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By Staff
Jason Cannon, Franklin County Times
Local shoppers will soon find something a little different while fumbling through their wallets.
Honest Abe, the man prominently featured on the five-dollar bill, is getting a facelift.
Splashes of purple and gray highlight the redesigned five, which will be released to local banks this spring.
The Treasury Department showcased its new bill Thursday in an Internet news conference.
The changes are similar to those already made, starting in 2003, to the $10, $20 and $50 bills.
In those redesigns, pastel colors were added as part of an effort to stay ahead of counterfeiters and their ever-more-sophisticated copying machines.
Alan Rhudy, branch manager of Russellville's Community Spirit Bank, said technological advancements in personal computers and software have goaded the need for the evolution of the nation's currency.
"These days, with laser printers and some of this design software, it doesn't take very long before someone's able to copy the look and design of currency," he said.
But to combat that, the Treasury Department has made some technological advancements of their own.
"These new bills are loaded with security features," Rhudy said. "Watermarks, security chips, special paper, and that's just the stuff we know about."
In the new bill, the government is changing the $5 watermark from one of Lincoln to two separate watermarks featuring the number 5.
The security thread embedded in the $5 bill also has been moved to a different location.
The Treasury will begin printing the new notes next week at its facility in Fort Worth, Texas. The goal is to have 1.5 billion $5 bills ready to be put into circulation, at a date still to be determined.
The new $5 design also incorporates a number of other state-of-the-art security features.
Perhaps the most obvious change is a new large-size 5 printed in the lower right-hand corner of the backside of the bill in bright purple ink.
That feature was added to help the visually impaired.
Lincoln remains on the front of the bill and the Lincoln Memorial is still on the back, but both images have been enhanced and the oval borders around them have been removed.
In place of a border around Lincoln's portrait, the new bill will feature an arc of purple stars.
Small yellow "05" numerals will be printed on both the front and the back.
The center of the bill features light purple, which blends into gray near the edges.
And while the bill has a drastically new look, Rhudy said customers rarely notice.
"It doesn't really cause a lot of confusion as far as customers are concerned, but it does take a few days before some folks realize that this is the new look of the bill. Some people think it's something rare until they start to pop up all over the place," he said.
Kevin Stone, branch manager and loan officer of Russellville's Valley State Bank, agreed.
"The first few days, people are kind of hesitant to take it," he said, "but after about a week, they're all over the place."