Interesting Facts About U.S. Currency

Check out these interesting facts about the money we use every day.

  • The $100 bill is the largest denomination printed since 1969. Prior denominations included the $500, $1000, $10,000, and $100,000 bills.

  • The $100,000 Gold Certificate, Series 1934, was the largest note ever printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. These notes were used for transactions between Federal Reserve Banks, and were not circulated among the general public.

  • In 2007, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing produced approximately 38 million notes a day with a face value of approximately $750 million.

  • If you were to make a stack of currency one mile high, it would contain more than 14.5 million notes.

  • If you had 10 billion $1 notes and spent one every second of every day, it would require 317 years for you to go broke.

  • Currency paper is composed of 25% linen and 75% cotton. Red and blue synthetic fibers of various lengths are distributed evenly throughout the paper. Prior to World War I the fibers were made of silk.

  • Between the Fort Worth, Texas and the Washington, DC Facilities approximately 18 tons of ink per day are used.

  • Have you ever wondered how many times you could fold a piece of currency before it would tear? About 4,000 double folds (first forward and then backwards) are required before a note will tear.

  • How long does a bill last? The following information from the Federal Reserve System shows that the average life of note depends upon its denomination:
Note Lifespan
$ 1
$ 5
$ 10
$ 20
$ 50
$100
22 months
24 months
18 months
25 months
55 months
60 months
  • The legend In God We Trust became a part of the design of United States currency in 1957. It has appeared on all currency since 1963.

  • Contrary to popular belief, the automobile pictured on the back of the $10 note is not a Model "T" Ford. It is just a creation of the designer of the bill.
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  • The hands of the clock in the steeple of Independence Hall on the reverse of the $100 Federal Reserve Note are set at approximately 4:10.

  • Martha Washington is the only woman whose portrait has appeared on a U.S. currency note. It appeared on the face of the $1 Silver Certificate of 1886 and 1891, and the back of the $1 Silver Certificate of 1896.

  • The beginning of an establishment for the engraving and printing of U.S. currency can be traced as far back as August 29, 1862, to a single room in the basement of the Main Treasury Building where two men and four women separated and sealed by hand $1 and $2 U.S. notes which had been printed by private bank note companies. Today there are approximately 2,800 employees who work out of two buildings in Washington, D.C. and a facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

  • During Fiscal Year 2005, it cost approximately 5.7 cents per note to produce 8.6 billion U.S. paper currency notes.

  • What would cost a $1 in 1970 would cost approximately $5.32 these days, due to inflation. Check out the Inflation Calculator.

  • Who is on what bill? The following shows which historical figure is on which denomination.
$1.00George Washington
1st President
1789-1797
$2.00Thomas Jefferson
3rd President
1801-1809
$5.00Abraham Lincoln
16th President
1861-1865
$10.00Alexander Hamilton
1st Secretary of the US Treasury
1789-1795
$20.00Andrew "Andy" Jackson
7th President
1829-1837
$50.00Ulysses S. Grant
18th President
1869-1877
$100.00Benjamin Franklin
Inventor, Statesman, Founding Father
 
$500.00William McKinley
25th President
1897-1901
$1000.00Grover Cleveland
22nd & 24th President
1885-1889, 1893-1897
$5000.00James Madison
4th President
1809-1817
$10,000.00Salmon Portland Chase
25th Secretary of the US Treasury
 
$100,000.00Woodrow Wilson
28th President
1913-1921

Links To Currency Information Sites:

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