Ole Andy gets second makeover in 7 years

October 08, 2003|By Julia Furlong and Meredith James | Julia Furlong and Meredith James,SUN STAFF

It will still be a twenty, a double-sawbuck, an Andrew Jackson. But don't call it a greenback anymore. Like those hapless men on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, old Andy is getting a makeover.

Starting tomorrow, the Federal Reserve will begin circulating new, revamped $20 bills featuring an unframed but still stern-looking Jackson floating amid shades of soft blue, green and peach.

Not just making Jackson more fashionable, though, the aim of the makeover is to deter counterfeiting, so along with his new color scheme, his bill features a new watermark and security thread. (Redesigned $50 and $100 bills are scheduled to follow in 2004 and 2005.)

If you haven't heard about it yet, it's not because the government isn't trying. The last time a new twenty was issued (1996), there was near-chaos in some places: cashiers uncertain about accepting it, fears the old bills were suddenly worthless.

This time, there's a $30 million publicity campaign, including a Web page - www.moneyfactory .com/newmoney - covering seemingly every aspect of the new bill some have deemed "Monopoly money."

An "interactive twenty" lets users see feature by feature the new changes. For would-be Treasury agents, there's a multiple-choice "Catch a Counterfeit" game, and for kids, an option to design a bill in their own image.

Not everyone is happy that the redesign didn't excise Jackson himself. For some, the seventh president (1829-1837) seems a long leap from the likes of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin, what with his support of slavery and Indian wars and his role in the financial Panic of 1837. Many have proposed that the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. take his place. But online bulletin boards also reveal advocates for Britney Spears and Tupac Shakur.

While the image on the twenty won't be changing this time around, it's purchasing power surely has. What can your brand-new Andrew Jackson buy you?

Lots more Monopoly money: You could buy both a Monopoly Millennium edition and a Monopoly Junior (totaling $19.06), or one Pokemon Monopoly for $19.99.

Lots of peach: The bill's new coloring might evoke a craving for the juicy fruit. Grab four half-gallon containers of Edy's Grovestand Peach ice cream And you'll still have 44 cents in change.

Lots more Jackson: One Andrew will get you two Michaels - the You Are not Alone single ($7.49) and the Best of Michael Jackson ($11.98).

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