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$10 bill
Scholastic News reporters Juliette Kessler, 11, and Jamie Sanders, 11, interview Treasury Secretary John Snow on September 28, 2005 on Ellis Island.
(Photo: Robin Weiner/U.S. Newswire)

The New Ten Dollar Bill
By Juliette Kessler and Jamie Sanders, Scholastic Kids Press Corps

Wednesday, September 28—The $10 bill has a new look. The portrait of Alexander Hamilton is still there, but he's joined by Lady Liberty's torch and the first three words of the Constitution, "We the People."

"This currency of ours is really an enduring symbol of the U.S. and what it stands for," said Secretary of the Treasury John Snow. "There is really no other currency like it. Our bills are symbols also of our country's great commitment to freedom and liberty and the strength we enjoy because of that commitment to freedom."

The new bill was unveiled on Ellis Island in New York Harbor. New York was an appropriate choice since Alexander Hamilton—America's first Secretary of the Treasury and the face of the $10 bill—made his home there.

"We all owe an enormous debt to Alexander Hamilton," said Snow. "He first proposed that U.S. money would feature likenesses of Presidents and other famous Americans and national symbols as a way to boost patriotism and as an engagement with the history of our country."

New Design

Special features put in the new bill were designed to stop counterfeiters, or people who illegally make fake money. The new features include an oval frame around a watermark on the bill. The watermark didn't change, but the frame makes it easier to find, so people who deal with money can easily check whether a bill is real or not. You can see the watermark by holding the bill up to the light.

A microscopic series of the word "ten" makes up the collar of Hamilton's shirt. Yellow "10's" dot the back of the bill, making it hard to copy. Also, the first three words of the Constitution, "We the People," are printed across the front of the bill. Another new addition is an imprint of Lady Liberty's torch in two different places.

"There's no one thing that will stop counterfeiters. It's the combination of a lot of things, and you guys getting the word out so people know what to look for," Tom Ferguson, Director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, told Scholastic News Online.

On the Market

Although printing of the bills has already begun, the new $10 bills won't hit the banks until around March 1.

"The bank hasn't issued it yet, so literally it's a piece of paper," Ferguson said, holding up a new bill. In two years, about 80 percent of the $10 bills in circulation will be new.

Secretary of the Treasury Snow spoke to Scholastic News Online about the importance of educating the public about the bill's new features. He also spoke about the importance of stopping counterfeiters. Bills that cannot be counterfeited promote a sense of security and help keep the economy strong, he said.

"Keeping the economy strong has to be at the forefront of national policy," he said.

Two large replicas of the front and back of the new bill were unveiled at the same time as a blue velvet curtain behind the bills opened. The crowd gasped as sunlight shined through the bills, illuminating the watermarks and other features. In the background, stood the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor.


U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Treasury Secretary John Snow urges you to visit the official Web site of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing for more information about the new bills.

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