The New $100 Bill's Shaky Reception


The Atlantic gathers from all o'er the World Wide Web mockery and disdain for our forthcoming $100 dollar bill. It seems to be the most frustrating redesign since the Onion's Sunday Magazine.

Why should we care? Well, because of the possibility that all of our pockets may be full of them in the next decade (and not because we are so prosperous). If you don't love the look of this hard-to-fake specimen, you can still exchange 11 or 12 of them for an ounce of gold.

NEXT: "Yes, people are hurting. That's why we need a tax increase."

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  1. I read this morning that the government was making some changes to the $100 bill. I wondered, “will Reason approve of this?”

    Shocker. They don’t.

    1. It’s not just reason, Edward. Lots of people that aren’t Euro-wannabes don’t like it either.

      It’s OK. They can make the $100,000 bill more “American.” Coming soon to a wallet in your pocket.

    2. Where did it say that Reason didn’t like it?

    3. If you do like that ugly ass thing, you have no taste in art. And a liberal without taste in art is virtually worthless.

  2. I want a $500 bill, hyper-inflaion or not. $500 in 2010 is only worth a C-note in 1972 dollars.

  3. We should be celebrating the continued presence of a know libertine and womanizer on our esteem currency.

  4. Can they at least use a Ben Franklin pic that looks less disappointed in being spent?

    1. How did that go… a C-note saved is a C-note earned?

  5. I like how they put the “specimen” watermark on it. I’ve got a specimen for those clowns.

  6. I suggest they remove the S P E C I M E N S P E C I M E N S P E C I M E N S P E C I M E N S P E C I M E N S P E C I M E N S P E C I M E N S P E C I M E N S P E C I M E N S P E C I M E N S P E C I M E N S P E C I M E N S P E C I M E N S P E C I M E N S P E C I M E N all over it. It gives me a headache.

    1. That’s a legally required disclosure for the DNA sample the bill takes from each person who handles it.

  7. What’s next, the colourful Monopoly money Canadians call currency? Maybe the deleterious effect of frostbacks such as myself is to blame.

    1. As long as we don’t get all those fucking coins I can live with it.

      1. I like coins. I think the US should get rid of the dollar bill.

        1. FUCK YOU. Coins are evil. Go to London sometime. You end up walking around with a huge bulge in your pocket, and it’s not from your dick, not that your dick is anywhere near the size of mine.

          1. Loonie. There’s a purportedly major country with a coin called the loonie.

            1. It’s not a major country.

              “You’re supposed to throw your dope away before you get to the border! Ya fucked up!”

              1. Hey, Canada is rich and has a territory called Nunavut, which means “Fuck you” in Nunavutian.

            2. Yeah, it has 11 sides. Which I will never forget as I threw in an ironic aside in a Materials Engineering paper about Canadians being the world’s leader in non-round coins, and my prof asked for a citation.

              1. Susan B dollar is 13-sided. Well sorta, the face is.

          2. And try getting a coin into a stripper’s g-string sometime.

            1. That’s why they call it a coin-slot, John.

            2. Try not being so goddamn cheap!

            3. I would be really surprised if strippers still take singles at this point. Not that I’ve been in one’s thrall anytime recently.

          3. I’ve been to London and various other places that use more coins. I like it.

    2. As long as we don’t get all those fucking coins I can live with it.

      1. Almost as bad as having to carry massive amounts of change is the cutesy nicknames. One can be all about the Benjamins, but no one is all about the twoonies.

        1. How are you supposed to make it rain at a strip club if all you have are coins?

          1. Make it hail!

            1. Yeah, like I want my strippers with even more bruises.

    3. What’s next, the colourful Monopoly money Canadians call currency?

      At least Canadian money is backed by hard assets.Well if maple syrup and beaver pelts can be called “hard”.

      1. Heh, pelting your beaver makes me hard…..

      2. Yeah, but how much beaver can you get with a twoonie? If my math is correct, it works out to about 1.8 seconds with Eliot Spitzer’s “escort”.

        1. Dear, don’t you think you were a little hard on the Beaver last night?

          1. Not sure if that’s an original line or not, but damn it made me laugh 🙂

  8. The well of rejected sleeve designs for “They’re still around? Why?”-era Gang of Four records is deeper than I thought.

  9. …you can still exchange 11 or 12 of them for an ounce of gold.

    Uh, yeah. Once upon a time you could exchange one of them for five ounces of gold. What the hell happened? (as if we didn’t already know.)

  10. What’s that orange thing to the right of the blue stripe?

    1. As I read in the paper this morning, it’s…

      …a disappearing Liberty Bell in an inkwell…

      I find the imagery of our liberty vanishing in a well of legal ink quite timely and poignant.

    2. What’s that orange thing to the right of the blue stripe?

      seems like a jar of plum jam.

  11. Why did they put Ben Franklin’s chamberpot on the front of the bill?

    1. Because they’re trying to hand you a crock of shit?

      1. Or rather, because the bill is backed up with a crock of shit.

  12. Are the blue stripe and the grease spot on the right actually part of the design?

    1. Yup. The latter is a watermark: hold the bill up to the light and see Ben again.

      It just kills me that our money gets ugly and uglier. A good designer could incorporate the anti-counterfeiting features into a more pleasing design. Old U.S. currency has a nice dignity to it that we’re losing.

      1. Wouldn’t the best anti-counterfeiting feature be to shut down the Fed?

  13. Awesome trick:

    1. Take any of the modern bills and slap it on a all-in-one printer scanner.

    2. Try to run a straight copy (from machine’s front panel).

    Result: Half the bill is printed on the copy function, then the machine stops, dumps one line of text and spits it out. What’s the line of text? Also, modern versions of Photoshop (version 7 and above I believe), CorelDRAW, et al will watermark scans of both dollars and Euro notes. Compare the bright yellow denomination numbers on American fiat specimens with the depicted constellations on their European counterparts. They’re the same pattern, and its that pattern that tips-off modern hardware and software to the presence of currency in the image pipeline.

    I know of these things because I used to do digital imaging firmware integration for a living, and inadvertently found this odd bit of code while doing image QA. The printer manufacturer was quite irritated when I began inquiring about this behavior, because it could lead to consumer complaints (“call generators” in the parlance) if some images would inadvertently set off this stupid counterfeit-guard scheme that was supposed to be hush-hush between the OECD, Secret Service, and the printer-maker.

    Just saying, its fun behavior to play with.

    1. Interesting and unsurprising. What about programs like the Gimp and other open source software? I assume they dont have this behavior.

      1. I think that the detection and marking happens at the firmware level in the scanner.

        1. He also referred to Photoshop and CorelDRAW watermarking. The detection and marking happens in the hardware, but the software still has to do something with it.

          1. Good point. I think I will go home tonight and scan some money and look at it in Grub.

            1. Say Hi to the secret service agents for me.

              1. Yar.

  14. To truly honor Franklin, there should be a French woman on the backside.

    1. Or even more apropos for Franklin, a French woman’s backside. 🙂

    2. Don’t you mean “a French woman on her backside”? Or perhaps just “A French woman’s backside.”

    3. The Statue of Liberty is French, after all.

  15. If there’s anyone I’d love to have a chat’d be my boy Benny.

    What a fucking Renaissance Man. Is it fair to say that he is the greatest and that Thomas Jefferson was the last of their kind?

    Seriously, how the fuck does a 15-year-old pen create Silence Dogood?

    Ben, even though I’m not into it, I’d let you fuck me in the ass just for the bragging rights. I’d be shrieking through it all, “AAAAGH!…so tell me! AAAAGGGH! About AAAGGGH! your theory of conductivi—YEAAAAAAAAWWWW!

    He’d probably bring his A game. Fuckin’ split my ass in two. Take half of it home with him.

    1. Dude, calm down. There’s no need to be anally violated by Ben Franklin. I’m sure he’d just make you blow him instead.

      1. Yeah. It’s not like he was gay or something.

        1. Just don’t say he looks like a pirate. Makes him insane.

  16. I’m confused. What is the objection to colorful money?

    The only problem with US mony that I have is all the goddamn presidents on it. Franklin is a hell of a guy, so the new 100 is alright by me. What I want to see in money is a return to having allegorical representation of Liberty and good stuff like that on our money.

    1. Bet you’re gay.

      1. I’ll take that bet. Just tell me how much and send me a check.

        1. Sorry, the correct response is “No I’m not.” You fail the nerd pop quiz challenge for today, sir.

    2. It’s just…too gay for words. You know something was designed by the government when each generation gets uglier and uglier.

      Google Delaware Bridge Company Dollar to see what a private currency looks like. Classy, refined, has a cute girl on it.

      1. So, “it’s gay” seems to be the only objection. So homophobic shitheads should get to decide what money should look like?

        There are no real objections. Good.

        1. I’m not homophobic. That doesn’t mean I don’t think certain things look gay. In particular, gay stuff often looks gay.

        2. Yeah, pretty much.
          Works for me.

    3. After making alot of international trips, I have come to appreciate other currencies where the bills are different sizes and all dramatically diffferent in color.

      The US lost a major suit to the blind people. I assume that currency with different sized bills for each denomination will come to the US eventually.

      1. Least favorite thing. Yes, you can tell the bills apart when they are different sizes, but I cant fucking stack them in my wallet properly.

        Absolutely hated it when I lived in Switzerland. Coins/spree-colored money whatever, I can deal. But make the bills the same fucking size. Put braille dots on them if the blind need help.

        1. I occasionally had problems with a large-denomination bill being to big to fit in my American-issue wallet. But, I generally had no trouble sorting bills and stacking them in my wallet.

          In fact, it is nearly impossible to accidently mix a fiver in with a bunch of ones and hand it off to someone without catching it.

          1. I generally had no trouble sorting bills

            See, thats the problem. I dont sort my money, I put them in my wallet in no order whatsoever and they stack nicely, because they are the same size. Then, I LOOK AT THEM, when I pull them out to spend.

            I had to sort my money to make it work at all in my wallet, and even then, as you mentioned, I sometimes had problems with the larger bills.

            1. I always sort the bills in my wallet. Have for as long as I can remember.

              Bills in a pocket are a differnt matter.

            2. Oh, and I don’t sort them because I’m OCD. I’m an engineer, and it was always about risk management. It reduces the probability of handling someone the wrong bill. Still anal, but in a different sort of way.

        2. Of course, being in England and having to deal with 1 pound and 2 pound coins a real bitch. It really easy to find your self carrying $20 or $30 in coin weighing down your pocket.

          On the other hand, after the major inflation in Russia, you would have the smallest bill worth a fraction of a US cent.

          So I’ve seen both extremes.

          1. You wouldn’t have liked living in Montana before 1965, then.

            Paper dollars were not used, all they used for ones were silver dollars.

            Real fucking cartwheels. God, I wish I still had me some.

  17. Franklin does not look happy.

  18. Who the hell gives two shits what money looks like? The government could put Tricky Dick on the five and make him bright orange for all I care as long as they can make it so that bill is still worth more than a cheeseburger in 2020.

  19. You think it’s possible to incorporate listening devices in currency today? Miniaturization being what it is and all.

    1. That’s why my wallet contains a Faraday cage. Which also, conveniently, blocks RFID sniffers.

      1. See, this is why technology is our friend.

        1. Unfortunately, the Faraday cage is also the basis for the tinfoil hat. (see entry in link about Booster Bags)

          I suppose if a fear is reasonable, it isn’t paranoia, right?

          1. The flip side is to drive your enemies so insane that your paranoia becomes an accurate view of reality. Thus we explain Episiarch.

          2. I line my Dockers(tm) with aluminum foil.

          3. An ungrounded tinfoil hat is as likely to act as an antenna as it is to act as a shield. I happen to work in the field of hat grounding. Specialties are where the big money is.

            1. The biggest mistake in tinfoil haberdashery is using aluminum foil instead of tin. Aluminum magnifies signals instead of shielding.

  20. I love how you all get so twisted about a redesign of the currency.
    Wait until they start printing it on plastic folks . . .

    Welcome to the 90’s Reasonoids . . .

  21. I don’t want to worry anyone, but rumor has it the U.S. Treasury is working on a Mao note.

  22. I think it would have been more appropriate if the ink well was full of red ink, since that’s the status of the country’s finances.

  23. BAH! Paper currency is so 17th century. What we need is a U.S. Treasury debit card.

    1. Smart card!

    2. Biometrics; just put your thumbprint down.

    3. What we need is a U.S. Treasury debit card.

      I got mine!

      1. Me too!

  24. American currency desperately needs an overhaul. If I were given control, here’s what I’d do:

    1) Eliminate the penny. If you really want, you can still have pennies in non-cash transactions, but I’d personally just round everything to the nearest five cents. Yeah, it’d be a pain in the ass for a while, with all the cash register companies having to redesign their software, but in the long run it’d be worth it.

    2) Get a real fucking dollar coin. Coloring it gold was a good first step; still having it be the same size as a quarter is just stupid. Look at the old Eisenhower dollars; that’s the way to go. Gold-colored large coins for dollars. Yeah, it’s heavier than bills, but most of us use credit or debit cards for most transactions anyways. Coins are harder to trace, too, since each one doesn’t have a serial number. Better for privacy.

    3) All larger denominations get a major redesign, with each denomination being a different color and a different size. Don’t like it? Tough. It doesn’t feel right to you, maybe, but to the blind and near-blind it’s a major gain. It feels like Monopoly money to me, too, but I’m willing to swallow my objections since it makes life so much better for some of the disabled.

    4) Go back to a gold standard. Or better yet, a commodities standard, with the dollar being based on a bundle of raw materials (nickel, platinum, gold, whatever else might make sense). I’m not an economist or financial genius, so maybe there’s a flaw here I’m missing, but it seems better to have a broadly-based standard, including some materials that are valuable for more than their attractiveness (I know gold has more value than just that, but that’s its primary use).

    5) As someone else said, get rid of all the presidents and go back to having Liberty and other abstract representations on the currency. Not that having a few presidents would be all that bad ? George Washington, maybe a few others ? but overall, end the fellating of the executive and the pretense that these are men worthy of respect. It makes sense in a monarchy to have the monarch’s head on currency; no person in a republic should be so exalted.

    Of course, best yet would be to amend the Constitution to allow private currencies. Or perhaps Congress already can delegate the power to coin money. It’s not entirely clear, but if the interstate commerce clause is as broad as it’s interpreted to be, than surely Congress can delegate its power to coin money to multiple private parties. I bet you, though, that in a free market the denominations of bills would be differently sized and colored, though. The rest of it’s just personal preference, but that’s such a big win for the blind that it’s a no brainer.

  25. It looks like someone took a big blue shit on it.

  26. What would be cool is special export currency. For trips to Italy, the picture would be the chick on the Playboy stock certificate; for France, an award winning California cab; for Sweden, naked Barry on a unicorn, etc.

    1. I’m trying to figure out what the point of “export currency” would be.

  27. the fed proves yet again that the counterfeiters are doing their jobs well…

    proof that the profit motive works? lol…

  28. I don’t know if anyone else is doing it, but I have an Australian fiver made of mylar. They apparently last about 3 to 5 timea as long as a paper note. A little tougher to fold though.

    I would think the added rigidity could facilitate the placement of a Braille code for the blind too.

    Frankly, the only reason I can think of not to use some kind of plastic for dollar coins would be that they might not work in vending machines.

    1. Damn, I see Winter Soldier preceded me at 2:04PM.

      Plastics are the future, right?

      (If I was truly in the spirit of Hit and Run I would have find the relevant quote from The Graduate and used it, but fuck it, I can’t be bothered.)

      1. Plastics are the future, right?

        As long as we can find a cheap way to make them from cellulose or other biomass….so i dunno.

  29. Caring about what currency looks like is gay.

    Currency is a fucking hoax anyway, and has been for decades.

  30. Different-sized bills are going to seriously mess with vending machines and gas station/grocery store cash acceptors. Call me a heartless prick, but I’m sick of society having to bend over backward so as to not inconvenience blind/deaf/physically handicapped people. Sorry, you’re not going to be able to do everything as easily as people who don’t have that disability — that’s why it’s called a disability. It wouldn’t be hard to develop a pocket bill scanner that would indicate the denomination of a bill via audio or Braille signal. You could give those away to every blind person in the country for far less than it would cost to accomodate different-sized or Braille bills.

    1. Different-sized bills are going to seriously mess with vending machines and gas station/grocery store cash acceptors.

      Yeah, if they’d just gotten a dollar coin back before it made sense to have dollar/five dollar bill acceptors, it wouldn’t be a problem. But now that they have . . .

      Call me a heartless prick, but I’m sick of society having to bend over backward so as to not inconvenience blind/deaf/physically handicapped people. Sorry, you’re not going to be able to do everything as easily as people who don’t have that disability — that’s why it’s called a disability. It wouldn’t be hard to develop a pocket bill scanner that would indicate the denomination of a bill via audio or Braille signal. You could give those away to every blind person in the country for far less than it would cost to accomodate different-sized or Braille bills.

      Hell, if it’s cheaper to equip everyone with readers, then I’d be in favor of equipping everyone with readers. I’m just saying that aesthetic concerns are less important than utilitarian concerns for disabled people. I’m okay with society making reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities, though the ADA is far from a perfect solution. [insert standard libertarian disclaimer]

      1. My problem with disability-rights activists is twofold. First, they are happy to shut down services for “able” people if the same service is not convenient for disabled people to use. Such as, commercial websites that aren’t compatible with the browsers that blind people can use.

        The second problem is, they only want accomodations that don’t make disabled people stick out or get inconvenienced more than “able” people. So they would poo-poo a bill reader idea because it obviously takes longer to count money using that rather than different-sized bills, and also makes blind people stick out more in the marketplace.

        1. That and the fact that businesses (including restaurants, hospitals, etc) are not allowed to prohibit people from bringing animals into their place of business, if the person claims that the animal is a “service animal”, which is never precisely defined in ADA. So you’re trying to sit at a table at Quizno’s and eat your sub in peace, when a cadre of hipster chicks carrying chihuahuas in their little rat-dog pouches sit at the table next to you, and the little fleabags are yipping at you throughout your meal while their oblivious owners nibble at those wraps that cost more than a sub but contain half the food. And there’s nothing you can do about it!

          1. Re: Hospitals, clinics as nursing homes and “service animals”.

            It is true about that the ADA is vague about what constitutes a service animal, however unless one is legally blind, animals are generally discouraged in the hospital environment. Allergy concerns and vector contamination being the two most common contraindications.

            Seeing eye dogs are given exception for obvious reasons, but even then, there are areas where seeing eye dogs may be prohibited, such as secure wards like an SICU or a NICU. Hospitals reserve the right to regulate animals on the premises. It’s not to be cruel, but address possible health risks to other patients. The hosptial will generally make every effort possible for visitation.

            Same rationale for clinics, and pets can also be disruptive to other patients in a clinic waiting room (solves your yappy dog problem).

            Nursing homes are different as that is the resident’s home. Those tend to be a case by case basis, but small animals as pets, such as cats,birds, and fish are not uncommon, again provided that the animal does not pose a health risk (allergies) to other residents. The facility reserves the right to regulate animals on the premises, and is usually explicitly stated upon admission. In the nursing home environment, animals are encouraged to visit, especially as pet therapy for residents as part of social/TX regiment.

            Standard disclaimer of I haven’t been to every hospital applies.

  31. The stripe should be off to the side, and the inkwell should be smaller. These two elements as they are make the bill butt-ugly.

    How about making it readable to the blind? They do that yet?

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