Ulysses S. Grant is getting new threads. So are Ben Franklin and most other Presidents whose faces adorn paper money. To foil counterfeiters, the Bureau of Engraving & Printing will soon print bills threaded with metallized plastic strips. Each strip, clearly visible near the Federal Reserve Board seal, will bear an imprint of the bill's denomination.
The alteration--the first in U. S. paper currency since 1957--is meant to stop such practices as bleaching out the printing on $1 bills, then reproducing them with higher values on color copiers. The thread won't reproduce, the bureau says. Neither will the words "The United States of America," which will be stamped in microprinting around the portrait.
Crane & Co. in Dalton, Mass., has won a $66.3 million supply contract and will deliver the tamper-proof paper initially for $50 and $100 bills--which may make it into wallets by summer. Eventually, $5, $10, and $20 bills will also get new threads. Only George Washington will be left out. But if evil-doers bleach $1 bills, they can't turn them into anything else.