- The Washington Times - Monday, December 2, 2002

ASSOCIATED PRESS
The last time Andrew Jackson got a makeover, he ended up with a big head, slightly off-center. This time, he will get a little color.
The most noticeable features of the last redesign of U.S. currency the oversized, off-center portraits produced all kinds of derisive nicknames: funny money, Monopoly money, cartoon money.
Color is coming, and government moneymakers are hoping for a warmer reception for the changes. The new $20, with its public introduction set for spring, is supposed to be in circulation as early as next fall. An important goal is to help distinguish between genuine greenbacks and counterfeit bills.
Jackson is first in line for a makeover. After the new $20 makes its debut, the new $50 (Ulysses S. Grant) and the $100 (Benjamin Franklin) will follow within 18 months.
In the works is a five-year effort, costing up to $53 million, to educate people about the changes.
"If we learned anything from the issuance of the $20 in 1998, it is that things that we get used to here, because we see it and work on it, when it is first in the hands of the public it is seen as dramatic," said Thomas Ferguson, director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. "Suddenly we are asking them to accept something else."
Portrait engraver Thomas Hipschen, who is working on the redesign, remembers spending countless hours during the last makeover meticulously cutting into steel by hand the portraits of Jackson, Franklin and Grant for the new bills.
Relieved at first when the work was done, he then worried about the public reaction.
"You worry about what the press is going to do," he said. "I have an old clipping file about all the horrible things they said about the portraits that I engraved. Some fun things, too."
Everyone is a critic.
"Well, you are not going to please everybody. This is a situation where everybody is going to weigh in on it," Mr. Hipschen said. "You really have to have a thick skin, I think. But I don't really take it to heart that much. When my artist friends come back and say, 'What were you thinking?' that kind of hurts to the quick. But the general population, they are going to get on the bandwagon, one way or the other, and I'm just going to have to live with it."
To give the new bills color, the bureau has had to buy five printing presses, to operate in Washington and at a bureau facility in Fort Worth, Texas. To run the presses, Mr. Ferguson said, some workers are being retrained, and some more people have been hired. The Fort Worth plant is being expanded, providing room for the new presses and public tours, he said.
Adding color to the notes is a challenge.
"It is new, and anything that is new provides another opportunity to do well or not," Mr. Ferguson said. "There can be color variations that we wouldn't get with a single-color ink, like when we use black or green. So there are additional inspection requirements."
The current green and black inks are used on neutral-color paper. With the makeover, color tints will be added in the neutral areas of the note.
Recent changes in money design have been driven by the desire to thwart high-tech counterfeiters. Over the years, counterfeiters have graduated from offset printing to increasingly sophisticated color copiers, computer scanners, color ink-jet printers and publishing-grade software.
Some anti-counterfeiting features included in the last redesign will be retained, the bureau said. They include watermarks that are visible when held up to a light; embedded security threads that glow colorfully when exposed to ultraviolet light; and minute images visible with a magnifying glass, known as microprinting.


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