Paper Money

Series 2009A $100 FRNs and what designs to expect in the future

After many problems with production, the Series 2009A $100 Federal Reserve notes were finally issued in October 2013. The notes are the most technologically sophisticated notes ever produced by the BEP.

Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Editor’s note: In her September monthly Coin World cover feature, Michele Orzano told the story of small-size notes and how they changed American paper money. This is one of a series of articles from this feature that will appear online at 

Read other posts in the series:

The year 1929 introduced many changes to the American way of life. Perhaps the best known is the Great Depression, triggered by the Oct. 29, 1929, stock market collapse.

But another change occurred a few months before that and is still evident today for those who use or collect paper money. Small-size notes made their debut in the summer of 1929. The decision to downsize paper money and the immediate and long-term effects of the decision are interesting to explore.

The next steps

The culmination of efforts to combat counterfeiters is displayed on the Series 2009A $100 FRNs released into circulation on Oct. 8, 2013, more than two years later than originally announced. 

The new designs for the $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 the cause of the problems were identified and corrected. 

In fact, the letter A after the series year date was added on the new notes to recognize the gap in production between the time the design was approved in 2009 and the time the first notes were released. 

Several new features are found on the notes, the most prominent being an upgraded security thread that is visible without the need to hold the note up to a light source. When the note is tilted back and forth the tiny images of a Liberty Bell and small numeral 100s printed on the blue ribbon appear to move. 

(More information about the security devices can be found on the Bureau of Engraving and Printing website.) 

2020 and beyond

The next denomination up for a redesign is the $10 FRN, scheduled for release in 2020. That is, unless a counterfeiting threat arises against another denomination; if that occurs, then the plan will be changed, officials say. 

The redesigned $10 FRNs will be the first to feature a raised tactile feature to help blind and visually impaired individuals identify the denomination. 

The raised tactile feature was authorized in 2011 to provide accessibility. The accommodations meet the requirement of a court decision in a lawsuit filed in 2002. 

What will future redesigns look like?

That is anyone’s guess. But it means there will be still more history to be written about small-size notes. 

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