Obverse of the Series 2004 $20
Reverse of the Series 2004 $20
The United States twenty-dollar bill
($20) is a
of United States currency
. U.S. President Andrew Jackson is currently featured on the
front side of the bill, which is why the twenty-dollar bill is
often called a "Jackson," while the White House is featured on the reverse side.
The twenty-dollar bill in the past was referred to as a
"double-sawbuck" because it is twice the value of a ten-dollar
bill, which was nicknamed a "sawbuck" due to the resemblance the
Roman numeral for ten (X) bears to the legs of a sawbuck
, although this usage had largely fallen out
of favour by the 1980s. The twenty dollar gold
was known as a "double eagle
Rather than a nickname, this nomenclature was specified by an
act of Congress
The Bureau of Engraving
says the "average circulation life" of a $20 bill
is 25 months (2 years) before it is replaced due to wear.
Approximately 22% of all notes printed today are $20 bills.
Twenty-dollar bills are delivered by Federal Reserve Banks in
Pre-Federal Reserve history
Series 1905 $20 bill
- 1861: A demand note with Lady Liberty holding a sword and shield on the
front, and an abstract design on the back. The back is printed in
- 1862: A note that is very similar, the first $20 United States note. The back is
different, with several small variations extant.
- 1863: A gold certificate $20 note with an Eagle vignette on the
face. The reverse has a $20 gold coin and various abstract
elements. The back is orange.
- 1865: A national bank note with "The Battle of Lexington" and
"Columbia Leading a Procession" on either side of the face and
obligation text conspicuously in the middle. The reverse features
"The Baptism of Pocahontas" in black, and a green border.
- 1869: A new United States
note design with Alexander
Hamilton on the left side of the front and Victory holding a shield and sword. The back
design is green.
- 1875: As above, except with a different reverse.
- 1878: A silver certificate
$20 note with a portrait of Stephen
Decatur on the right side of the face. The back design is
- 1882: A new gold certificate with a portrait of James Garfield on the right of the face. The
back is orange and features an eagle.
- 1882: A new national bank note. The front is similar, but the
back is different and printed in brown.
- 1886: A new silver certificate $20 note with Daniel Manning on the center of the
- 1890: A treasury (coin) note with John
Marshall on the left of the face. Two different backs exist:
both with abstract designs.
- 1902: A new national bank note. The front design features
Hugh McCulloch, and the back has a
vignette of an allegorical America.
- 1905: A new gold certificate $20 note with George Washington on the center of the
face. The back design is orange.
- 1918: A federal reserve bank note with Grover Cleveland on the front, and a back
design similar to the 1914 Federal Reserve Note.
Federal Reserve history
Series 1914 $20 bill
Series 1929 $20 bill
Series 1985 $20 Note
Series 1995 $20 bill
The security strip in a twenty-dollar
bill glows green under a blacklight.
Jackson first appeared on the twenty dollar bill in 1928. It is not
clear the reason the bill was switched from Grover Cleveland
to Andrew Jackson
. According to the U.S.
Treasury, "Treasury Department records do not reveal the reason
that portraits of these particular statesmen were chosen in
preference to those of other persons of equal importance and
prominence." The placement of Jackson on the $20 bill may
be a historical irony; as president, he vehemently opposed both the
Bank and paper money and made the goal of his
administration the destruction of the National Bank.
farewell address to the nation, he cautioned the public about paper
- 1914: Began as a large-sized
note with a portrait of Grover
Cleveland on the face, and, on the back, a steam locomotive approaching from the left, and a
steamship approaching from the right
Switched to a small-sized note with
a portrait of Andrew Jackson on the
face and the south view of the White House on the reverse. The banknote is redeemable
in gold or silver (at the bearer's discretion) at any Federal Reserve Bank.
- 1934: The obligation is changed. The bill is no longer
redeemable in gold, but rather in "lawful currency". This is due to
the U.S. being taken off of the gold
standard. "Lawful currency" in this case means silver.
- 1942: A special emergency
series, with brown serial numbers and "HAWAII" overprinted on
both the front and the back, is issued. These notes are designed to
circulate on the islands, and be deemed invalid in the event of a
House picture was updated to reflect renovations to the
building itself as well as the passage of time. Most
notably, the trees are larger.
- 1950: Design elements like the serial numbers are reduced in
size and moved around subtly, presumably for aesthetic
- 1963: "Redeemable in Lawful Money" is replaced by "In God We
Trust". The two acts (one taking U.S. currency off silver backing,
and the other authorizing the national motto) are coincidental,
even if their combined result is implemented in one redesign. Also,
several design elements are rearranged, less perceptibly than the
change in 1950, mostly to make room for the slightly rearranged
- 1969: The new treasury seal appears on all denominations,
including the $20.
- 1977: A new type of serial-number press results in a slightly
different font. The old presses are gradually retired, and
old-style serial numbers appear as late as 1981 for this
- 1990: Anti-counterfeiting features are added: microprinting around the portrait, and a
plastic strip embedded in the paper.
- September 24, 1998: Received a completely new appearance to further
deter counterfeiting; the picture of the White House was changed to
the north side view. A larger, off-center portrait of Jackson was
used on front, and several anti-counterfeiting features were added,
including colour-shifting ink, microprinting, and a watermark. The
plastic strip now reads "USA 20" and glows green under a black light.
- October 9, 2003: The current series of 20 dollar bills is released
with light background shading in green and yellow, and no oval around Andrew
Jackson's portrait (background images of eagles, etc. were also
added to the front); the back is the same view of the White House, but without the oval around it. Ninety,
faint "20"s are scattered on the back in yellow as a "EURion constellation" to prevent
photocopying. The first issue's series
date is 2004 with Marin-Snow signatures.
Several unmade twenty-dollar bills are known. Most are similar in
design to the ones described above, with the only difference being
certain obligations. For example, a silver-certificate variety of
the 1928 style Federal Reserve Note is known in the proof stage,
with blue serial numbers. More interesting examples include a 1923
Federal Reserve Note, with Grover Cleveland as on the Series of
1914, but different border elements, an 1873 National Bank note
whose design is unknown, and also an 1896 Silver Certificate.
's actions toward the
as a general, as well as during his Presidency
, have led some historians to question
the suitability of Jackson's depiction on the twenty-dollar bill.
, for instance, identifies
Jackson as a leading "exterminator of Indians
," and notes
how the public commemoration of Jackson obscures this part of
Those opposed to Central Banking point out the irony of Andrew
Jackson on a Federal Reserve
. Jackson spent much of his Presidency fighting against the
Bank of the United States
which was at that time the government sanctioned Federal
hoax emerged after the events of 9/11 that
alleged a conspiracy because folding the twenty-dollar bill a
certain way produced images that appeared to be 9/11 related
(specifically the World Trade Center and the
These claims have been demonstrated to be either
coincidental or contrived.
- Twenty Bucks, a 1993 movie
that follows the travels of a $20 bill