Get a brief overview of U.S. currency, including the denominations and series in circulation, as well as the design process.
A recent change has occurred in the production process of Federal Reserve notes. In order to increase efficiency, the Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing is using equipment that allows Federal Reserve notes to be printed on larger sheets of paper.
Sonja Danburg, program manager for U.S. Currency Education at the Federal Reserve Board, talks about what you should do if you think you have received a counterfeit note.
In order to finance the Civil War, Congress authorizes the U.S. Department of the Treasury to issue non-interest-bearing Demand Notes. These notes earn the nickname “greenbacks” because of their color. All U.S. currency issued since 1861 remains valid and redeemable at full face value.
Congress authorizes a new class of currency, known as “United States notes,” or “Legal Tender notes.” These notes are characterized by a red seal and serial number. They continue to circulate until 1971.
By 1862, the Demand Notes incorporate fine-line engraving, intricate geometric lathe work patterns, a U.S. Department of the Treasury seal, and engraved signatures to aid in counterfeit deterrence. To this day, U.S. currency continues to add features to deter counterfeiting.
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing begins engraving and printing the faces and seals of U.S. banknotes. Before this, U.S. banknotes were produced by private banknote companies and then sent to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing for sealing, trimming, and cutting.