RSS
$100 bill redesign: By the numbers
Each new C-note costs only 12 cents to print, but will pose big hassles for counterfeiters — including the kingpin of ersatz currency, Kim Jong Il
America's fancy new Benjamin is (nearly) inimitable.
America's fancy new Benjamin is (nearly) inimitable.
US Mint
T

he elaborately redesigned $100 bill won't hit the streets until February 2011, but it's already got people talking, both here and abroad. As the most-widely circulated bill in the world, the Benjamin is also the most counterfeited — thus the colorful and technically complex new bells and whistles. Here are some numerical facts and figures about the C-note:

11.8
The cost, in cents, to make each new $100 bill, up from 8 cents currently

650,000
Number of light-shifting "micro lenses" in the new 3-D security thread on each bill

$46 million
Estimated value of the government's contract with Crane & Co., the Mass. company that makes the threads

89
Life span, in months, of the typical $100 bill

1996
The year of the $100 bill's last redesign

1862
The year of the first $100 bill issued by the U.S. government

1914
The year Benjamin Franklin first appeared on the $100 bill

1:10,000
Ratio of counterfeit to legitimate U.S. currency notes in circulation, according a 2006 U.S. Treasury report

1:3
Ratio of counterfeit to legitimate U.S. currency notes in circulation during the Civil War

$45 million
The amount of counterfeit $100 bills, or "supernotes," made by North Korea, according to a 2009 Congressional Research Service report

$200,000
The amount of counterfeit cash passed in New York City each week, according to one expert

6.5 billion
Number of $100 bills in circulation

66
Estimated percentage of C-notes circulating outside U.S. borders

25
Number of languages the Treasury is using to spread information about the new bills

$31.4 billion
Increase in the volume of $100 bills in circulation in 2009

4:10
The time on Independence Hall's clock on the back of the $100 bill


Sources: CNN, New York Times (2), Helium, Wall St. Journal (2), U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, CBS MoneyWatch, NewMoney.gov, Treasury Department, AP

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week