Disney turns 100 this year, and recently, there’s been a lot of buzz about brand-new U. S. currency being printed to commemorate the occasion. But there are serious reasons why the Walt Disney $100 bill will never be a reality, no matter how much pixie dust is used.
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News about Walt Disney’s likeness being printed on the United States $100 bill has been circulating for several days. This site covered it as well, with the understanding that the story originated from a satirical angle (though the thought of Walt’s image on U. S. currency absolutely thrills us). But alas, the cold, hard truth is that the Federal Reserve has no plans to print “Disneys” anytime soon.
There are a few reasons for this, but it’s not for lack of love for the Mouse, we’re sure.
The United States Federal Reserve periodically redesigns its currency–and for good reason. Per the official website, the Federal Reserve redesigns currency from time to time, in an effort to thwart counterfeiters.
The Federal Reserve, together with our partners at the Treasury Department, its Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and the United States Secret Service, continuously monitor the counterfeiting threats for each denomination of U.S. currency and make redesign decisions based on these threats. An inter-agency committee makes recommendations on design changes to the Secretary of the Treasury, who has final authority for U.S. currency designs.
It’s the United States government, after all. The Reserve redesigns the look of currency to add additional security features and make it more difficult for the bills to be copied–not to commemorate the centennial anniversary of a publicly-traded mega-media giant.
A redesign of the $100 bill took place in October 1995.
That contemporary-style bill was referred to as a Series 1996 bill and was released into circulation on March 25, 1996–five months after the new image was shared with the public. It was the first major overhaul of the $100 bill since 1929. New security features were added to the bill, including a watermark of Benjamin Franklin on the right side, optically variable ink, or OVI, which changed colors–from green to black–when it was held at varying angles. Many of the previous bills’ security features were kept as well.
The most recent refurb of the $100 bill was first announced in April 2010, but due to issues with printing the bills, it would be more than three years before the new “Benjamins” entered circulation.
On October 8, 2013, the new currency was released–this time with even more security and anti-counterfeiting features like a brown quill used to sign the Declaration of Independence, a three-dimensional security ribbon, and variable ink that changed from copper to green.
Not only did the new features serve to thwart counterfeiters, but they also helped visually-impaired people recognize them more easily.
The very important job of printing currency in the United States is carried out by the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The Federal Reserve, however, determines the number of bills to be printed each year.
All of this means that Walt’s face won’t be gracing the $100 bill anytime soon. For one thing, decisions about the look and feel of U. S. currency aren’t made haphazardly. And clearly, the process of redesigning of the bills–like the one that would be necessary to bring Walt to dazzling life in Ben Franklin’s absence of the $100 bill–would take months to carry out, if not longer.
Sorry Disney fans, and lovers of Walt all the world over, Mr. Disney won’t be gracing the face of U. S. currency anytime soon, though if anyone deserve such a place of prominence, we agree that it’s Walter Elias Disney.