Same Face, New Look: Fed Releases Redesigned $100 Bill
On Tuesday, after a two-year delay, the U.S. Federal Reserve will issue a new $100 note packed with colorful new security features. The redesign is the last in a series that has changed the look of all U.S. currency — except the $1 and $2 bills — over the past decade.
Benjamin Franklin’s portrait has been on the $100 bill since 1914, shortly after the Fed was established. The basic design as we know know it today has been in place since 1929, when all U.S. currency was standardized to the current size and made aesthetically consistent, but the contemporary look we all recognize is a product of a 1996 redesign.
Currency is regularly redesigned to foil counterfeiting, so while the most-recent version of the bill is visually more excited, each change was made with security in mind.
The front of the bill has a number of changes that dramatically change the look and feel of the bill. For example, the ink on Franklin’s collar will be slightly raised, the first time U.S. currency has ever been textured.
The bill also has a dashed blue ribbon next to Franklin’s portrait that is actually woven into the bill, not printed. When the bill is tilted, small liberty bells in the ribbon will change to the number 100.
Alongside the ribbon are a copper-colored inkwell and a quill. When the bill is tilted, the a green liberty bell will appear within the inkwell. The 100 printed on the lower right of the front of the bill also shifts color when the bill is tilted.
The back of the bill boasts one major, eye-grabbing change: a massive “100″ printed in gold on the right. The large print is designed to help the visually impaired identify the bill. Other changes to the back are less obvious. For example, a ghostly portrait of Franklin will appear in the faded area on the left of the bill (when looking at the reverse, the area is on the right of the bill when looking at the front) when the bill is held up to the light.
Parts of the bill are also covered in micro-printed text, which require a magnifying glass to read. As is usual with the release of new bills, old versions will remain legal tender.