Ugly New Twenties

Is anyone else as annoyed as I am about the hideous re-design of the $50 and $20 bills? It will eventually trickle down to all currency. The excuse is, “it’s more difficult to counterfeit,” but why did they have to take away all the lovely 19th-century graphic elements, enlarge and scarify the portrait, and generally make them look like play money?

If they were going to change U.S. currency, why not do what every other country does and have different denominations in different colors? Now, that would make sense!

I also read that no artists or designers were consulted on the re-design; just government wonks. So–with no say from the U.S. taxpayers!–we now have hideous, clunky, ill-designed currency, an embarrassment to our country and a blot in our wallets.

Ummm… let’s back up a step. Are you saying that different colors would not look like play money?

Methinks any change at all would have upset you.

Personally, I like the new bills. I’ll admit the back of the new twenty looks kind of plain.

No, Keeves, I don’t dislike change, I dislike UGLY change for no reason, and ill thought-out change. Changing the colors of the denominations would make sense. Making the new bills butt-ugly does not. Mblischke, if you like the new bills, you must be the sort of person who prefers Jasper Johns to Titian. Me, give me classic art over kindergarten splashes any day.

I, for one, could care less what my money looks like as long as it spends. The only feature I care about is the number in the corner; beyond that the picture could be made by someone sitting on a xerox machine for all I care.

I don’t like the backs (they look “plain” compared to the old ones… all that white space bothers me), and somehow the print quality doesn’t seem as high, particularly the seal, which looks like it was done on a leaky inkjet printer.

On the other hand, I sort of like the larger portrait (though I’m not sure the engraving quality is quite up to snuff compared to the old ones). The color-shift ink is also pretty cool.

I like the new $20’s; I just wish I could actually see them in my purse more often.

Ho hum, here I am agreeing with McFlimsey again, folks’ll start to think we’re the same person.

The centennial grace of U.S. currency (meaning it looks like it was printed in 1876) has been cast aside for the typeface of a corporate logo. This offends my aesthetic sense, but seems appropriate to fin de siecle America. All changes made to ANYTHING in this country post-1940 have been to make things uglier.

“You can keep all your smart modern writers…give me William Shakespeare.” Ray Davies, “20th Century Man”

It isn’t fancy, but it’s good.
If you look carefully at the new currency design you will see anti-counterfeiting measures have been taken, which have nothing to do with aesthetics:

  1. The thin ribbon actually inside the bill (which they actually started using before the design change).
  2. The watermark. That is why there is white space. (Although I believe every $20 bill has a different likeness of Jackson–almost as if they had been applied to the bills by hand, one at a time!)
  3. The ink on the number 20 in the lower right, on the front, that changes color depending on the angle you look at it from.
  4. Microprinting, which (as Cecil said) can’t be picked up by copiers.
    Granted most of this could have been accomplished with the older design. But then the United States is the only country not to have changed its paper-money designs since World War I!

Ah, it’s so nice to be back on the same team as my dear Ike, after our smoking and Lupe Velez fall-outs!

“McFlimsey,” huh? Not even “Miss” McFlimsey?

Hey, I’ll have you know that Canadian money, being multicoloured, is a hell of a lot easier for visually impaired people to tell apart than uniformly green US money. Even if they can’t see the bill, they can tell that if it’s blue, it’s a $5; if it’s mauve, it’s a $10, and if it’s green, it’s a $20. (Besides, it’s prettier that way.)

So sorry, my dove, I was going for the “chummy” thang. I’d offer to kiss and make up, but I misplaced the Sen-Sen.


I much prefer the new bills, and wish they’d get the rest of them out.

Many people have already commented on other aspcts, so I’ll restrict myself to the portrait. The old “classic” portraits were too easy to counterfeit, so they wanted to go with a larger and more detailed portrait.

Thank you, Matt, I’ve been saying for years that multi-colored currency would make sense!

As far as the counterfeiting, I still notice merchants doing the old Magic Marker test on the new $20s, so I guess they still don’t trust 'em.

I fully intend to be one of those cranky old ladies who says, “Well, everything was better back in the 20th century!” I’m getting a head-start . . . .

It’s a plot! The new bills are so ugly that we won’t take them to other countries, but will exchange them for forgein money here. That way domestic money changers get the fee. Our new bills compare with foreign currency less even than the old! We should have the best looking of all!


Watch it, Ike. You’re just a short step away from the words “back in my day…”

Personally, I don’t think the government could have gotten away with multi-colored currency, regardless of the benefits. Consider how much resistance there is to the minor changes that were made.

Different sizes for each denomination would be even better for the visualy impaired. Italian currency is sized and colored differently for each denomination. But I guess the powers-that-be feel too much change is bad.

I agree totally with Flora in every way.

Now dearie, send me all those nasty new twenties and I’ll send you all my old wrinkled bills.

Remember the S.A.S.E

When’s the new commemorative dollar coin coming out (not of the closet)? I understand it has Sacajawea (sp?) and child. I hear it’s gold colored and is faceted, as in not a smooth circle. Anyone know?

Oh, and I love the new bills. They’re all so new and crisp. I saw a documentary on them, and I believe artists did design them. Gov’t artist, but artists nonetheless. They are etched into a metal plate with precision tools, and the originals are reverse images. So, it did take some artisan skill.