CATEGORY: Miscellaneous



By Cynthia M. Jeffries

Daily Journal

They might look a little strange, but they are legal.

New $100 bills issued by the Federal Reserve Bank should make their debut in Northeast Mississippi soon.

The new money features a larger, off-centered picture of Benjamin Franklin and different placement of the words “The United States of America” as well as several other security features added in hopes of cutting down on counterfeiting. Banks already have the new hundreds and should start disbursing them in early March.

The older model $100 bills are still legal and usable, said Pete Allison, a secret service agent from Oxford who was in Tupelo on Monday advising Tupelo police officers of the new cash. There is no recall plan in place for for the older bills.

The new $100 bill is still the same size and color and has the same feel as the old note. Franklin’s face is still the focal point of the bill, it’s just a lot bigger and a little off center now.

Old counterfeit-deterrent features like a bar code that’s visible when the bill is held to a light and red and blue security threads are still there. Added is a hidden picture of Franklin’s face visible from both sides only when held to a light. Fine lines are printed behind Franklin’s face as well as on the back portrait of Independence Hall, making the bill more difficult for counterfeiters to copy.

Color shrinking ink also was added to the lower right number to make it appear green when viewed straight on and black when looked at from an angle. Also, an additional letter was added to the serial number.

The new money, which cost $765,000 to design, is the result of a five-year study. More than 120 security features were examined before the eight that are being used were agreed upon.

“(Counterfeiting) is not as big of a problem here in Mississippi as it is in other larger metropolitan areas like New York or Los Angeles,” Allison said.

The $20 and $100 bills are the most counterfeited notes, Allison said. Though the government started with the $100 bill, plans are to change each denomination over the next few years, but the bills may not all contain the same changes.

Until the 1920s, U.S. currency was redesigned frequently. There were also several types of notes used in this country, including United States, National Bank and Silver certificates. Except for a few changes, the look of money has remained the same since 1928.

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