The Federal Reserve of the United States will begin circulating a new $100 bill on Tuesday. The redesigned bank note, which has been delayed by more than 2 and a half years, includes a number of measures designed to make it more difficult to counterfeit, including a 3D security ribbon and a new "bell in the inkwell."
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Though the new note will still feature the familiar portrait of Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, alongside this will be a new vertical blue ribbon woven into the paper. The fine 3D nature of the ribbon creates a number of visual effects as the note is viewed or manipulated in various ways. Little bells that appear in the ribbon change to 100s as the angle of view is altered, and the pattern can be made to move either up and down or side to side by tilting the note in various directions.
Also on the front of the note is a copper-colored inkwell. This also includes a bell, which changes in appearance from copper to green as the note is tilted, with the effect that the bell seems to disappear and reappear. The large copper 100 in the lower-right corner of the front also color-shifts to green when tilted.
Other measures designed to make the note harder to reproduce are raised printing (used, among other places, on Franklin's shoulder), watermarks, serial numbers, and the microprinting of tiny characters on Franklin's collar, along the bill's quill, and around its borders. Such features have been used previously with other bill denominations. Other changes are designed to make the note easier to distinguish.
If you think this story is only of interested to our American readers, think again. Federal Reserve estimates put the proportion of exported $100 bills at between a half and two-thirds of the total. The $100 bill is the most counterfeited US bill outside of the country, and so, according to the New York Times, the Federal Reserve has taken the time to translate its newmoney.gov website into 23 languages.
The New York Times reports that the bill has been delayed from a launch in February of 2011 due to errors in the printing process. Gizmag originally reported on the redesigned bill in April, 2010.
For the time being, older $100 bills remain legal tender.