The United States five-dollar bill ($5) is a denomination of United States currency. U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is currently featured on the obverse, while the Lincoln Memorial is featured on the reverse. All $5 bills issued today are Federal Reserve Notes.
The $5 bill is sometimes nicknamed a "fin" or a "finskie", although this usage is far less common today than it was in the early 20th century.
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing says the "average life" of a $5 bill in circulation is 24 months before it is replaced due to wear. Approximately 9% of all notes produced today are $5 bills.
Five dollar bills are delivered by Federal Reserve Banks in red straps.
Large size notes history
(approximately 7.4218 × 3.125 in / 189 × 79 mm)
1861: The first $5 bill was issued as a Demand Note with a small portrait of Alexander Hamilton on the right and an allegorical statue representing freedom on the left side of the obverse.
1862: The first $5 United States Note was issued with a face design similar to the previous Demand Note and a completely revised reverse.
1869: A new $5 United States Note was issued with a small portrait of Andrew Jackson on the left and a vignette of a pioneer family in the middle.
1870: National Gold Bank Notes were issued specifically for payment in gold coin by participating banks. The obverse featured vignettes of Christopher Columbus sighting land and Columbus with an Indian Princess; the reverse featured US gold coins.
1875: The series 1869 United States Note was revised. The green tinting that was present on the obverse was removed and the design on the reverse was completely changed.
1886: The first $5 Silver Certificate was issued with a portrait of Ulysses S. Grant on the obverse and five Morgan silver dollars on the reverse.
1890: Five dollar Treasury or "Coin Notes" were issued and given for government purchases of silver bullion from the silver mining industry. The reverse featured an ornate design that occupied almost the entire note.
1891: The reverse of the 1890 Treasury Note was redesigned because the treasury felt that it was too "busy" which would make it too easy to counterfeit.
1891: The reverse of the 1886 Silver Certificate was revised; the 5 Morgan silver dollars were removed.
1896: The famous "Educational Series" Silver Certificate was issued. The entire obverse was covered with artwork representing electricity and the reverse featured portraits of Ulysses Grant and Phillip Sheridan.
1899: A new $5 silver certificate with a portrait of Running Antelope on the face was issued.
1923: $5 "porthole" silver certificate1914: The first $5 Federal Reserve Note was issued with a portrait of Lincoln on the obverse and vignettes of Columbus sighting land and the Pilgrim's landing on the reverse. The note initially had a red treasury seal and serial numbers; however, they were changed to blue.
1915: Federal Reserve Bank Notes (not to be confused with Federal Reserve Notes) were issued by 5 Federal Reserve Banks. The obverse was similar to the 1914 Federal Reserve Notes, except for large wording in the middle of the bill and a portrait with no border on the left side of the bill. Each note was an obligation of the issuing bank and could only be redeemed at the corresponding bank.
1918: The 1915 Federal Reserve Bank Note was re-issued under series 1918 by 11 Federal Reserve banks.
1923: The $5 silver certificate was redesigned; it was nicknamed a "porthole" note due to the circular wording of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA around Lincoln's portrait. The reverse featured the Great Seal of the United States.
Small size notes history
(6.14 × 2.61 in ? 156 × 66 mm)
1929: Under Series of 1928, all small-sized notes carried a standardized design. All $5 bills would feature a portrait of Lincoln, the same border design on the obverse, and the Lincoln Memorial on the reverse. The $5 bill was issued as a United States Note with a red seal and serial numbers and as a Federal Reserve Note with a green seal and serial numbers.
1933: As an emergency response to the Great Depression, additional money was pumped into the American economy through Federal Reserve Bank Notes. This was the only small-sized $5 bill that had a different border design. The serial numbers and seal on it were brown.
1934: The redeemable in gold clause was removed from Federal Reserve Notes due to the U.S. withdrawing from the gold standard.
1934: The first $5 Silver Certificates were issued with a blue seal and serial numbers along with a blue numeral 5 on the left side of the obverse.
1942: Special World War II currency was issued. HAWAII was overprinted on the front and back of the $5 Federal Reserve Note; the seal and serial numbers were changed to brown from green. This was done so that the currency could be declared worthless if there was a Japanese invasion. A $5 silver certificate was printed with a yellow instead of blue treasury seal; these notes were for U.S. troops in North Africa. These notes, too, could be declared worthless if seized by the enemy.
1950: Many minor aspects on the obverse of the $5 Federal Reserve Note were changed. Most noticeably, the treasury seal, gray word FIVE, and the Federal Reserve Seal were made smaller; also, the Federal Reserve seal had spikes added around it.
1953: New $5 United States Notes and Silver Certificates were issued with a gray numeral 5 on the left side of the bill and the gray word FIVE with a blue seal imprinted over it on the right and blue serial numbers.
1963: Both the $5 United States Note and Federal Reserve Note were revised with the motto IN GOD WE TRUST added to the reverse and WILL PAY TO THE BEARER ON DEMAND removed from the obverse. Also, the obligation on the Federal Reserve Note was changed to its current wording, THIS NOTE IS LEGAL TENDER FOR ALL DEBTS PUBLIC AND PRIVATE.
1967: Production of the $5 United States Note ends.
1969: The $5 bill began using the new treasury seal with wording in English instead of Latin.
1993: The first new-age anti-counterfeiting measures were introduced with microscopic printing around Lincoln's portrait and a plastic security strip on the left side of the bill.
May 24, 2000: To combat evolving counterfeiting, a new $5 bill was issued under series 1999 whose design was similar in style to the $100, $50, $20, and $10 bills that had all undergone previous design changes. The $5 bill, however, does not feature color-shifting ink like all the other denominations.
June 28, 2006: The BEP announced plans to redesign the $5 note, likely with similar features as newer $10, $20, and $50 notes. A final design is currently expected in the fall of 2007, with release in the first quarter of 2008.