Beginning in February, 1996, the United States Treasury will begin
circulating newly designed counterfeit-resistant $100 bills. The old
bills will still be worth their face value but eventually they will
end up in a shredder as they are replaced by the newer
At the end of 1996, the U.S. Treasury Department will begin
redesigning other denominations, starting with the $50 bill. The new
bill is strikingly American, but it does have some significant changes
that, together, will make it difficult to replicate. The government
plans a $31 million “educational” campaign to inform people about
these changes such as the polyester security thread, embedded
vertically in the paper which indicates the bill's denomination and
glows red when viewed under ultraviolet light.
The chart to the right indicates many of the new features built into
the bill and what they are for.
It has been claimed that this is the first major change in the
appearance of our paper money since 1929. The Treasury Department
wants to stay ahead of the counterfeiting threat. There is $390
billion of U.S. currency in circulation and 66 percent of it is
circulating outside the United States.
In Russia, where the dollar has supplanted the ruble as the dominant
currency, there is from $15 billion to $20 billion in circulation. And
15 percent to 20 percent of that total is believed to be counterfeit,
in the form of what is called “supernotes.” These are near-perfect
counterfeit $100 bills, produced somewhere in the Middle East,
apparently under protection of the Syrian military.
The Federal Reserve’s sophisticated scanners accept the “supernote.”
When first examined at the Secret Service’s laboratory in Washington,
it was pronounced genuine by a top analyst. The bill even has a
distinctive translucent polymer thread embedded in the paper—a
technical feat that took the American company that supplies currency
paper to the Treasury years to perfect.
Over the past year, rumors have been making the rounds as to what this
all means. Does the government intend to flush out all those who deal
strictly with cash? It all depends on how they handle the bill's
introduction into the economy. If it is through regular attrition...
there should be no problem... However, given the IRS's proclivity in
scrutinizing cash transactions at the bank, it is probably advisable
to change over the bills gradually, and not huge sums at one
Furthermore, we don't know if the new money is anymore trackable than
the old money—sometimes people have a tendency to give technology in
this area more capabilities than exist. But we all know that the real
money is gold and silver, anyway...__ERR