This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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“Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched,” warned the old folk wisdom.
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing apparently forgot that when it announced to great fanfare in April that a new $100 Federal Reserve Note would be introduced in February 2011. In October the date was postponed indefinitely. In December the reason surfaced: Printing problems have left the national currency printer with a supply of 1.1 billion new notes in its vaults that are riddled with printing errors.
The BEP doesn’t know just how many error notes there are. It is trying to figure out how to electronically or mechanically sort them to save the bulk of them.
There is a creasing problem that leaves portions of notes unprinted. The BEP is investigating the cause.
Collectors would love to buy some, but with estimates of the errors as high as 30 percent, paper money hobbyists won’t be able to bail the BEP out.
As a joke that appeared online went, how can there be inflation in the United States when they can’t print the bills?