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Design Features for Series 2004 Issued Currency

In 2004, the United States began issuing currency with a new multi-color design and additional security features. These elements were incorporated to increase the complexity of U.S. currency and attempt to thwart counterfeiting. Pre-existing security features such as the security thread, microprinting, watermark, and optically-variable ink are included in the new notes and have only changed slightly.


The New Design
The 2004 style of U.S. currency has the same historical figures and national symbols as the older series notes, in addition to having the same size and texture of the older bills. However, there are several new features that are unique to the 2004 style notes:

  • A new offset-printed multi-colored background
  • A slightly off-center borderless portrait
  • An iconic symbol to the right of the portait printed in metallic pigmented ink
  • A new color-shift in the optically variable ink (OVI), from Copper to Green, when looking at the number in the lower right-hand corner of the bill when viewed from different angles
  • The security thread is identical except for the $50 bill where it is 50% wider and in a slightly different position.
  • Microprinting appears in different areas on each of the denominations.


Although all denominations of currency beginning with series 1996 have security features, the number of features will vary according to the note's denomination and series.

Design Features for Series 2004 Issued Currency

Paper (Series 2004)
As with prior Series currency, the distinctive red and blue fibers are present, beneath the colored ink in the background. As with 1996 style currency, each denomination bears a watermark depicting the same historical figure as the portrait, positioned to the right of the portrait beneath the multi-colored ink. In the $10 bill, a hole in the multi-colored background permits easier viewing of the red and blue security fibers and the watermark.

If you doubt that a bill is genuine, ask the United States Secret Service, your bank or your local police department.

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