Wednesday, December 8, 2010

One Billion 100 Dollar Bills Misprinted

Dec 7, 2010 Paul Johnson

100 Dollar Bill (front) -

100 Dollar Bill (front) -

Sometimes you have to wonder if the government can do anything right, especially when it comes to the economy. If they touch it, it will fail many Americans insist as their frustrations with both the economy and administration continue to mount. To add insult to injury, government fails yet again.

With 10 percent of the U.S. cash supply at hand, the government has had to quarantine more than 1 billion newly printed 100 dollar bills that contained state of the art three dimensional and color shifting anti counterfeiting security measures.

A problem with the press caused some of the bills to crease causing a blank space on the bill. Some feel the press simply could not meet the demand of the high tech 100 dollar bill and mixed the flawed bills in with the good bills. Sorting 1 billion 100 dollar bills by hand is estimated to take 20 to 30 years while a mechanized system could complete the task in one year.

Treasury Secretary

These were the first bills slated to adorn the signature of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. To compensate for the shortfall in the U.S. cash supply, the government has issued a production order for the old 100 dollar bills which are ironically adorned with the signature of the Bush administration’s Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

CNBC reports that the quarantined 100 dollar bills totaling some 110 billion dollars will have to be stored in vaults in Fort Worth, Texas and Washington, D.C. in “cash packs” of four bundles of $4,000.00.

Cost of error

At any given time there are 6.6 billion dollars in 100 dollar notes in circulation. The government however, is confident that the newly printed bills we eventually be placed into circulation and printing the older version of the 100 dollar bill will prevent disruption in the circulation of the rapidly deteriorating note. It cost $120,000,000.00 to produce the flawed bills (double the cost of its predecessor) while the cost to sort the bills is not estimated at this time. Though the finger pointing has begun in order to find blame for the error, it could be far worse.

According to, during fiscal year 2010 approximately 26 million notes per day were produced with a face value of 974 million dollars. In 2009, 1,785,600,000 100 dollar notes were produced. The faux pas is literally a drop in the bucket. However, for many it represents a government struggling to find success in anything economic.

Money facts by

The U.S. Department of the Treasury first issued paper U.S. currency in 1862 to make up for the shortage of coins and to finance the Civil War.

The first paper notes were printed in denominations of 1 cent, 5 cents, 25 cents, and 50 cents.

A $1 bill lasts 18 months; $5 bill, two years; $10 bill, three years; $20 bill, four years; and $50 and $100 bills, nine years.

Since there are 490 notes in a pound, if you used $1 bills it would weigh 2,040.8 pounds, but if you used $100 bills it would weigh only 20.4 pounds.

41 other Odd Money Facts by

Copyright Paul Johnson. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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