By ALEJANDRO J. MARTINEZ
When the new $100 is moved, the inkwell changes color from copper to green, and the Liberty Bell appears.
The U.S. government wants you to accept its new Benjamins: its new $100 notes. It hopes that counterfeiters are less pleased.
The Treasury Department unveiled what it calls "the next generation one hundred," a redesigned $100 bank note to stay ahead of counterfeiters. The new $100 notes will be available on Feb.10, 2011.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke unveil a new $100 bill equipped with two new security features. The News Hub takes a look at the new bill, which goes into circulation Feb. 10, 2011.
The old bills will continue to be accepted until they wear out.
The familiar portrait of Benjamin Franklin remains in the usual spot. But a historical reference to the quill used by the Founding Fathers appears superimposed over phrases of the Declaration of Independence and a 3-D security ribbon crossing the center capture attention. The images on the ribbon move as the bill is tilted.It's all designed to thwart attempted fakes.
By now, the government has become intimately familiar with the process of rolling out new money. Over the past decade, the $20, $50, $10 and $5 have all received makeovers.
The new look puts the finishing touches on what the government calls its second major redesign. The $100 bill last got a makeover in March 1996.
Benjamin Franklin is still on the latest makeover of the $100 bill, unveiled Wednesday, but he has been joined by a number of security features as part of an effort to stay ahead of counterfeiters.
As a rule of thumb, the Treasury redesigns currency every seven to 10 years because advancements in technology have made counterfeiting outside the norm of professional criminals possible.
The name of the game is to make notes that are hard to counterfeit but easy for the public to authenticate.
Now it's the $100's turn. It's a hefty matter when one considers there are 6.5 billion $100 notes in circulation and as much as two-thirds of it circulates beyond the country's borders, according to the Federal Reserve.
In 1996, when the $100 currency was last redesigned, it got a portrait watermark, an embedded security thread and color-shifting numeral 100. This time around two of the most prominent features the public will notice right away are a 3-D security ribbon woven into the paper and a bell in an inkwell.
The 3-D security ribbon contains images of bells that transform to numeral 100s that turn into images of bells, and back again, as the note is moved. When the note is tilted back and fourth, some images on the ribbon appear to move side to side. If the note is shifted side to side, these images slide up or down.
What's at work is a new security technology called Motion that was developed by Visual Physics, a subsidiary of Nanoventions, based in Atlanta and acquired by Crane & Co., the manufacturer of U.S. currency paper based in Dalton, Mass. Sweden's 1,000-kroner banknote was first to use this technology. Crane & Co. wouldn't comment for this article.
As for the bell-in-an-inkwell feature, when the note is laid flat on a table, only a solid copper inkwell is visible. When the note is moved, the inkwell changes color from copper to green. The movement will also make a Liberty Bell appear.
In addition, the reverse of the $100 note will now show the back instead of the front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
The portrait watermark, security thread that can only be seen when a bill is held up to light, and the color shifting $100 have all been retained with a twist. The color shifting $100 feature now changes from copper to green instead of black to green.
"We retained security features that are effective and made them more discrete," said Michael Lambert, assistant director for cash at the Federal Reserve.
"What we're doing is protecting everyone and providing security features that protect from a range of threats, said Mr. Lambert.
The changes will increase the government's cost of making a single $100 note to 11.8 cents per note from 8 cents per note. The average $100 bill lasts between seven and eight years.
So which bill will come next for a makeover?
"We have not made any final decision about what denomination we will do next," said the Fed's Mr. Lambert.
Write to Alejandro J. Martinez at email@example.com