25/11/2013 06:12 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 16:01 GMT

Mystery, Excitement Flow in Equal Measure Over 'SuperDollar' Makeover

It must be a sheer coincidence, but here it is. When American government went into shutdown mode, a new Benjamin was out after much delay at production stages. Does it seem to speak of the better days to come? Go ahead and place your bets, it just might be the case.

After a decade of being in design, and few attempts of getting botched up while in production, America's Fed Reserve finally released brand new $100 greenbacks little over four weeks ago. The bill generated quite an amount of curiosity over the design elements.

Nicknamed the 'SuperDollar' the $100 bill continues to garner the coveted seat of being the largest denomination in circulation. The dollar bills have long been called 'Benjamins' - ever since his image was engraved on the bills. One of the founding fathers of America, Benjamin Franklin's portrait has been adorning the bills since 1929.

With its arrival, the nation of hopes has been divided into two, with significant number of people preferring to sit on the fence on the matter.

The new bill has some features that can turn into a challenge for the counterfeiters. For instance, the bemused graze of Benjamin Franklin with microscopic text woven into his colonial collar bordering the golden feather, three-dimensional security ribbon in blue along the left side of Franklin's face, optically variable ink on the digit '100' that changes from copper to green upon tilting the note with another '100' appearing at its back, with a new image of traditional inkwell (in the front) and a gold feather pen.

A disappearing Liberty Bell in gold color makes for the other image on the currency note, upholding the spirit of American freedom.

The bill features excerpts from the Declaration of Independence on the "right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government". The color of the bill too is vibrant, moving away from the conventional blue/grey shade, which was in circulation since 1969. The average life of the bill is pitted at 60 months, before it can be replaced due to wearing off.

The printing technology has also been upgraded with the new bill. It has witnessed raised printing, micro-printing, and a cosmetic redesign that couples the aesthetics with high-security elements.

Evolution of the $100 Dollar Bill in the United States
Infographic Evolution by Landmark Cash.

Source: $100 Bill in the United States

It's strange, but predictions on the new bill are acquiring new versions every day. While rationalists are celebrating the signs of 'comeback' of American economy (if it really is) with a slightly squirming Benjamin staring into their face right from the bill, some prognosticators and fear mongers feel the new bill predicts a nuclear attack on New York City or a tidal wave wiping out significant number of lives.

Whatever be the case, the new bill has seen a bright welcome. In a country where the sun never went down, where the economy and growth rate had seen better days, a new currency note of high value surely brings some hope to the otherwise unpredictable population staring into an unsure future.

Let's come to the economy of the bill. Experts say that the new bills cost a minimum of 4 cents as against the old ones, when sent into production. When you look at the macro-picture, new bills will cost taxpayers a good $100 million every year to produce.


There is probably one prediction done in real time that's going to ring true in the near future. While being the highest denomination currency in the world, the $100 bill is also the most highly counterfeited currency in the world. Changed features are sure to pose some hard challenge to the counterfeit experts. Fed Reserve has always exercised some kind of caution about the North Korean elements entering the country, especially with high ranks.

This totalitarian state which has long since been quarantined from global economy has proven its skills at creating and setting counterfeit American currency into the open, when its diplomats visit the USA.

The fake currencies are set into motion in small portions through dingy places such as stores, casinos, small bars, night clubs, small restaurants, take-aways, with its 'nearly perfect' super notes. The magnitude of this may dawn when you realize fake currency worth $45 million was released by North Korea in the United States, while an embassy in Eastern Europe generated nearly $ 35 million (US) through exchange of counterfeit notes a year.