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Press Release

Introduction of New U.S. $50 Bill Set for October 27 First to Include Low-Vision Feature

The U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Board has announced the redesigned U.S. $50 bill will be issued on Monday, October 27, 1997.

U.S. Treasurer Mary Ellen Withrow will commemorate the release of the new note at New York City's Rockefeller Center on October 27. She will be joined by officials from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Radio City Music Hall and the Lighthouse Inc., an international vision rehabilitation organization that hosted the June 1997 preview of the new design. Also participating will be descendants of Ulysses S. Grant, whose portrait appears on the U.S. $50 bill. Treasurer Withrow will visit Cincinnati, Chicago, Miami and San Diego in the days following for other launch events.

The Series 1996 U.S. $50 note follows the introduction in March 1996 of the redesigned U.S. $100 note. The redesigned U.S. $20 note will be issued next year. The new series contain important features that provide significant security against counterfeiting, particularly the threat posed by reprographic technologies such as scanners and color copiers. In addition, the reverse of the U.S. $50 bill and smaller denominations in the series will include a large high-contrast numeral that will help millions of people with low vision -- as well as anyone in a low-light situation -- to identify the note.

On October 27, banks and other depository institutions will begin receiving the first shipments of new U.S. $50 notes from Federal Reserve Banks and branches around the United States. They will be available to customers in the days and weeks to follow as banks place and receive their orders for notes. There will be no recall or devaluation of the older-series notes, which will be removed from circulation as they are deposited with the Federal Reserve and replaced with the new series.

Like the U.S. $100 note, the new U.S. $50 note will have a familiar appearance to consumers, since the size, color and historical subject have not changed. It also incorporates several security features that have proved effective against would-be counterfeiters: a watermark; security thread in a unique location; concentric fine-line printing; color-shifting ink; and a larger, off-center portrait that is the most noticeable change in the overall architecture of the note.

These security features are similar to those on the U.S. $100 note, and Treasury expects the smooth transition to the new series currency to continue. The new U.S. $100 bill was well received around the globe and already amounts to nearly half of all U.S. $100 notes in circulation.

Background materials on the new note are available through Treasury's interactive fax by calling (202) 622-2040 (request number 1745 for a currency index) and on Treasury's website: Attached is a poster and a brochure in Chinese with information about the new note. If you have further questions, please call the Information Unit at the American Institute in Taiwan, phone 2709-2000.