Ben Franklin is about to get a serious facelift. America's new $100 debuted on Oct. 8. What's on the new bills? On the picture above you can see the new 3D blue ribbon. Also, that inkwell that sits slightly to the right of Franklin? Inside it is a camouflaged bell that turns green.
The end result is a bill that's not only harder to counterfeit, but can be authenticated easier. While you likely haven't seen a $100 note "out in the wild" yet, they're coming -- 3.5 billion $100 bills have been stockpiled.
However, while the new $100 bill is quite the departure for America's currency, its nothing compared to other bank notes around the world. Let's take a look at some of the world's best currency.
Want to literally invest in making money? Then look no further than De La Rue plc (LON:DLAR). It's a British company whose primary business is printing currency. While that business has been declining in recent years, it's still quite lucrative. Last year De La Rue's currency segment brought in $453 million in sales.
The company isn't just printing money for banana republics either. In 2002 it won the contract to print bank notes for the Bank of England. It's currently bidding to continue supplying English bank notes through 2025; the extended contract would be worth $1.6 billion.
There is an award for everything, and bank notes are no different. As the Fool's Adam Levy pointed out, Kazakhstan has won the International Bank Note Society's award for bank note of the year two years running, making Kazakhstan the New York Yankees of money design.
Can any country unseat this global powerhouse of money design? In 2013, Kazakhstan is going for a three-peat, with its 2,000 Tenge Note up once again for nomination as the best banknote of the year. However, it's facing some stiff competition from Mexico and the EU for this year's title. You be the judge of which currency has the best "wow' factor.
Kazakhstan 2,000 Tenge Note
European Union 5 Euro Note
Mexico 50 Peso Note
Antarctica isn't a country, nor does it have any permanent inhabitants, but that doesn't stop it from having its own money!
Produced by the Antarctic Overseas Exchange Office, Antarctican Dollars aren't legal currency. The issuing company will redeem the dollars for face value during a set time period. For example, 2009 bills in 10 dollar denominations expire in 2016.
Essentially, the money is somewhere between a novelty and collector's item.
Finally, let's conclude with the biggest bill the United States ever made. Printed for just a few weeks at the end of 1934 and into 1935, the United States produced $100,000 bills used between Federal Reserve banks. The bills were never publicly used, but let's face it, the very sight of a $100,000 bill is cartoonishly ludicrous.
The article Beyond America's New $100 Bill: The World's Best Currency originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Eric Bleeker, CFA.
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