copiers, computer scanners, color inkjet printers and publishing-grade software technologies readily available.

The $100 and $50 bills also have received high-tech makeovers to thwart counterfeiters.

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