Hey guys! My wife is tired of me telling her about all these facts I keep coming across, so now you get to hear them all and be entertained today ;)
But you know what they say – the more you know about our country’s currency, the cooler you get! So be prepared to be the KING of Coolsville today – woot woot!
#1. U.S. paper money is not paper at all! — It’s made out of 75% cotton and 25% linen :) And apparently in Benjamin Franklin’s day, people would repair torn bills with needles and thread – hah!
#2. The dollar bill is the oldest design of any U.S. bill in circulation — Why? It’s not worth counterfeiting! So no need to spend the resources on changing/upgrading.
#3. The pyramid on our dollar bills have 13 steps, one for each of the 13 original colonies – and is unfinished — “This was to show our country can constantly be improved, and to make room for the “Eye of Providence,” which represents an all-seeing god.” – Money Magazine
#4. All U.S. currency remains legal tender, regardless of when it was issued — So technically you could still use $500 or $1,000 bills – or even large $1.00 bills from the early 1900’s when they were double in size! But of course you’d be an idiot since you could fetch way more in value selling to collectors. (Though I’d happily take them off your hands if you’re looking to donate any ;))
#5. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing uses 9.7 tons of ink each day — This is from the combined use of its two facilities – one in Washington, D.C. and the other in Fort Worth, Texas.
#6. The dollar sign originated from the Spanish Peso — The Spanish Peso (otherwise known as “Pieces of Eight”) was commonly abbreviated to “PS” in colonial times, and because of how often the “S” would be written over the “P”, it eventually morphed to “$” – and then took off in popularity once our first paper dollars came into existence in 1875.
No one knows this 100% for certain, but it’s the most widely accepted explanation according to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Unless, apparently, you’re Ayn Rand who in her popular novel “Atlas Shrugged” dedicated a whole chapter to the dollar sign, and claimed it was an American thing which stood for our nation’s economic freedom:
“According to Rand, the dollar sign (written with two downward slashes instead of one) came from the initials of the United States: A capital U superimposed over a capital S, minus the lower part of the U. [But] no documentary evidence exists to support this theory, however, and it seems clear the dollar sign was already in use by the time the United States was formed.” – History.com
#7. The largest bill ever printed was the $100,000 gold certificate! — And was used only for official transactions between Federal Reserve Banks (i.e. not for regular circulation as other bills were… Nor can they legally be held by any currency collectors!). The largest bills in circulation today are $100 bills – mainly due to counterfeiting, as well as probably the trend of going digital (no need to transfer large amounts of physical cash anymore!).
#8. In 1776, The Continental Congress authorized the issuance of $2.00 “bills of credit” for the defense of America — It wasn’t until 1862 when the first $2.00 Legal Tender note came about, but pretty cool it was one of our first denominations :) (Which would later go on to be the note of choice for all tippers, as well as the Tooth Fairy! See my movement to bring back $2.00 bills in everyday use!!)
*BONUS FACT (Which is probably not fact) –> #9. More Monopoly money is printed than real money! — Both CNBC and USA Today point to this being true, but I’ll hedge my bets with the random blog, BrokenSecrets.com, who seems to have spent quite the effort tracking down these #’s to disprove it ;) But it IS a fun fact to spread around, so feel free to share it at your next cocktail party! Who researches things these days anyways? (And do cocktail parties still exist?? Where did those originate from??)
That’s all I got for ya today, friends…
Help me spread the good word! It’s your duty as a citizen of this great nation!!
PS: I’m serious about $2.00 bills…. There are SO MANY GOOD USES for them!! :)
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!