The redesigned $50 bill incorporates two easy to use security features, subtle shades of blue and red, and historical symbols of freedom. The redesigned $50 bill entered circulation on September 28, 2004. Protect yourself by learning how to use the security features in the redesigned $50 bill.
Tilt the bill to see if the numeral 50 in the lower right corner on the front of the bill changes colors from copper to green. The color shift is more dramatic in the redesigned currency making it even easier for people to check their money.
Hold the bill to light and look for the watermark, or faint image, similar to the large portrait. The watermark is part of the paper itself and can be seen from both sides of the bill.
Hold the bill to light and look for the security thread that is embedded in the paper and runs vertically up one side of the bill. If you look closely, the words USA 50 and a small flag are visible along the thread from both sides of the bill. The security thread glows yellow when illuminated by ultraviolet light.
Additional Design and Security Features
The redesigned $50 bill remains the same size and uses the same, but enhanced portraits and historical images as the older-design bills, and most importantly, continues to be recognized around the world as quintessentially American.
Symbols of Freedom
Symbols of freedom have been added to the design on the front of the $50 bill to represent images of the American flag. The traditional stars and stripes of the United States flag are printed in blue and red behind the portrait of President Grant. A field of blue stars is located to the left of the portrait, while three red stripes are located to the right of the portrait. A small metallic silver-blue star is located on the lower right side of the portrait. The symbols of freedom differ for each denomination.
The most noticeable difference in the redesigned $50 bill is the addition of subtle background colors of blue and red to both sides of the bill. The background colors add complexity to the bills and differ with each denomination to help distinguish them. Because color can be duplicated by potential counterfeiters, it should not be used to verify the authenticity of the bill.
Updated Portrait and Vignette
The oval borders and fine lines surrounding the portrait of President Grant on the front and the vignette of the United States Capitol Building on the back have been removed. The portrait has been moved up and shoulders have been extended into the border. Additional engraving details have been added to the vignette background.
Because they are so small, microprinted words are hard to replicate. The redesigned $50 bill features microprinting on the front of the bill in three areas: the words FIFTY, USA, and the numeral 50 can be found in two of the blue stars to the left of the portrait; the word FIFTY can be found repeated within both side borders of the bill; and the words THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA appear on President Ulysses S. Grant's collar, under his beard.
The numeral 50 in the lower right corner on the back of the bill is enlarged to help those with visual impairments distinguish the denomination.
Federal Reserve Indicators
A universal seal to the left of the portrait represents the entire Federal Reserve System. A letter and number beneath the left serial number identifies the issuing Federal Reserve Bank. There are 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks and 24 branches located in major cities throughout the United States.
The unique combination of eleven numbers and letters appears twice on the front of the bill. On the redesigned $50 bill, the left serial number has shifted slightly to the right, compared with previous designs. Because they are unique identifiers, serial numbers help law enforcement identify counterfeit notes, and they also help the Bureau of Engraving and Printing track quality standards for the notes they produce.