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Just in time for payday…

The new sleek $100 bills were released by the U.S. Federal Reserve on October 8, 2013. The design was the creation of 43-year-old African American artist, Brian Thompson. Thompson walks in his father’s footsteps, who served as a cylinder maker at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing in D.C.  His father saw a call for artists and knew his son would fit the bill. The artist has been working at the bureau for 24 years and he can finally call the newly release $100 bill his own design.

Thompson started as an apprentice at the Bureau when he was19 years old.

The new bills included new security features to stump counterfeiters and help people tell whether a note is genuine. Thompson’s design includes a blue 3-D security ribbon with images of bells and 100’s, a watermark and a color-changing bell in an inkwell. The number 100 appears to be orange with a border of white and blue, but if you look closer, there’s another color striped inside to prevent theft.

When designing the bill, Thompson hoped to keep elements of historical versions of the bills, including an expression related to Benjamin Franklin’s signature on the Declaration of Independence. On the new note, Thompson redesigned the quill, a facet that he included on previous designs to signify Franklin’s signing of the Declaration. Through significant places on the bill, the 100 serves as a beam of light onto Franklin’s presence. Even the scripted words from the Declaration are carefully sequenced so as to not be easily copied by counterfeiters.

Thompson’s design was handed off to engraver William Fleishell, who spent five months engraving his design so that it could be printed on plates. He accomplishes this through handwork and digital engraving.

Thompson’s design and U.S. currency is in high demand all over the world.

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