With the fanfare of a hard cough, the Federal Reserve released the new $100 Federal Reserve Note on Tuesday, October 8, 2013 to financial institutions. Various factors will effect how quickly these notes are seen in circulation including the demand and ordering policy of the financial institutions. In fact, the launch was introduced with a video by Sonja Danburg, Program Manager of the U.S. Currency Education Program at the Federal Reserve.
This launch is three years in the making as Bureau of Engraving and Printing reported problems with folding during the printing of the new notes. The announcement on April 21, 2010 said that the new notes would be released on February 10, 2011. On October 1, 2010, the Federal Reserve announced that the new note would be delayed. Later, the folding problems were revealed following a report released by the Treasury Office of the Inspector General.
The reason for the new notes are for the addition of security features. Aside from the ecurity thread, portrait watermark, color-shifting ink, microprinting, and the strategic use of color, the new note has a 3-D security ribbon and the use of color-shifting ink used to reveal a bell in the inkwell. If you look at the blue ribbon on the front of the note, tilt the note and watch the bells on the ribbon change to “100s” as the reflection of light changes. The 3-D ribbon is embedded in the paper and not printed. Looking at the copper-colored inkwell on the front of the note, tilting the note will reveal a bell that was embedded using color-shifting ink. Using these light sensitive features, the Federal Reserve hopes to significantly reduce the number of counterfeit notes, especially overseas where half of the $100 notes are known to circulate.
The Federal Reserve released a video about the new anti-counterfeiting features:
As an aside, the Bank of England recently announced that they will be transitioning to polymer banknotes by 2015.