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Fun Facts About $1 Bills

The $1 bill has its own unique identity. Just about everyone knows that the face of George Washington is on the front. Did you know that the original notes had someone else's face on it? I am sure that there are some other things that you didn't know about the $1 bill. Check out these fun facts.

The first Legal Tender $1 note had the face of Salmon P. Chase from 1861 until 1864. He was the Secretary of Treasury at the time. George Washington's face was not used on the dollar until 1869.

Almost half of the currency produced by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing consists of one dollar bills. They make up 45% of the overall printing work.

All denominations have a certain life span. The one dollar bill has the shortest life span, less than two years, because it is the most commonly used denomination out of all the bills.

The dollar as we know it, printed as a Federal Reserve Note since 1963, has the Great Seal of the United States on the back and George Washington's face on the front. This design has remained unchanged.

The Great Seal of the United States is a special mark of history. It contains the American bald eagle with the national shield in front of it. In the eagle's claws is an olive branch with 13 leaves and 13 berries. This branch is the symbol of peace. The number 13 is representative of the original 13 colonies. Also within the eagle's claws are 13 arrows, which stand for war. The eagle faces the right, the side of peace. The ribbon in the eagle's beak says "E Pluribus Unum," which means "Out of Many, One."

On the shield that is in front of the eagle represents the Executive branch of Congress on the top. There are also nine tail feathers on the shield, which represent the Judiciary branch of Congress.

To the left of the back of the dollar bill is a pyramid with Latin for "God has favored our undertaking" above it. Below it has Latin for "a new order of the ages", and the roman numerals for 1776.

The next time you spend a $1 bill, remember that it will only have a short life. Share one of the facts you have learned here. Spend it wisely.

The New $5 Bill

Have you seen the latest $5 bill? There are several changes to the $5 bill that make it new and special. Various security features have been added to the five dollar bill, just like to the twenty dollar bill.

The redesigned five dollar bills just entered circulation in March, 2008. In order to makes these bills more difficult to copy and illegally reproduce, the following security features were included on them.

The watermark of President Lincoln's face, to the right of the front of the bill, has been replaced with the watermark of the number five. The government added a second watermark to the left of the portrait of Lincoln. If you hold the new five dollar bill up to the light, you will see a column of three small number fives.

The next feature is the security thread. This is now embedded to the right of the portrait of President Lincoln. On the old $5 bill, the thread was placed on the left. Printed on the security strip is USA 5, multiple times. You can see this on both sides of the bill if you hold it up to the light.

Color was also added to the $5 bill as an added security measure. Near the center of the bill, visible both on the front and the back, is a light shade of purple tint. A group of tiny yellow "05"s are printed on the front, to the left of the portrait, and on the back, to the right side of the Lincoln Memorial.

The Great Seal of the United States is largely printed in purple to the right of President Lincoln's Portrait. There are also small purple starts encompassing the portrait and the seal.

The new $5 bills do not have ovals around the portrait or the Lincoln Memorial any more. There is now a cloud around the memorial.

The brand new five dollar bills also offer a special low vision feature. On the back of the bill, there is a large, purple "5" in the bottom right corner.

There are also several very tiny features included on the five dollar bills. Microprinting is one of the security features that the government uses, because it is extremely difficult to duplicate. The words "five dollars" can be found, probably with a magnifying glass, printed within the borders of the left and right of the bill on the front. The words "USA Five" are printed on the edge of the purple five on the back. Tiny little "USA" letters are printed in between the columns on the shield that is part of the Great Seal on the front.

You might need a ruler to notice, but the left serial number on the new five dollar bill is located slightly more to the right than the left serial number of the old five dollar bills.

If you have the opportunity to see these new and improved features on a new five dollar bill, don't pass it up. Take a minute or two to compare the old five dollar bill with the new five dollar bill. The creativity and level of security is intriguing.

Security Features on the Latest $10 Bill

The newest version of the $10 bill was released into circulation on March 2, 2006. Like other denominations, the ten dollar bill contains many security features using embedded design, color, and microprinting. Here are some of the details on its design.

The main security features that are in the 5, 20, 50, and 100 dollar bills are also in the new ten dollar bill. These include color-shifting ink, a watermark, and a security thread.

The color-shifting ink on the $10 bill is located on the number 10 on the bottom right corner in the front. If you tilt the bill, you will notice that the ten will change in color from copper to green. The same feature is on the $20 bill. Compared to the older $10 bills, this change in color is more prominent.

The watermark of Alexander Hamilton appears on the right side of the bill if you hold it up to the light. This watermark is also visible when looking at the back of the bill. To make it easier for you to locate the watermark, there is a blank oval shaped area on the front and the back of the bill that actually surrounds the watermark. You can't miss it!

The words "USA TEN" is microprinted on the security thread embedded within the bill. This security thread is located to the right of Alexander Hamilton's portrait on the right. There is also a tiny flag on this thread. It is visible when the bill is held up to a regular light, and it turns orange when held under an ultraviolet light.

Each denomination has its own unique symbol of freedom within its design. The ten dollar bill is the Statue of Liberty's torch. There is a large red image of the torch lightly printed on the left side of Hamilton's portrait on the front of the bill. There is also a small metallic image of the torch to the right of the portrait. This image is also red.

There are other uses of color on the $10 bill. To the right of the portrait, a light red printing of "We The People" can be found. Tiny yellow "10"s are printed on the background of the bill to the left of the portrait and to the right of the U.S. Treasury building on the back. There is an orange tint on the bill that surrounds the black oval where the watermark is located.

There is no longer an oval surrounding the portrait of Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill. The portrait is now higher and the shoulders now blend into the bottom border of the bill. Under the portrait is the name "Hamilton" and there is microprinting just above this name that says "THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TEN DOLLARS".

There is further microprinting on the bill in addition to that. "USA 10" is located beneath the large torch to the left of the portrait. "THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TEN DOLLARS" is also printed along the inner part left and right borders of the front of the bill.

The low vision feature is the enlarged "10" on the lower right corner of the back of the bill. This is the same location that other denominations have an enlarged number so that individuals with poor vision can tell the difference between bills.

The final difference between the new $10 bill and the old $10 bill is the serial number that is on the left side of the portrait of Hamilton. It is slightly moved over to the right, and you may only notice it when comparing it closely with an old $10 bill.

I am sure that you have at least taken notice over the past two years that the ten dollar bill has changed, but now you know exactly what is different.

The Process of Dollar Bill Printing

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is in charge of printing all of the paper money that is circulated within the United States. It is a detailed process, and there are so many little things that are done to make sure that dollar bills are not counterfeited. The information on the process is limited, and certain things are not revealed for security purposes. Let us take a look at the parts of the process that the government has allowed to be revealed.

U.S. dollar bills are engraved upon using a special steel plate method. The procedure is highly complicated, and the special detailing is used to make the counterfeiting of our currency difficult. There are very tiny designs made on the bills, and these are actually hand-done by a master engraver. The method is called the intaglio steel plate method. If you look closely at your bill, there portrait, lettering and other designs are composed of tiny lines that were engraving in the steel that was used to print the bill.

A geometric metal shaper is used for the border designs.

All features of the dollar bills are added separately. These include the serial number, series number. Steel die is created for every feature of the bill separately. The rolls that are created from these dies are put together to make a complete master die for the bill. This is processed and made into the press plates that will be used for printing.

The paper that dollar bills are printed on are made of cotton and linen rags. There is also another component to paper money that is not revealed to the public, for security purposes. No company is permitted to use paper that is too similar to the currency's paper, which is also for security purposes.

The inks also have a secret composition. These are all manufactured by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. There are several special inks used for the front and the back of the bill. A special black is used for the front, and green is used for the Treasury seal and the serial number. A different green is used to print on the back.

Another security feature that has been added to prevent counterfeiting is a security thread. It is an embedded strip that is in a different location for each denomination. The strips are micro-printed on with the letters USA and a flag. You can see this if you hold your bill up to the light.

You can also see a watermark when holding your bill up to the light. It will be another portrait of the same person on the front of the bill.

The printed sheets are cut to precise measurements of 6.14 inches by 2.61 inches. After several inspections, and the removal of defective bills, the currency is shipped to Reserve Banks for distribution.

Printing is done in Washington D.C. and in Forth Worth, Texas. The Forth Worth location has only been in operation since 1991. Prior to that, since 1862, all printing was done in Washington D.C.

As you can see, the process of printing dollar bills is a special and intricately detailed process. A great deal of time and thought goes in to the production of the bills that you carry and spend. The next time you buy something with cash, remember the effort it took to make your dollar bill unique.

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