The United States one hundred-dollar bill ($100) is a denomination of United States currency. U.S. statesman, inventor, and diplomat Benjamin Franklin is currently featured on the obverse of the bill, while Independence Hall is featured on the reverse. The bill is one of two current notes that does not feature a President of the United States; the other is the United States ten-dollar bill, featuring Alexander Hamilton. It is the largest denomination that has been in circulation since July 14, 1969, when the higher denominations of $500, $1,000, $5,000, $10,000 and $100,000 were retired.
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing says the "average life" of a $100 bill in circulation is 60 months (5 years) before it is replaced due to wear. Approximately 7% of all notes produced today are $100 bills.
One hundred-dollar bills are delivered by Federal Reserve Banks in mustard-colored strips.
On the reverse of the banknote, the time on the clock appears to show 2:22 or 2:23, although 4:10 has also been suggested. The numeral four on the clock face is incorrectly written as "IV" whereas the real Independence Hall (United States) clock face has "IIII". See Roman Numerals in Clocks.
Large size note history
(approximately 7.4218 × 3.125 in ≅ 189 × 79 mm)
- 1861: Three-year 10 dollar Interest Bearing Notes were issued that paid 7.3% interest per year. These notes were not primarily designed to circulate, and were payable to the original purchaser of the dollar bill. The obverse of the note featured a portrait of General Winfield Scott.
- 1862: The first $100 United States Note was issued with a Bald Eagle on the left side of the obverse. Two different variations of this note were issued that resulted in slightly different wording (obligations) on the reverse; the note was issued again in series of 1863.
- 1863: Both one and two and one half year Interest Bearing Notes were issued that paid 5% interest. The one-year Interest Bearing Notes featured a vignette of George Washington in the center, and allegorical figures representing "The Guardian" to the right and "Justice" to the left . The two-year notes featured a vignette of the U.S. treasury building in the center, a farmer and mechanic to the left, and sailors firing a cannon to the right.
- 1863: The first $100 Gold Certificates were issued with a Bald Eagle to the left and large green 100 in the middle of the obverse. The reverse was distinctly printed in orange instead of green like all other U.S. federal government issued notes of the time.
- 1864: Compound Interest Treasury Notes were issued that were intended to circulate for three years and paid 6% interest compounded semi-annually. The obverse is similar to the 1863 one-year Interest Bearing Note.
- 1869: A new $100 United States Note was issued with a portrait of Abraham Lincoln on the left of the obverse and an allegorical figure representing architecture on the right. Although this note is technically a United States Note, TREASURY NOTE appeared on it instead of UNITED STATES NOTE.
- 1870: A new $100 Gold Certificate with a portrait of Thomas Hart Benton on the left side of the obverse was issued. The note was one-sided.
- 1870: One hundred dollar National Gold Bank Notes were issued specifically for payment in gold coin by participating national gold banks. The obverse featured vignettes of Perry leaving the USS St. Lawrence and an allegorical figure to the right; the reverse featured a vignette of U.S. gold coins.
- 1875: The reverse of the series of 1869 United States Note was redesigned. Also, TREASURY NOTE was changed to UNITED STATES NOTE on the obverse. This note was issued again in series of 1878 and 1880.
- 1878: The first $100 Silver Certificate was issued with a portrait of James Monroe on the left side of the obverse. The reverse was printed in black ink, unlike any other U.S. Federal Government issued dollar bill.
- 1882: A new and revised $100 Gold Certificate was issued. The obverse was partially the same as the series 1870 gold certificate; the border design, portrait of Thomas H. Benton, and large word GOLD, and gold-colored ink behind the serial numbers were all retained. The reverse featured a perched Bald Eagle and the Roman numeral for 100, C.
- 1890: One hundred dollar Treasury or "Coin Notes" were issued for government purchases of silver bullion from the silver mining industry. The note featured a portrait of Admiral David G. Farragut. The note was also nicknamed a "watermelon note" because of the watermelon-shaped 0's in the large numeral 100 on the reverse; the large numeral 100 was surrounded by an ornate design that occupied almost the entire note.
- 1891: The reverse of the series of 1890 Treasury Note was redesigned because the treasury felt that it was too "busy" which would make it too easy to counterfeit. More open space was incorporated into the new design.
- 1891: The obverse of the $100 Silver Certificate was slightly revised with some aspects of the design changed. The reverse was completely redesigned and also began to be printed in green ink.
- 1914: The first $100 Federal Reserve Note was issued with a portrait of Benjamin Franklin on the obverse and allegorical figures representing labor, plenty, America, peace, and commerce on the reverse.
- 1922: The series of 1880 Gold Certificate was re-issued with an obligation to the right of the bottom-left serial number on the obverse.
Small size note history
(6.14 × 2.61 in ≅ 156 × 66 mm)
- 1929: Under series of 1928, all U.S. currency was changed to its current size and began to carry a standardized design. All variations of the $100 bill would carry the same portrait of Benjamin Franklin, same border design on the obverse, and the same reverse with a vignette of Independence Hall. The $100 bill was issued as a Federal Reserve Note with a green seal and serial numbers and as a Gold Certificate with a golden seal and serial numbers.
- 1933: As an emergency response to the Great Depression, additional money was pumped into the American economy through Federal Reserve Bank Notes issued under series of 1929. This was the only small-sized $100 bill that had a slightly different border design on the obverse. The serial numbers and seal on it were brown.
- 1934: The redeemable in gold clause was removed from Federal Reserve Notes due to the U.S. withdrawing from the gold standard.
- 1934: Special $100 Gold Certificates were issued for non-public, Federal Reserve bank-to-bank transactions. These notes featured a reverse printed in orange instead of green like all other small-sized notes. The wording on the obverse was also changed to ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS IN GOLD PAYABLE TO THE BEARER ON DEMAND AS AUTHORIZED BY LAW.
- 1950: Many minor aspects on the obverse of the $100 Federal Reserve Note were changed. Most noticeably, the treasury seal, gray numeral 100, and the Federal Reserve Seal were made smaller; also, the Federal Reserve Seal had spikes added around it.
- 1963: Because dollar bills were no longer redeemable in silver, WILL PAY TO THE BEARER ON DEMAND was removed from the obverse of the series 1963 A $100 Federal Reserve Note. The obligation was also changed to its current wording,THIS NOTE IS LEGAL TENDER FOR ALL DEBTS PUBLIC AND PRIVATE. IN GOD WE TRUST was added to the reverse.
- 1966: The first and only small-sized $100 United States Note was issued with a red seal and serial numbers. It was the first of all United States currency to use the new U.S. treasury seal with wording in English instead of Latin. Like the series 1963 $2 and $5 United States Notes, it lacked WILL PAY TO THE BEARER ON DEMAND on the obverse and featured the motto IN GOD WE TRUST on the reverse. The $100 United States Note was issued due to legislation that specified a certain dollar amount of United States Notes that were to remain in circulation. Because the $2 and $5 United States Notes were soon to be discontinued, the dollar amount of United States Notes would drop, thus warranting the issuing of this note.
- 1991: The first new-age anti-counterfeiting measures were introduced under series 1990 with microscopic printing around Franklin's portrait and a metallic security strip on the left side of the bill.
- March 25, 1996: The first major design change in numerous years took place with the adoption of a contemporary style layout. The main intent of the new design was to deter counterfeiting. New security features included a watermark of Franklin to the right side of the bill, optically variable ink (known as O.V.I.) that changed from green to black when viewed at different angles, a higher quality and enlarged portrait of Franklin, and hard-to-reproduce fine line printing around Franklin's portrait and Independence Hall. Older security features such as interwoven red and blue silk fibers, microprinting, and a plastic security thread (which now glows red under a black light) were kept. The individual Federal Reserve Bank Seal was changed to a unified Federal Reserve Seal along with an additional prefix letter being added to the serial number.
- Late 2008: The redesigned $100 bill is expected to be released, receiving design changes analogous to the current $20 bill, $50 bill, $10 bill and $5 bill. According to the Associated Press, the new $100 bills will be released after the re-designed $5 bill is released in March 2008. Although the redesign has been publicized as routine, North Korean counterfeiting operations are a major concern. The new bills will contain a Crane & Co. security feature called Motion™, containing up to 650,000 microlenses embedded in the printing which will allow for the image to shift when the bill is moved. This has been used for the first time ever on the Swedish 1,000-kronor note issued on March 15, 2006.
The $100 bill has many nicknames including:
- C-B, C-note, from the Roman numeral C for 100, and B for Bill;
- Charlie, from the Radio alphabet letter C
- Benjamins, Benjis, Franklin, Frank, Benjy, Ben, or Benny because of Benjamin Franklin's portrait;
- Big one, refers to the largest denomination currently in use;
- 100 Bones, 100 Clams refers to the $1 bill multiplied by 100.