Counterfeit money detection:
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US 50 dollar note front

United States fifty dollar bill

+ United States Dollar (US$) General information

Quick links to banknotes:
- 1 US Dollar
- 5 US Dollar
- 10 US Dollar
- 20 US Dollar
- 50 US Dollar
- 100 US Dollar

(banknote with denomination of $2 is very rarely used)

Size: 155.956 x 66.294 mm 
Paper type:
75% cotton
25% linen

The Redesigned 50 dollar bill obverse

The Redesigned 50 dollar bill reverse

The United States fifty dollar bill is a denomination of United States currency. Ulysses S. Grant is currently featured on the obverse, while the US Capitol is featured on the reverse. All current-issue $50 bills are Federal Reserve Notes.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing says the average life of a $50 bill in circulation is 55 months before it is replaced due to wear. Approximately 3.8% of all notes printed in 2017 were 50 dollar bills. They are delivered by Federal Reserve Banks in brown straps.

The redesigned US fifty dollar ($50) bill incorporates two easy to use security features, subtle shades of blue and red, and historical symbols of freedom.

+Security Features:

Security features can help you to tell if a 50 dollar bill is fake or real.

Color-Shifting Ink

Color-Shifting Ink 50 US dollar bill

Tilt the bill to see if the numeral 50 in the lower right corner on the front of the bill changes colors from copper to green. The color shift is more dramatic in the redesigned currency making it even easier for people to check their money.


Watermark 50 us dollar bill

Hold the bill to light and look for the watermark, or faint image, similar to the large portrait. The watermark is part of the paper itself and can be seen from both sides of the note.

Security Thread

Security Thread fifty us dollar note

Hold the bill to light and look for the security thread that is embedded in the paper and runs vertically up one side of the bill. If you look closely, the words USA 50 and a small flag are visible along the thread from both sides of the bill. The security thread glows yellow when illuminated by ultraviolet light.

Additional Design and security features

The redesigned 50 dollar bill remains the same size and uses the same, but enhanced portraits and historical images as the older-design bills, and most importantly, continues to be recognized around the world as quintessentially American.

Symbols of Freedom

Symbols of Freedom $50 note 

Symbols of freedom have been added to the design on the front of the fifty US dollar bill to represent images of the American flag. The traditional stars and stripes of the United States flag are printed in blue and red behind the portrait of President Grant. A field of blue stars is located to the left of the portrait, while three red stripes are located to the right of the portrait. A small metallic silver-blue star is located on the lower right side of the portrait. The symbols of freedom differ for each denomination


The most noticeable difference in the redesigned $50 note is the addition of subtle background colors of blue and red to both sides of the bill. The background colors add complexity to the bills and differ with each denomination to help distinguish them. Because color can be duplicated by potential counterfeiters, it should not be used to verify the authenticity of the bill.

Updated Portrait and Vignette

$50 note Portrait and Vignette

The oval borders and fine lines surrounding the portrait of President Grant on the front and the vignette of the United States Capitol Building on the back have been removed. The portrait has been moved up and shoulders have been extended into the border. Additional engraving details have been added to the vignette background.

Low-Vision Feature

Low-Vision Feature fifty us dollar note

The numeral 50 in the lower right corner on the back of the bill is enlarged to help those with visual impairments distinguish the denomination.


Microprinting $50 note

Because they are so small, microprinted words are hard to replicate. The redesigned 50 dollar bill features microprinting on the front of the note in three areas: the words FIFTY, USA, and the numeral 50 can be found in two of the blue stars to the left of the portrait; the word FIFTY can be found repeated within both side borders of the bill; and the words THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA appear on President Ulysses S. Grant's collar, under his beard

Federal Reserve Indicators

Federal Reserve Indicators fifty us dollar note

A universal seal to the left of the portrait represents the entire Federal Reserve System. A letter and number beneath the left serial number identifies the issuing Federal Reserve Bank. There are 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks and 24 branches located in major cities throughout the United States.

Serial Numbers

Serial Numbers 50 us dollar note

The unique combination of eleven numbers and letters appears twice on the front of the note. On the redesigned US fifty dollar bill, the left serial number has shifted slightly to the right, compared with previous designs. Because they are unique identifiers, serial numbers help law enforcement identify counterfeit notes, and they also help the Bureau of Engraving and Printing track quality standards for the notes they produce.

(info for older series click here)

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