We're Having Big Trouble Printing $100 Bills

30M of the bills didn't cut the mustard
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2013 5:56 AM CDT
Updated Aug 14, 2013 7:33 AM CDT
Fed Having Big Trouble Printing $100 Bills
In this March 21, 1996 file photo, stacks of $100 bills await the printing of their serial numbers, at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington.   (AP Photo/Doug Mills)

The US is less than two months away from getting its new $100 bills—hopefully. The Oct. 8 release date is already more than two years behind schedule, a delay caused by production problems that apparently have not abated. Writing for the New Yorker, David Wolman reports that the Bureau of Engraving and Printing has hit yet another snag, per a memo from the bureau. The country has just two currency-printing facilities, and the Washington, DC, location has had a "mashing" issue, in which the application of too much ink led to what the New Yorker likens to a kid painting outside the lines.

The affected bills are "clearly unacceptable" and internal quality checks apparently missed that. They were delivered to the Fed interspersed with ones that were printed just fine, and now the Fed is sending back some 30 million of them—and won't take any more from the DC location for now. In the meantime, bureau director Larry Felix has, with an eye on Oct. 8, asked the Fort Worth, Texas, facility to step things up. The Atlantic Wire does the math and calculates it that it's a $3.79 million blunder: The bills reportedly cost 12 cents apiece to produce (that's about $3.78 million), and it tacks on another $12,000 for destroying them. But Wolman sees "a possible greater cost," likening the situation to that of "a magician getting caught unloading a crate of bunnies from the back of his truck. It threatens to injure the aura—the almightiness—of the dollar." Click for more on the coming (fingers crossed) bills.

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