Hundred Dollar Face Lift

AFTER six decades of hard living you might want a face lift too. But in this case, it’s the venerable $100 greenback that getting an extreme makeover. You’ve seen the changes on smaller denominations, but the most amazing is yet to come.

A new security thread has been approved for the C-note. The change is so high tech that the moving micro-printing technology is designed to foil counterfeiters. In fact, the new $100 bill will cause double takes.

The truth of the matter is that the $100 bill is the most frequent target of counterfeiters operating outside the United States. And, let’s face it, with today’s technology, the counterfeiters are armed with ever-more sophisticated computers, scanners and color copiers. Crane & Co. in Dalton, Mass., has secured a $46 million contract to produce the new security threads.

The new security thread looks like it could have originated with Harry Potter, however, the innovations have been the product of decades of development. They combine micro-printing with tiny lenses—up to 650,000 for a single $100 bill. The lenses magnify the micro-printing, making for a truly compelling high-security device.

While other currency was changed, splashed with color and spruced up a bit, the Ben Franklin makeover was delayed while the government searched for a high-tech security device aimed at extra protection. We should see the new bills late next year.

Why the change? The government says $118.1 million in counterfeit U.S. currency was detected in 2006, an increase of 3.8 percent from 2005. Digital copies of the money account for about half of all counterfeit notes in the United States.

Security is the name of the game, and the $100 bill will have it all. Remember the micro-printing with tiny lenses? Move the bill side to side and the image appears to move up and down. Move the bill up and down and the image appears to move from side to side. You’ll know the C-note is authentic if Ben Franklin can dance after its makeover.

About the Author

Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.

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