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Keeping an Extra $100 Are We?
July 14, 2011

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produced more $100 bills in fiscal year 2010 than $1 bills.

It printed just over 1.9 billion of them with a face value of about $190 billion. For the $1 denomination, the total number of bills was 50 million lower than that, though rounding would put the $1 bill total at 1.9 billion pieces as well.

What’s going on?

The $100 bill has been a hoarders and black market favorite overseas for many years. Are Americans adopting that habit as well?

Certainly the financial crisis proved cash is king. You need it when you need it. A $100 tucked in the back of the wallet is not a bad insurance policy against uncertainty.

I’m sure some people will joke that the $100s are needed because people need them to pay their gasoline bills. There is no question that a fill-up costs a great deal more than it used to. The cost of food is also higher.

But paying ordinary bills is something that can be planned. You can use your debit or credit cards. They are more convenient.

For my money, I think part of the reason for more $100s is the hoarding function. Just as people are trying to preserve their assets long term by buying gold and silver, they are also preserving their assets short term by keeping a little more cash for emergencies and this little stash is not comprised of $1 bills.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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