New $20 Makes Big Debut
|Christina Wilson (left), of the Atlanta Feds Jacksonville branch, hands a redesigned $20 note to cashier Amanda Sulieman at an Orlando-area Winn-Dixie.
Quick name a colorful international celebrity who recently underwent a facelift. No, its not Cher. Its the revamped $20 bill, which is now starring in its own television commercials and making the rounds of game shows, including Wheel of Fortune, and has been mentioned in the monologues of late-night-TV hosts Jay Leno and David Letterman.
All this hoopla is focused on the new look and improved
security features of the redesigned $20. The most noticeable difference in the
new note is the pastel green, peach and blue in the notes
background. New designs for the $50 and $100 notes, to be
introduced in 2004 and 2005, will feature different colors
to make the denominations more easily distinguishable.
A star is born
The official debut of the new $20 was Oct. 9, when the notes were first distributed to commercial banks and when events marking the first purchases with the notes were held in 30 cities across the United States. In the Sixth Federal Reserve District, U.S. government officials and local business and civic leaders participated in transactions at a Kroger grocery store in Atlanta, the Café Du Monde in Jackson Square in New Orleans, a Winn-Dixie grocery store in Orlando, an Ace Hardware store in Tampa, and a Burger King in Miami.
But the most symbolic purchase took place in Nashville, in the gift shop of the Hermitage, the plantation home of Andrew Jackson, whose portrait adorns the $20. The acting cashier was Andrew Jackson VI, the seventh presidents great-great-great grandson, who accepted the note as payment for a bust of his famous ancestor.
These special events and the $20s TV appearances are part of a $33 million broadcast, print and Internet public education campaign that the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) and the Federal Reserve System are conducting to increase awareness about the new currency design. Since the worldwide campaign was launched in May, businesses have ordered more than 37 million items such as brochures, posters, training videos and CD-ROMs to educate their employees about the bills features. In addition, the new money Web site has received more than 2 million visits.
To help smooth the transition to the new notes, the BEP began working with manufacturers of currency-accepting machinery more than a year ago to develop software and other devices so that vending machines and similar equipment accept the new bills.
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