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IN RECENT YEARS,
the Treasury Department has battled counterfeiters with elaborate designs for the hundred, fifty and twenty-dollar bills. Yesterday, at a lavish luncheon (rack of lamb flame-broiled over fresh currency), Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence H. Summers unveiled the new five spot. The bill is loaded with high-tech devices, including multicolor inks, an invisible security thread, and a voice chip featuring the Gettysburg Address read by Larry King.

All this technical wizardry doesn't come cheap. Each five-dollar bill costs $12.75 to produce. "Well, it takes money to make money," quipped Secretary Summers, mopping his brow with a sweaty fifty. For all that, the bill still has problems, not the least of which are the typos "Govamint" and "Warshington." The new currency is also much too large to fit in a billfold, which is just as well since the bills don't fold: Each is as thick and stiff as a frozen veal chop.

Worst of all, the new five tips the scales at three pounds, eleven ounces. Asked to comment, Secretary Summers quipped, "Hey, in England they have a five-pound note!" When this failed to get a laugh, he added, "Look, it's 'N Sync!" and then fled through the fire exit.

To prevent copying, Lincoln now sports a purple tie, baby blue eyes, and a festive rainbow wig of the type worn at sporting events. The portrait is covered by a thin plastic bubble with iron filings forming the beard. You can give Abe a "fresh" look with a magnetic stylus (available for $17.95 from govtoys.com). Click on number 1 for examples.
Lincoln's wart is a ball bearing that children of all ages will enjoy rolling into place. Click number 2 to try it!
The bill has a watermark, which can be seen by holding it up to the light. Revenue will be generated by leasing the space to corporate sponsors. Click number 3 for an example.


To discourage counterfeiters, a number of details have been added to this picture through microengraving. Click number 4 to see a few of them.
This voice chip contains Larry King's Gettysburg Address. Click number 5 for an excerpt.











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