Our story begins in 2010 when the United States announced that it would be issuing a state-of-the-art $100 bill. Designed to thwart counterfeiters, the new bill has 3-D interactive features. When you move it, certain shapes and colors shift. There is also a disappearing Liberty Bell.
The bill, though, encountered a huge glitch that delayed its introduction. Because it creased on the assembly line, areas were blank. Not all were defective, but no one was sure how many. With more than one billion bills being printed, the quality check was sure to take a long time. It took almost 3 years.
Since then we have a new Secretary of the Treasury but his predecessor’s name, Timothy Geithner is on the bill. Having sat unspent, the purchasing power of each bill has diminished. To buy what $100 would have gotten you in 2010, you need $107.26 today.
Even with the shutdown, the bills are being rolled out as scheduled. Printed from 2010 until now by the Treasury (where no one is answering the phone), they are distributed by the Federal Reserve which is functioning normally. Looking ahead, at a cost of 12.6 cents per bill, the Fed has ordered more $100s next year.
According to this record of the Fed’s printing order for 2014, they need more 100s than dollars! (below):
With most $100 bills outside the US, Fed Chair Ben Bernanke has estimated that only one-third of all $100 notes might be circulating here. The reason it is widely held abroad? It is the quintessential example of what economists say money should be. Its value is relatively stable. Most of us know what it will purchase. People accept it as a medium of exchange almost anywhere. (It is also handy for illegal transactions.)
These are the 10 foreign nations that hold the most $100 bills:
Sources and resources: We first wrote a post about the new bills during December 2010 and restated some of its content. I accessed he wonderful APM marketplace infographic here and my table was from the Fed and the picture of the bill was from here. More of the new $100 bill’s story is here from Bloomberg.