When I started with the Secret Service in 1969, we were tasked with three responsibilities -- protecting our President, our currency, and our securities. The responsibilities for carrying out these duties were handled by the Protective, Counterfeit and Forgery Divisions, respectively. Counterfeiting of U. S. currency always intrigued me because of the often conjured image of an artist gone bad. There have been several movies made of criminals, mobsters and foreign agents, all trying to obtain those elusive engraved plates so that they might prints millions of $100 bills and get rich overnight. The reality of counterfeiting is a lot different and much more difficult than what was portrayed in those movies. And with the latest redesign of our currency by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the level of difficulty to counterfeit a passable U. S. note has increased exponentially. First, our currency has seen dramatic changes in color. Whereas our old notes were printed in two colors, black and green, the new series is a rainbow of colors. Second, the designers have included a host of security features never before seen on, or in, U. S. currency. Features like watermarks, holograms, microprinting and embedded security threads add greatly to the difficulty of counterfeiting. Ironically, all of these security features can be overcome by ignorance. The Secret Service has always understood that an informed public is the greatest security feature against the passing of  counterfeit currency. The Service has always made public awareness a priority. It is every citizen’s responsibility to be familiar with the security features used in his or her currency. I have seen some badly counterfeited bills successfully passed because of a lack of attention by the person receiving the money. Remarkably, even a “twee” dollar bill was successfully used in a retail purchase. Unbelievably, the passer even received change.   
Counterfeit warning posters were one of many types of posters we created a variety of counterfeit warning posters which were distributed to banks, merchants and other money handlers. Other posters included the familiar wanted posters as well as special warning posters for law enforcements agencies post offices and mail handlers in government and private industry.
Heraldic and Numismatic Trivia
We know about the original 13 colonies but what about...
13 Stars
13 Stripes
13 Arrows
13 Leaves
13 Olives
Next time you have a chance, check out the Great Seal on the back, or obverse side, of a one-dollar bill.
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