Two women see their signatures printed on U.S. currency for the first time

December 12, 2022

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen traveled to Texas on Thursday, December 8, to mark an important and historic milestone—touring the Fort Worth Bureau of Engraving and Printing facility to observe firsthand the printing of $1 and $5 bills with her signature for the first time, reports CNN.

Yellen became the latest Treasury secretary to sign U.S. currency and the first woman Treasury secretary to have her signature on a U.S. banknote. U.S. Treasurer Lynn Malerba also signed the note, marking the first time the signatures of two women are featured on U.S. currency—and the first time a Native American’s signature has appeared on U.S. currency.

Its been tradition for more than a century that both the U.S. treasurer and the Treasury secretary sign currency to make the bills legal tender. And despite Yellen being in her role since January 2021, it’s taken until now because of the delayed appointment of a new treasurer. In June, President Joe Biden appointed Malerba to the post.

Yellen and Malerba viewed the official engraving plates of sheets of dollars, using magnifying glasses to see their signatures. Yellen was then shown how to engrave a number into a conduction plate that will be used to produce the currency. She even got to push a button to print sheets of new bills.

Yellen said in remarks after her tour that she was “truly honored” by the banknotes, which will be delivered to the Federal Reserve this month and begin to circulate to Americans’ wallets “starting in the new year.”

“You would think this would be a straightforward process. But the founding fathers did not account for what seems to be a common attribute for Treasury secretaries—namely, terrible handwriting,” Yellen joked.

“I will admit I spent some quality time practicing my signature before submitting it,” she added.

The newly printed bills feature the signatures of “Lynn Roberge Malerba” and “Janet L. Yellen,” both written in clear, legible script.

The Fort Worth facility is one of just two places where paper currency is printed in the United States, a Treasury official told CNN, and it prints more than half of new bills every year. The new bills are only being printed at this facility as of now, the official noted; but will begin to be printed at a second facility, in Washington, D.C., eventually.

Research contact: @CNN