Why the Treasury is changing the 10 dollar bill instead of the 20

The announcement that the Bureau of Engraving and Printing will add a woman the current portrait of Alexander Hamilton from the $US10 bill has stirred a lot of conversation as to whether the Treasury was not redesigning the $US20 bill instead.

10 dollar billWikimedia CommonsAlexander Hamilton on the $US10 bill

It turns out that there is a very simple explanation: The move is based on recommendations from the Advanced Counterfeit Deterrence (ACD) Steering Committee.

Currency is redesigned to stay ahead of counterfeiting,” The US Treasury explains. “The ACD Steering Committee recommended a redesign of the $US10 note next. The ACD will make its next recommendation based on current and potential security threats to currency notes.”

The ACD bases those recommendations on the “current and potential security threats to currency notes,” and it turns out that the $US10 bill is at a greater threat of being counterfeit that the $US20 bill.

Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew announced the change in a statement on YouTube: “I’m proud to announce today that the new ten dollar bill will be the first bill in more than a century to feature the portrait of a woman.”

Alexander Hamilton will stay on the bill but share the note with a woman, who Lew is expected to choose by the end of the year. The new bill will enter circulation after 2020.


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