15 things you never knew about the $100 bill

You probably know the $100 bill is the largest note currently produced by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. You’re also likely aware of which Founding Father is on the $100 bill — politician and inventor Benjamin Franklin. There’s a lot more history behind this bill, however.

The $100 bill is more than just a way to pay for bigger purchases — it contains a great deal of fascinating American history. Take a few minutes to discover these interesting facts about your money.

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Surprising facts about the $100 bill
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Surprising facts about the $100 bill

It Costs 12.5 Cents to Produce

That’s right, every $100 bill comes with a production cost of 12.5 cents. While this might seem small, it’s actually 5 cents more than the cost of the previous version, which was in circulation from 1996 to 2013. In that year, a new design was introduced that made it easier to validate, but more difficult to create counterfeit versions.

Among other design additions, two new security features were added to help spot fake and counterfeit bills — a 3-D security ribbon that changes from bells to 100s when moved and a bell that seems to appear and disappear within the inkwell.

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The 2013 Version Was Two Years Late

The most recent release of the $100 bill was originally planned for 2011 but was delayed two years because of new security features that caused the notes to crease during printing. The end result was that some of the bills were filled with blank spaces. 

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It’s the Second-Highest Bill in Circulation

The $1 bill is the most circulated form of U.S. currency, with 11.7 billion in rotation, according to the Federal Reserve Bank, as of Dec. 31, 2016. The $100 bill might soon take the lead, though, as 11.5 billion Benjamins are currently in circulation. 

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Most $100 Bills Aren’t in America

Our $100 bills are very popular internationally. In fact, 75 percent of $100 bills are held internationally, because the U.S. dollar is the top global international reserve currency, according to a 2016 article in the Wall Street Journal.

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It Has a Longer Lifespan Than All Other American Bills

The $100 bill has an average lifespan of 15 years, according to the Federal Reserve. In comparison, the $1 bill lasts an average of 5.8 years, the $5 bill averages 5.5 years of use, the $10 bill gets 4.5 years, the $20 bill lasts 7.9 years and the $50 stays strong for about 8.5 years. According to the Fed, this is because the $100 bill isn’t used as much as smaller denominations, so it can last longer. 

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Crane & Co. Has Made the Paper Since 1879

Massachusetts-based paper company Crane & Co. has been producing the paper for the $100 bill and all other American notes since 1879. In 1844, the company became the first to embed silk threads in banknote paper, according to its website.

Crane & Co. has also created several anti-counterfeit measures, including advanced security threads, watermarks, planchettes, security fibers, special additives and fluorescent and phosphorescent elements.

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It Could Be Worth $20,000

It's not one of the collectibles that will make you millions, but the first of the new bills that went into circulation on Oct. 8, 2013, with serial No. 1 could make you a small fortune.

In an interview with NBC News, independent dealer Scott Lindquist explained that the serial numbers reset when the new $100 bill was released — a fact that is exciting to collectors. Lindquist estimates the uncirculated bill containing serial No. 1 is worth between $10,000 and $20,000 on the collectors’ circuit. 

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The Time on the Clock Was Changed on the New Bill

If you have an eye for detail, you might have noticed that the time on Independence Hall’s bell tower clock on the back of the old $100 bill read 4:10. It was changed to 10:30, however, on the new ones.

No one seems to know why either of these times was chosen, but both images — the north and south views — were engraved by J.C. Benzing in the 1920s. It is assumed that he took pictures of the building at different times of day, which would explain the clock discrepancy.

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Benjamin Franklin Has Been on It for 100 Years

While many people think there is a $100 bill president, the truth is that Benjamin Franklin's face graces this note — and has since 1914. Since then, the currency has gone through several re-issues, but it has remained the Benjamin Franklin $100 bill.

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The 1996 $100 Bill Was the First to Get a General Seal

Before the issue of the previous version of the $100 in 1996, each bill contained the seal of a specific Federal Reserve Bank. In 1996, individual seals were replaced with a general seal denoting the entire Federal Reserve System.

The $1 and $2 bills still contain District seals, but bills of a higher denomination now boast the general seal. 

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The Paper Is Very Distinct

While technically made from paper, the $100 bill has a texture much richer than standard copy paper. That’s because Federal Reserve note paper is composed of 25 percent linen and 75 percent cotton. It also has red and blue security fibers.

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It Has a Cue for the Visually Impaired

Chances are, you’ve noticed the large gold 100 on the back of the $100 bill, but it’s not a flashy design touch. The 100 was put in place to help people with visual impairments distinguish the bill from other denominations. 

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More Than a Billion New $100 Bills Will Enter Circulation in FY 2018

On July 20, 2017, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors submitted an order for nearly 1.7 billion new $100 bills, set to enter circulation in Fiscal Year 2018. The print order was made by denomination and based on destruction rates and historical payments to and receipts from circulation.

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Benjamin Franklin’s Shoulder Is Rough to the Touch

If you’ve ever run your finger over Benjamin Franklin’s shoulder on the $100 bill, you might have noticed it’s rough to the touch on the left side. This is not a flaw unique to your particular bill; it’s actually caused by the enhanced intaglio printing process used to produce the portrait. 

Photo credit: Getty

The Franklin Association Is Uncertain

If you're like many Americans, you might be wondering, "Why is Benjamin Franklin on the $100 bill?" After all, he was never president like Washington or Lincoln.

The truth is, there’s a lack of credible information for the reason his portrait graces the currency. It likely has something to do with Franklin being one of the Founding Fathers, alongside George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and James Monroe.

Up Next: $20 Hidden Secrets of the $1 Bill 

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 15 Things You Never Knew About the $100 Bill

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