The Biden Administration announced earlier this year plans to accelerate the project to replace President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with a likeness of Harriet Tubman, the abolitionist and former slave. Tubman’s likeness on the $20 will be the first time a woman, much less a woman of color, has been showcased on a U.S. banknote. The decision to replace Jackson on one of the most highly-used American banknotes was made in 2016, during the Obama Administration. During the Trump Administration, that decision was backpedaled. Now, it’s back on track.

A Face Lift for Cash

So when will other American banknotes be getting a face lift of their own? The answer is within the coming decade or so, according to the publication the grio.  

In 2013, the Advanced Counterfeit Deterrence (ADC) Steering Committee, which provides oversight and guidance about security features for U.S. banknotes, and the Obama Administration, released a schedule for the redesign and release of a host of U.S. banknotes. The schedule outlined is as follows: $10 (2026); $5 (2028); $20 (2030); $50 (2032); and $100 (2034).

Foiling Counterfeiting

One of the main reasons that the Treasury Department releases new designs of U.S. bank notes is to discourage counterfeit currency. As technology improves, counterfeiters have an easier time copying paper money. So when new paper bills are designed and issued they have been through a rigorous process to ensure that they are as counterfeit proof as possible. 

While the United States Mint produces U.S. coins, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) creates the paper currency that is distributed into the public arena. “Currency production at the BEP is quite different from its beginnings in 1862, which consisted of a handful of people separating notes with a hand-cranked machine in the basement of the Treasury building.  The production of U.S. currency is not an easy or simple task, but one that involves highly trained and skilled craftspeople, specialized equipment, and a combination of traditional old world printing techniques merged with sophisticated, cutting edge technology.  There are numerous, distinctive steps required in the production process.”

The BEP’s output of currency varies every year, but it’s always sizable. In fiscal year 2022, the BEB’s print order ranges from 6.9 billion banknotes to 9.7 banknotes, which equates to $310,572,800 to $356,179,200. So, as the newly designed banknotes make their way into circulation, it will take some time for older banknotes to be taken out of circulation. And the cycle will begin all over again.

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