A production problem discovered in July will not affect the release
of new Series 2009 $100 Federal Reserve notes. They will be released
into circulation Oct. 8, as planned, according to a spokeswoman at the
Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
A shipment of 30 million Series 2009 $100 Federal Reserve notes
sent to the Federal Reserve Board in July was returned to the BEP
after Fed officials made a routine and brief inspection of the
shipment and discovered some notes with excessive ink, according to
the BEP spokeswoman.
Several news outlets around the country carried the story about
the returned notes and incorrectly stated that all of the notes would
have to be destroyed.
That is not the case, according to the BEP. The number of damaged
notes is less than 0.5 percent of the returned shipment, according to
the BEP spokeswoman.
Examples of the notes were recently on public display in Rosemont,
Ill., at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money.
Also on hand was U.S. Treasurer Rosa “Rosie” Gumataotao Rios,
whose signature appears on the new $100 notes. She showed one of the
notes to collectors during a presentation at the convention.
Rios also autographed other notes for collectors during the convention.
The cause of the excessive ink on the notes is described as
“mashing,” according to the spokeswoman. The notes were printed at the
BEP’s Washington, D.C., plant.
The term “mashing” refers to what happens when too much ink is
applied to a printing plate. The result is that when the inked plate
comes in contact with the paper, the plate forces the ink to blur the design.
The printing presses take some time to come up to full production
speeds, so the early sheets going through the press are usually
removed because that’s when “mashing” can occur, according to the spokeswoman.
The BEP is “still investigating the issue to find out how this
happened,” and why the damaged sheets were not removed during the
inspection process, according to the spokeswoman.
The returned Series 2009 $100 FRNs will be reinspected to remove
the unacceptable notes, and the fit notes will be returned to the
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for circulation.
Until the investigation is completed, production of the new $100
FRNs is stopped at the Washington plant.
The remaining 185 million $100 notes left to fulfill the Federal
Reserve order will be completed by the BEP’s Western Currency Facility
in Fort Worth, Texas. The BEP spokeswoman said the Fort Worth plant is
ahead on its production schedule but will still need to accelerate
production to meet the Sept. 30 deadline for delivery to the Federal Reserve.
Production of the Series 2009 $100 FRNs began at the Texas
facility two years ago, whereas production at the Washington plant
only began in February 2013.
This is the second production problem that has surfaced regarding
the highly sophisticated new $100 FRNs.
The new designs for the Series 2009 $100 FRNs were unveiled April
21, 2010, and the notes were expected to be placed into circulation
Feb. 10, 2011. However, problems that arose early in the production of
the notes resulted in delays as causes of the problems were identified
The BEP identified sporadic creasing of the paper during printing
of the new $100 note. The creasing problem was tied to the wide, blue
3-D security ribbon that is woven into the paper when it is made. The
ribbon represents a new form of technology not previously used on any
U.S. paper money.
Once the BEP identified a problem, production of the new notes was
suspended. The creasing problem was resolved in late 2011 through a
number of “process changes” including modifying the paper feeder on
the printing presses to accommodate variations in the paper associated
with the 3-D security ribbon, according to a BEP official.
The 3-D security ribbon is an optically variable device with
650,000 tiny glass domes, called micro lenses, crammed into it.
The micro lenses act as magnifiers for the multiple microprinted
images of a bell and the numeral 100 on the thread. When the note is
tilted, the images in the strip appears to be moving.
The 3-D ribbon was developed by Crane, of Dalton, Mass., the firm
that has had an exclusive contract to supply currency paper to the BEP
since 1879. The OVD technology is named Motion.
Treasury, BEP and Federal Reserve officials have said the added
anti-counterfeiting devices will make it easier for the public to
authenticate but more difficult for counterfeiters to replicate the
new $100 FRNs.
While the designs of the new $100 notes have some similarity to
the designs introduced with the Series 1996 notes, the Series 2009
$100 notes have more in common with the most recent designs used for
the $5 to $50 FRNs.
The latest round of redesigns of Federal Reserve notes began in
2003 when splashes of color and additional security devices were added
to the Series 2004 $20 FRN. Other denominations were similarly
upgraded: Series 2004 $50 notes, Series 2004A $10 notes and Series
2006 $5 FRNs.
For more information about the Series 2009 $100 FRNs, as well as
training and educational materials, visit www.newmoney.gov. ■