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New $5 bill makes debut

  • Story Highlights
  • Redesigned $5 bill unveiled in purchase at gift shop at Lincoln cottage
  • Large, purple numeral "5" featured on the back of the note's lower right
  • New security features allow people to spot bogus bills
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday began circulating a redesigned $5 bill. The first transaction was at a gift shop near President Lincoln's summer cottage overlooking Washington.

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The $5 note has Abraham Lincoln's image on the front as usual, plus security features to discourage counterfeiting.

The recently renovated cottage was selected as the backdrop for the unveiling of the new bill because Lincoln's image remains on the front.

Perhaps the quickest way to spot the new bill is the large, purple numeral "5" on the back of the note's lower right.

Security features added to the paper help people to spot bogus bills.

"Just hold the bill up to light," said Michael Lambert, an assistant director at the Federal Reserve, noting two new watermarks in the paper in the morning sun outside Lincoln's cottage. Interactive: See the watermarks and other design changes »

To demonstrate the watermarks, Lambert pointed to "the large numeral 5 in the blank space of the bill to the right of the portrait of Abraham Lincoln."

The sunlight also revealed "the large column of three smaller fives to the left of the portrait," Lambert said. Video Watch Lambert spend the first redesigned $5 bill »

The bill continues to use the larger, off-center portrait featured on all denominations of U.S. currency since 1996.

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Anti-counterfeiting measures are the main reason the United States has been making changes in currency.

It started in 1996 with the $100 bill, followed by a new $20 bill in 2003. The $50 bill got an overhaul in 2004, and the $10 was redesigned in 2006. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Paul Courson contributed to the report.

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