Release of Series 2009 $100 FRNs still on target for Oct. 8

BEP official says latest production problem will not delay circulation
Published : 08/29/13
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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.

Ink ‘mashing’

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.

Production delay

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 and corrected.

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.

Design features

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 ■

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