Archive for June, 2008

Interesting Facts About the Dollar - Paper Currency

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

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legal tenderThere are many interesting facts about the paper currency of the United States. Here are just a few facts about dollars that you may not have known before.

The first $1 notes did not have George Washington’s face printed on them. The Secretary of Treasury in 1861, Salmon P. Chase, was the face on the original $1 note. George Washington’s face was not printed on the $1 note until 1869.

The dollars in circulation today all have the same basic face and back designs since 1928, which the exception backs of the $1 and $2 denominations.

A tiny “FW” printed on the front lower right corner of any bill indicates that it was printed at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s Western Currency Facility. This facility is located in Forth Worth, Texas.

All paper currency in circulation today has the words: “THIS NOTE IS A LEGAL TENDER FOR ALL DEBTS PUBLIC AND PRIVATE”. This sentence was changed seven times before it was finally edited to the wording we see today, which was first printed on the 1963 series.

The original phrase was: “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private, except duties on imports and interest on the public debt, and is exchangeable for U.S. six per cent twenty year bonds, redeemable at the pleasure of the United States after 5 years”. This phrase was printed on the larger notes printed in 1862.

Larger notes circulated until 1929, and were 3.125 inches wide by 7.4218 inches long.

Currently, all paper dollars measure 2.61 inches wide by 6.14 inches long. They are also 0.0043 inches thick.

In order to have one full pound of bills, you need 490 notes.

Interesting isn’t it? Be sure to keep reading our blog for more interesting facts about dollar bills!

The History of United States Dollars

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

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dollar bill historyThe paper currency in the United States, the dollar, has an interesting history. Let us take a look at the history of dollars, which begins all the way back before the States were all created to form this country.

The first sign of paper money was in 1690. The Massachusetts Bay Colony was the first to issue this paper money. Many years later, in 1775, paper currency was issued to finance the Revolutionary War. The problem with this issue of currency was that is was based on the expectation of tax collection. These notes were also easily counterfeited.

After the Constitution was adopted, Congress chartered the first bank. It was called the Bank of the United States. The bank was charted until 1811 and authorized to issue paper currency. This institution was the first to perform the functions of a central bank.

Due to the need to finance the Civil War, Congress decided to permit the U.S. Treasury to issue non-interest bearing notes. These notes were a paper currency called Demand Notes. Large Treasury Notes in circulation were released in five issues between 1862-1923.

Between 1865 and 1933, Gold Certificates were circulated against gold coin deposits. In between this time, it was decided that the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing would be solely authorized to print U.S. currency.

The Federal Reserve System was set into place in 1913, so that there would be unified regulation over money circulation and credit. Federal Reserve Notes are the paper money that we know and use today. No other U.S. currency is created or circulating.

The denominations of paper currency that are currently issued are $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. Prior to 1946, there were other, higher denominations in circulation. These were $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 bills.

There is much more to the history of currency in the United States, but this post offers a nice overview of how we have come to use the dollar bills that we use today. Remember that money is not what it used to be. It has changed over time.