Arthur Shippee forwarded this New York Times article which makes comparisons between the current and newly-unveiled 2011 versions of the U.S. $100 bill.
Last week, the Treasury Department introduced its new $100 bill, a redesign intended to frustrate high-tech counterfeiters when it goes into circulation Feb. 10.
The $100 bill, a favorite of forgers, is not only the highest-value denomination in general circulation, but also the most widely distributed and most counterfeited outside the United States.
Perhaps anticipating the criticism that accompanies anything new, a special-effects-laden “unveiling” video released by Treasury reveals a sensuously undulating $100 note as it enumerates the bill's security features.
But how does the look of the new $100 bill compare with its predecessor?
Old: The off-center oval is too large and
New: Adding Franklin's shoulders and removing
the background avoids the unbalanced look.
Old: The green is elegantly traditional.
New: The shifting-colored hues gives the bill a
BACKGROUND AND WATERMARKS
New: Too many and they look like smudges.
Old: Comparatively simple, yet the seals, type and other
graphic elements seem disjointed and appear random.
New: Many obtrusive graphic elements, including the
security bars and watermarks, yet curiously the overall
design is more unified.
SECURITY RIBBON AND THREAD
Old: Not there.
New: Necessarily obtrusive. Gives the
impression of a credit card or money order.
FILIGREE (THE BORDER AROUND THE BILL)
Old: Classic application gives the note an
official banknote aesthetic.
New: Reductivist and minimal application
lightens the note and implies modernity but
could unwittingly suggest deflation.
Old: Well positioned in relation to filigree.
New: Smaller is better, but the numbers are not
well integrated into the filigree, making them
look like an afterthought.
BELL IN INKWELL (IN ORANGE)
Old: Not there.
New: Playful and unnecessary.
DENOMINATION IN WORDS
Old: Elegantly composed as part of the filigree.
New: Squeezed too close to Franklin's forehead.
Old: Clear and unencumbered.
New: Harder to read against watermarks and
somewhat less legible for players of liar's poker.
The pole-dancing banknote video was a little much, I thought, but it did serve the purpose of illustrating the color-changing inks and other features. I have to agree that the background looks smudged, but I guess that's the price of counterfeit prevention.
To read the complete article, see:
Anatomy of a Benjamin
Wayne Homren, Editor
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