The (New) Color of Money

The Spectacular New U.S. Grant Fifty Dollar Note

Take an Interactive Tour of the new $10, $20 and $50 bills courtesy of the U.S Bureau of Engraving and Printing (requires Macromedia Flashplayer).

Tour Hints:
Select the “Eyeball” icon for an automatic virtual tour.
Select the “Lightbulb” icon to see the bill backlight and view the watermarks.
Select the “Magnifier” icon to examine the bill up close.
Select the “Arrow” icon to flip the bill over.

I think this new U.S Grant / U.S Flag fifty is a phenomenal piece of currency art and strongly suspect this bill will become a classic, much collected in years to come. And since these bills are changing in design every few years now in an effort (in vain) to keep ahead of counterfeiters, now is the time to grab a few of these bills in mint, uncirculated condition and pass them along to your heirs. Or to me. Whichever.

13 thoughts on “The (New) Color of Money”

  1. With Berghoff’s closing I’ve nowhere to spend my new $50, so who cares what it looks like. Go Maroons!

  2. I agree. How about real gold plating? But it looks like a yet another new dollar coin is on the way. And as this article points out, the more the public likes and collects the currency, the more money the US government makes.

  3. Why have dollar coins been such an issue? A pound coin is worth around $1.73 and we’ve been using that since before I was born.

    How long does paper money have left anyway? Electronic transfer is the future (along with the paperless office which really is coming!).

  4. Mark, I take it you do not live in the USA. One problem with the dollar coin is that it is easily confused with the 25-cent piece. A bunch of dollar bills can be carried more easily and discretely than can a pocket full of jangling coins. And dollar bills, which are highly useful for tipping and small purchases, can be carried casually in shirt and jacket pockets where coins would be inconvenient. Nonetheless the Treasury remains intent, despite repeated failures, to keep introducing new varieties of doomed dollar coins.

  5. Jon, I think a successful dollar coin would be small and light, say the size of nickel but thin like a dime. There’s no reason for it to be large, heavy and unwieldy. That’s what makes it unpopular.

    If it’s really necessary to make the coin completely unique, they can take a cue from the toony and make a bimetallic coin.

  6. Mike, I have no objection to it. However, I don’t think it will be widely used as long as they keep making it the same approximate size as the quarter.

    One thing the CNN article you cited points out is that the govt makes seigniorage profits to the extent citizens buy new currency as collectibles and keep it out of circulation. Perhaps this creates an incentive to issue impractical coins. And judging by Congress’s periodic enthusiasm for issuing such coins, collectors are a significant constituency as well.

  7. They should put holes in them so we can where them around our neck with a quick release chain, that would solve the pocket full of clinking coins. And just think of the rap video possibilities.

  8. 1. Good catch, Mr. Den Beste! Of all the departments of government, one would not necessarily assume that the Bureau of Engraving and Printing would reveal a sense of humor.

    2. I also agree with the post — true, nothing matches the $2 bill, which is beautiful on obverse and reverse (especially reverse), but it is still an impressive bit of work.

    3. I respectfully submit that there is nothing wrong with the size of the dollar coin. It is unpopular because we have no pulled $1 bills from circulation and refitted vending machines. And we don’t pull the $1 bills because that would require that we refit vending machines. Until that happens, the dollar bill is far more useful than the dollar coins. It is a chicken/egg problem of the worst sort.

  9. Excellent point Jonathan. I would also add that dollar bills are also more appropriate than coins for certain forms of tipping =D

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