8 Quick Facts About the $100 Bill

1. The $100 is the highest value bill in circulation in the United States. The US stopped producing denominations larger than $100—$500, $1000, etc.—during WWII and halted distribution in 1969. While these larger notes are legal tender and may be accepted, the Federal Reserve Banks destroy any that are received.

2. Myanmar black market moneychangers will give you a better rate on hundreds than on $50s or $20s—and they better be clean and free of creases or they might just turn you away. Apparently Burmese moneychangers are a little OCD.   "¨"¨

3. Rumors of a new $100 have been circulating for several years now with not much to show from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. It is supposed to combine micro-printing with tiny lenses—650,000 lenses for a single $100 bill—that will move the printed images as you move the bill. To me, this sounds like the optical illusion cards that come with Cracker Jacks.

100-euro4. The U.S. dollar has served for decades as the predominant coin of the realm for international black market transactions. Approximately three-quarters of all $100 bills circulate outside the United States. Strangely enough, the supremacy of the dollar in this shadow economy has given the U.S. economy a boost. Since most of these bills will never return stateside, this outflow of U.S. currency now serves, in essence, as a gigantic interest-free loan. A few economists have predicted that the relatively new 100 and 500 Euro notes will soon supplant the $100 bill as the worldwide shady currency of choice due to the Euro's higher value and now near-worldwide acceptance."¨"¨

5. Traces of cocaine are found on nearly four out of five bills circulated in the U.S., yet the $100, $5 and $1 have much lower traces than the $10 and $20. The truth is that probably only a fraction of these bills have actually been used to snort cocaine. Most contact with the fine powder probably comes from incidental contact in wallets, cash drawers, and money sorting machines. Random stat: Nearly 100% of Irish notes are said to contain cocaine traces."¨"¨

6. The $100 bill represents 11.9 percent of all U.S. paper currency production, with the average bill expected to last 89 months in circulation."¨"¨

100-dollar-back7. The clock on the back of a $100 bill shows the time as 4:10. According to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, "There are no records explaining why that particular time was chosen."

8. There have been calls to demonetize the $100. (I had no idea that demonetize was a word.) Given its predominance in underworld transactions, and the lack of ordinary businesses that still accept $100 bills, some economists and pundits have called for the elimination of the hundred. We're not just talking about removal from circulation, mind you, but a total demonetization (spellcheck thinks it's a real word, too). Basically, give people a year or two to turn in all their hundreds, and after a certain point, they would no longer be valid U.S. currency. This would cripple money laundering enterprises, shut down major black market enterprises, and hurt our enemies, the proponents say. I say that if we can't get rid of the penny, what hope do we have of writing off old Ben?

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
College Board Wants to Erase Thousands of Years From AP World History, and Teachers Aren't Happy
iStock
iStock

One would be forgiven for thinking that the Ides of March are upon us, because Julius Caesar is being taken out once again—this time from the Advanced Placement World History exam. The College Board in charge of the AP program is planning to remove the Roman leader, and every other historical figure who lived and died prior to 1450, from high school students’ tests, The New York Times reports.

The nonprofit board recently announced that it would revise the test, beginning in 2019, to make it more manageable for teachers and students alike. The current exam covers over 10,000 years of world history, and according to the board, “no other AP course requires such an expanse of content to be covered over a single school year.”

As an alternative, the board suggested that schools offer two separate year-long courses to cover the entirety of world history, including a Pre-AP World History and Geography class focusing on the Ancient Period (before 600 BCE) up through the Postclassical Period (ending around 1450). However, as Politico points out, a pre-course for which the College Board would charge a fee "isn’t likely to be picked up by cash-strapped public schools," and high school students wouldn't be as inclined to take the pre-AP course since there would be no exam or college credit for it.

Many teachers and historians are pushing back against the proposed changes and asking the board to leave the course untouched. Much of the controversy surrounds the 1450 start date and the fact that no pre-colonial history would be tested.

“They couldn’t have picked a more Eurocentric date,” Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, who previously helped develop AP History exams and courses, told The New York Times. “If you start in 1450, the first thing you’ll talk about in terms of Africa is the slave trade. The first thing you’ll talk about in terms of the Americas is people dying from smallpox and other things. It’s not a start date that encourages looking at the agency and creativity of people outside Europe.”

A group of teachers who attended an AP open forum in Salt Lake City also protested the changes. One Michigan educator, Tyler George, told Politico, “Students need to understand that there was a beautiful, vast, and engaging world before Europeans ‘discovered’ it.”

The board is now reportedly reconsidering its decision and may push the start date of the course back some several hundred years. Their decision will be announced in July.

[h/t The New York Times]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
North America: East or West Coast?
iStock
iStock

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios