One-hundred-dollar bills are about to get quite the colorful face-lift.

Starting Tuesday, October 8, the Treasury Department will begin circulating the first newly designed $100 bills since 1996. The Federal Reserve, which authorizes all new currency, made the initial announcement in May 2010, and after a two-and-a-half-year delay the new notes will finally begin deliveries to banks.

The bills features the following counterfeit-protection measures:

  • 3-D security ribbon: This feature will have images that change in appearance as you look at the bill from different angles
  • Portrait watermark: When you hold the bill up to the light, a second, fainter portrait of Benjamin Franklin will appear on the right-hand side.
  • Security thread: Embedded into the bill itself is a tiny thread bearing the number 100 and the letters USA; the thread will glow pink when illuminated by ultraviolet light.
  • Color-shifting 100: The number 100 that appears in the lower-right corner will change color from copper to green as you tilt the bill.

(There are numerous other security elements in the new bill, which you can explore in an interactive manner here.)

Larry Felix, the director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, was in charge of producing the bills. “The 3-D security ribbon is magic," he said. "It is made up of hundreds of thousands of micro-lenses in each note. This is the most complex note the United States has ever produced.”

Here is how the new bills compare with those that began circulating in 1996 and will start to be phased out Tuesday:

New bill:

new 100-dollar bill

Bill that began circulating in March 1996:

old 100-dollar bill


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