The $100 Bill Is Getting a New Look

Benjamin Franklin gets a facelift as the Treasury Department unveils a new $100 bill Wednesday, the first remake of the denomination since 1996.

The new $100 note. Image: NewMoney.gov

Benjamin Franklin gets a facelift as the Treasury Department unveils a new $100 bill Wednesday, the first remake of the denomination since 1996. The new design for the $100 bill will make its debut during a 10:30 a.m. ceremony at the Department of the Treasury’s Cash Room that will be attended by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, according to CNN’s report.

“The $100 note is the highest value denomination of U.S. currency in general circulation, and it circulates broadly around the world,” according to a statement from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The denomination is popular when large amounts of cash need to be carried internationally.

“We estimate that as many as two-thirds of all $100 notes circulate outside the United States,” said Ben Bernanke, who stressed that the 6.5 billion in $100 bills now in circulation will remain legal tender.

The unveiling of the new $100 note is the first step in a global multi-government agency public education program implemented by the Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Board and the U.S. Secret Service, to educate those who use the $100 note about its changes before it begins circulating.

The new $100 note. Image: NewMoney.gov

The $100 note is the highest value denomination of U.S. currency in general circulation, and it circulates broadly around the world. Public education is an important component of the government’s redesigned currency program because a well informed public is our first and best line of defense against counterfeiting.

The currency changes started in 1996 with the $100 bill, followed by a new $20 bill in 2003. The $50 bill got an overhaul in 2004, and the $10 was redesigned in 2006. The $5 bill was upgraded in 2008. The $1 bill isn’t getting a makeover. The changes are aimed at thwarting counterfeiters who are armed with ever-more sophisticated computers, scanners and color copiers.

The $100 bill is the most frequent target of counterfeiters operating outside of the United States while the $20 bill is the favorite target of counterfeiters inside the country. The new $100 bill will not go into circulation until Feb. 10 of next year, giving the government time to educate the public in the United States and around the world about all the changes.  [NewMoney via CNN]

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