WASHINGTON - Cue the hues for the Great Emancipator.
A new $5 bill, with splashes of color surrounding Abraham Lincoln will go into circulation March 13, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the Federal Reserve announced Thursday.
The new bill still will have a portrait of the 16th president on one side and the Lincoln Memorial on the other. But it also will feature purple and gray colors and other high-tech changes designed to make life more difficult for counterfeiters.
Officials said they hoped the vending machine industry will use the next three months to make the adjustments needed so that millions of machines will be able to accept the redesigned $5 bill. That denomination is used heavily in the machines.
'Any business that operates machines that accept $5 bills should contact the machines' manufacturers and ensure they get adjusted to accept the new design,' said Dawn Haley, a spokesman for the bureau.
Rose Pianalto, a Fed official working on the redesign, said that because the bill is used extensively in vending and self-checkout machines, 'encouraging businesses to get those machines updated to accept the new design has been a particular focus for us.'
The changes to the $5 bill are similar to those already made, starting in 2003, to the $10, $20 and $50 bills. In those redesigns, pastel colors were added as part of an effort to stay ahead of counterfeiters and their increasingly sophisticated copying machines.
Originally the $5 bill was not going to be redesigned. But that decision was reversed once counterfeiters began bleaching $5 notes and printing fake $100 bills with the bleached paper to take advantage of the fact that some of the security features were in the same locations on both bills.
To thwart those efforts, the government is changing the $5 watermark from one of Lincoln to two separate watermarks featuring the numeral 5. The $100 bill has a watermark with the image of Benjamin Franklin.