Archive for the ‘Facts’ Category

The $2 and $100 Bills-The Rarer Currencies

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

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The first two dollar notes were called United States Notes or “Legal Tenders”. They were issued by the Federal Government in 1862, featuring a portrait of the first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. In 1869, Thomas Jefferson’s portrait started being used and the same portrait has continued to be used for all two dollar United States Notes and all two dollar Federal Reserve Notes. Monticello was first featured as the vignette on the back of the two dollar United States Note in 1928. Monticello was Thomas Jefferson’s estate in Virginia.

In 1976, in celebration of the United States bicentennial, a two dollar Federal Reserve Note was introduced. Thomas Jefferson’s portrait was still on the face but Monticello was replaced on the back by a vignette of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This painting of the Declaration of Independence was painted by John Trumbull. The original portrayed forty-seven people, 42 of whom were signers out of the fifty-six on the Declaration of Independence. Because of a limited amount of space on the two dollar note, five of the forty-seven were left off. The most recent printing of the two dollar note was in 2003 and at this time there are no plans to redesign it.

The first one-hundred dollar notes were also called United States Notes or Legal Tenders. They were issued by the Federal Government in 1862 and they featured a vignette of an American eagle. Benjamin Franklin first had his portrait on the one hundred dollar note in 1914, the first series of these Federal Reserve Notes. The one hundred dollar note is the largest denomination of Federal Reserve Notes that are currently issued in the United States. The life span of a one hundred dollar Federal Reserve Note is 89 months on average. This is much longer than other denominations of currency since this is rarer and circulated less than they are.

In 1996, the one hundred dollar Federal Reserve Note featured large portraits, watermarks and color-shifting ink. The notes also included micro-printing, which is lettering so small that it is hard to replicate, on the front of the note. “USA 100” is written in the numbers located in the lower left corner and “United Sates of America” is in one line on the left lapel of Benjamin Franklin’s coat.

Since 1928, the vignette on the back of the one hundred dollar note has featured an engraving of Independence Hall, the former State House of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia. Independence Hall is often called the birthplace of our Nation because inside is where the Declaration of Independence was signed and where the Constitution of the United States was drafted. It has been said that the man and women in front of the hall close to the building are embracing but there is no record of that. The hands on the clock on the hall are set to 4:10. There doesn’t seem to be any explanation as to why this time was chosen.

Facts About the One Dollar Bill

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

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Did you know:

o that the 1st one dollar notes were issued by the Federal Government in 1862. They featured a portrait of Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase?

o that the first use George Washington’s portrait on one dollar notes was on the 1869 United States Notes?

o that the inclusion of “In God We Trust” on all currency was required by law in 1955. It first appeared on paper money in 1957, on one dollar Silver Certificates, and on all Federal Reserve Notes starting in 1963?

o that the first one dollar Federal Reserve Notes were issued in 1963. It had George Washington on the face and the Great Seal on the back? This remains unchanged.

o that of all the notes printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, one dollar notes make up 45% of all currency made?

o that the life span of a one dollar bill is 21 months?

o that the face and back designs of all U.S. paper currency, except the backs of the one and two dollar bills were adopted in 1928?

o that George Washington is on the one dollar bill, Thomas Jefferson is on the $2, Abraham Lincoln is on the $5, Alexander Hamilton is on the $10, Andrew Jackson is on the $20, Ulysses Grant is on the $50, and Benjamin Franklin is on the $100?

o that notes of higher denominations, while no longer produced featured William McKinley on the $500, Grover Cleveland on the $1000, James Madison on the $5000, and Salmon Chase on the $10,000?

o Faceplate Numbers and Letters are the small numbers and letters that can be found in the lower right and upper left corners of a bill?

o In the left corner of the dollar bill is the Note Position Number? This consists of the Note Position Letter and a quadrant number. The Note Position Letter is followed by the Plate Serial Number. This identifies the plate the note was printed from. The Plate Serial Number for the back side of the note is in the lower-right corner.

o that bills that have a small “FW” in the lower right corner on the front of the bill indicate that the bill was printed at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s Western Currency Facility in Fort Worth, Texas?

All of these things contribute to what the dollar is today. You probably haven’t thought much about The Great Seal or the Note Position Letter and Plate Serial Number. If you take a closer look at that dollar in your pocket, you can trace it back to its exact location on the plate it was printed from. It may not be top on your list of things to do when you’re paying for your cup of coffee but someone could certainly track this dollar to its roots if they wanted to. Take a look, you might find something interesting yourself!

Currency Counterfeiting and Defacing-Be Nice to Your money

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

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Title 18, Section 471 of the United States Code states that manufacturing counterfeit United States currency or altering genuine currency to increase its value is a violation punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 or 15 years imprisonment or both. Also in Title 18, Section 333 of the United States Code, defacement, mutilating, cutting, disfiguring, perforating, uniting or cementing together any bank bill, draft, note or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, Federal Reserve Bank, or Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such items unfit to be reissued, shall be fined and/or imprisoned for up to six months.


You can just as easily be imprisoned and/or fined just for possession of counterfeit money with fraudulent intent. All of these offenses are covered under Title 18 of the United States Code. Possession of counterfeit money is under Section 472 and is punishable by a fine of up to $15,000 and/or 15 years imprisonment. These sections in Title 18 regarding counterfeiting are clear and strict however they only cover paper money. The defacement section covers all money. Defacement of currency in such a way that it’s made unfit for circulation is under the jurisdiction of the United States Secret Service.

Regarding the counterfeiting of change, also covered in Title 18, is outlined in Section 331of the United States Code. It seems that there isn’t a big problem of counterfeiting pennies because pennies are not mentioned whatsoever in this section. However, anyone manufacturing a counterfeit U.S. count in any denomination above 5 cents (which also sounds like nickels aren’t included, just amounts above them) is subject to the same penalties as all other counterfeiters, that is a fine of up to $5,000 and/or 15 years imprisonment. Someone who is only altering, not manufacturing, a U.S. coin to increase its value, also according to Section 331, is a crime punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and or imprisonment of up to 5 years.

Section 510 covers the forging, altering or trafficking in United States government checks, bonds or other obligations. If you were to participate in doing these things, you could face a fine of up to $10,000 and or 10 years in prison. Section 474 covers and prohibits the printing reproductions, photographs of paper currency, checks, bonds, postage stamps, revenue stamps and securities of the United States. Violations are punishable by a fine of up to $5, 000 and/or 15 years in jail.

We all know, especially in these hard times that sometimes money is scarce. People are losing their jobs and paying more for their homes, food and basic necessities. The more people counterfeit, the lower the value of our dollar drops. If this is something you were to come across, think of the consequences outlined here and think if using counterfeit money is worth the $2,000 to $10,000 fine and years of jail time is worth it. Chances are that you would rather stay in the position you are in than every try to counterfeit money!

Japan, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand’s Currency Falls

Friday, March 6th, 2009

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Japan’s yen will fall to 102 to the U.S.’s dollar as of tomorrow. The yen had been as strong as 87.12 to the dollar in January and has lost 8.8% since then. The forecast calls for the yen to fall 4% more in the next 3 months. Mexico’s peso has dropped 32% since September. The peso is 16th out of the top 16 most-traded currencies, showing the largest drop and the worst performance also since September. For the fourth week in a row, Australia and New Zealand’s dollars fell against the U.S. dollar. The dollars also fell against the yen. Australia’s economy shrank in the fourth quarter and grew less than expected in January. What is going on here?

Though misery loves company, I don’t think we (by “we” I mean the United States) would wish our economical woes on any other country. So is our economy falling because of the currency issues in foreign countries or are they failing because of our falling dollar and failing stocks?

Because the yen and other Japanese accounts are declining, their investors started and continue to purchase foreign securities. In February, the yen had its worst monthly drop in 13 years, and Japan’s overseas stocks and bonds rose to record numbers. At the same time, Japan’s Prime Minister Taro Aso’s disapproval rating also rose to record highs. Carry trades could have helped Japan borrow foreign currencies with low interest rates and invest in nations with high borrowing costs. Don’t think that the U.S. is safe because our big investors could start purchasing foreign securities also, starting this whole downward spiral.

Mexico’s peso fell 1.4% to the U.S. dollar after an announcement of the country’s currency commission regarding changes to the foreign-exchange auction system. Yesterday the peso was down another 1% to 15.39 to the U.S. dollar. The same currency commission said it will offer to buy $100 million worth of pesos a day in order to guarantee that the central bank’s projected foreign reserve accumulation is sold. Even high ranking Mexican officials say that this will not be enough to jump start Mexico’s economy and failing peso. Mexico is in a state just below panic at this time and if things continue falling, the U.S. is going to have to step in before this goes too far. Just like any other nation, the United States could end up like this at any moment.

Australia has an overall negative dynamic which will be the main issue pushing their dollar lower. The Aussie dollar fell from a value of 64.3 U.S. cents two days ago, to 63.9 U.S. cents yesterday. Even New Zealand is feeling the pain, their dollar falling from 50.2 U.S. cents to 49.8 cents yesterday.

The thing to remember is for one, we are not the only ones feeling this bite of economical downfall. Different countries are hurting to different extents and in slightly different ways, but we can all empathize because if we’re not there, we have been or know we will be. Besides focusing on rebuilding the United States’ economy, we have to remember that the world will follow. This is not the first time we have seen crises and it won’t be the last. Your best weapon in this battle is staying informed and using that knowledge to the fullest.

Libor and the Dollar

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

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Libor or the London Interbank Offered Rate, was introduced in early 1984 after it became apparent that an increasing number of banks were trading actively in a variety of relatively new market tools. The British Bankers’ Association (BBA) noted that these new tools notably interest rate swaps, foreign currency options and forward rate agreements, brought in more business and greater intensity to the London Interbank Market. However they were also worried that future growth would be hindered unless there was a standard introduced.

Hence, Libor was introduced as a standard and would become the British Bankers Association’s yardstick for interest swap rates.  This standard also incorporated the fixing of BBA interest settlement rates which became a part of the overall package officially known as the BAIRS terms – the BBA standard for interest swap rates. Ever since it was introduced, the Libor has been used as the official standard for calculating the rate of reference for the British Pound Sterling and other currencies including the US dollar.

Every weekday morning, as the clock ticks round to 11, a group of six people put together this world’s most important number. This number will later determine the day’s Libor rate or rather the rate banks charge when they lend each other money. To get a sense of the importance of Libor to the financial system you only have to look at the precautions that the team goes to make sure that the figure always gets published on time.

The group is equipped with an emergency evacuation office in Canary Wharf, London. They also have another permanently staffed office at a secret location outside London. Every team member also has a dedicated phone line in their home in case they are prevented from getting to the office, by an incident such as a terrorist attack. Nothing is allowed to come between Libor and the wider world.

However serious questions about the credibility of the Libor were raised, after a study released by the Wall Street Journal, revealed that banks may have downplayed borrowing costs they reported for LIBOR during the 2008 credit crisis. The immediate impact of this meant that banks could have created a false impression about their borrowing. By using the LIBOR to their advantage banks could create an impression that they could borrow from other financial institutions more cheaply than they could in reality. This meant that although the banks were suffering they appeared to be much healthier.

The BBA conducted an internal investigation, and announced that the LIBOR is definitely dependable and can be relied on even during the financial crisis. This was supported by other authorities including the Bank for International Settlements. It was also found that “Although the integrity of the U.S dollar LIBOR fixing process has been questioned by some market participants and the financial press, it appears that U.S. dollar LIBOR remains an accurate measure of a typical creditworthy bank’s marginal cost of unsecured U.S. dollar term funding”

As the U.S. government was set to propose more massive spending to help fight recession, the LIBOR for the U.S dollar increased even as the rate for Euros slipped to a record low. Analysts said that more government aid for the economy would keep dollar Libor rates on a mildly rising trend as the government would likely have to borrow more funds. Under such circumstances, banks do not want to lend out their spare liquidity because there is uncertainty - both about whether the bank will need the cash itself in coming months, and about the financial health of the borrowing bank.

As Libor measures the rates at which banks are prepared to lend to each other, it follows that it also determine the rate at which they are prepared to lend to their customers. It eventually goes on to set the rate of $360 trillion (£210 trillion) worth of financial products worldwide, ranging from mortgage rates to car loans. The big institutions are increasingly dependent on the central banks for cash and until this ends we’ll not see Libor rates falling.

So despite its daily fluctuations, it seems that the lack of trust between banks has rendered the market almost silent.But with the eyes of politicians, bankers and customers fixed on the daily Libor numbers, it seems unlikely that the attention on this world’s most important number will disappear.

How Much Cash do Americans Keep on Hand?

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

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What’s in your pocket?


Americans are losing faith in banks, period. That goes without saying and no explanation is needed. We all know this. The stock market is falling; banks are going down and receiving money just to keep themselves afloat. What is the average American doing? They are stashing their cash or carrying it with them! In the past year, since gas prices started skyrocketing, Americans have started looking twice at their bank accounts and getting nervous. Even then there was talk of there being a recession. People started withdrawing their money in a frenzy and selling their stocks, starting to stash it at home and carrying large amounts in their wallets. So how much money do Americans carry in their wallets, and how much money is stashed in American homes?

The amount of cash Americans carry on their person is directly affected by the area of the country they live in. People in New York and Los Angeles are going to carry way more money than someone who lives in a smaller town like Lorain, Ohio or El Paso, Texas. Since the cost of living is so different, the cash one carries for basic necessities would be much higher in New York City and way lower in Lorain, Ohio. The demographics on carrying money look like this:
The average purse or wallet in the United States contains about $104.

13% of Americans use a piggy bank.

28% of Americans have a coin jar.

15% if people in the U.S. have a large amount of cash hidden in their houses. Out of these people, half of them have it hidden and the other half hide it in plain sight.

1/3 of Americans keep a small amount of cash on hand for emergencies.

Finally, more than 50% of American’s don’t keep any cash at all in the house.

American’s carry cash so they don’t have to use credit cards, foregoing the interest usually incurred in that way. People carry cash because they don’t trust the banks and they haven’t been able to trust banks for at least a year or more. Some carry cash because that’s what they’ve always done and that’s what they were taught to do. Sure a lot of people go into a bank or through the drive through to cash their paychecks, in return getting their cash for no extra fees. What about those who don’t go to the bank and whose checks are automatically deposited? These people will usually hit up the ATM. It’s difficult if possible at all to not incur a fee when using the ATM so this way of obtaining your cash is costing you money. Is the tradeoff worth it?

Some might argue that we’re becoming a no cash society; using less cash and more and more debit and credit cards. I wonder if these people have taken a look at the economy lately because I think we may be going back to using as little plastic as possible.

The Value of a Dollar-It’s more than just 100 Cents

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

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The value of our dollar depends strongly on the values of the dollars of other countries, exchange rates and interest rates. The interest rate in the United States from the Federal Reserve dropped to 4.75% in September 2007. Other banks around the world did not follow when this happened. This means that the European Central Bank (the home of the euro) has a higher interest rate right now than the Federal Reserve. Basically holding a Euro in your hand would be worth more in interest than holding a dollar in your hand. At this time in the dollar’s life, which would you choose?

Because of this difference in interest rate, other countries around the world are thinking like you and I are. They’re diversifying their holdings from dollars to Eruos and even British pounds for this same reason. In a supply and demand aspect, this situation causes there to be a large supply of dollars making them worth less. This loss in value caused the oil industry to charge higher prices, hence the skyrocket this past summer. Other countries don’t want the dollars they get for oil so they exchange them for Euros. It’s an endless cycle that has only gotten worse, despite understanding the root of the problem.

The dollar dropping is a double edged sword. On one hand, many manufacturers want to produce their products in factories in the United States, bringing us jobs. The reason manufacturers want to bring their factories here because it’s so cheap to run because of the low dollar value yet they can sell them overseas for the value of the Euro. On the other hand, the low dollar causes inflation. We know how bad that can be. Everything becomes more expensive in order to make up for the dollar value going down. Companies still want to make a profit on their goods so the cost of everything rises.

In order to get bonds to sell, they will be cheaper and have higher interest rates. These interest rates correlate to mortgage rates which don’t seem to be dropping anytime soon. Our weak dollar is also scaring away foreign investors who are now afraid to own stock in US companies. Foreign nations who have a lot invested in the dollar have the ability to cause a nuclear financial meltdown for the United States. They could easily exchange their dollars for something else, releasing our money into circulation, causing the value to plummet.

All in all, yes the dollar is worth 20 times less than it was in 1913 but a year or two ago, we knew that and we were used to it. Right now, on top of the 20 times less, it is losing more value in front of our eyes. I’m no one to give financial information but now that you know about the value of the U.S. dollar, just watch what you do with it. Buy and sell carefully because this is a delicate time for our economy.

The Story of Change- No not President Obama, I’m talking about money here!

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

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The story of American money started more than three centuries ago. Before this, settlers mostly bartered goods for goods. Crops like tobacco and corn and pork and butter were widely used. Learning from the Native Americans who used stringed clamshell beads, or wampum, European colonists adopted the wampum among trades with the Native Americans and then, amongst themselves.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony contracted John Hull to begin minting coins. Hull set up a mint in Boston and began producing “NE” (New England) coins in 1652. The NE coins were very easy to counterfeit, only having NE on one side and XII on the other. The coin was redesigned from 1667-1682. Eventually as more and more people came to the New World and brought their money with them, the settlers and colonists relied on foreign money for buying and selling. Money from Europe, Mexico and South America could be found at any given time. These coins mixed in with the NE coins and wampum and were all used for purchasing, barter and trade.

Early in the 18th century, a large amount of copper coins were imported from England and Ireland for the purpose of making more coins for the colonies. In 1776, dollar-sized coins were produced with a sundial and the inscription “Mind Your Business” on the front and “American Congress We Are One” on the back. These pieces were struck in three different metals; those struck in pewter are scarce or rare, while the silver and brass examples as extremely rare. The Articles of Confederation, adopted on July 9, 1778, gave Congress the ability to place the value on the coins that were struck by each state. At that time, the states each had the right to strike their own coins, there was just no fluidity in their values until the Articles came about.

Finally in 1792 the U.S. Mint was established by Congress. The U.S. Mint makes all U.S. Coins and became an operating bureau of the Treasury Department in 1873. To this day, U.S. coins typically have a mint mark showing which mint it was produced by. The Philadelphia Mint has been the longest in continuous operation, since 1792. The Denver Mint began coin producing in 1906. The newest mints were the West Point, New York, and San Francisco which gained official status in 1988.

From 1965-1968 there were no identifications used to tell where coins were minted. In 1968 the mints resumed putting their initials on the coins. Coins minted in Philadelphia had a P or no letter, Denver has a D, West Point a W and S for San Francisco. To this day, look at your coins and right under the date there should be a letter telling you where that coin was minted and if no letter is present, your coin was minted in Philadelphia!

Coins’ designs and values have changed over the years from the half-penny to silver dollars. The designs will continue to change as society deems it necessary . For now, the coins in your pocket have come a long way to get there because there was a time when there was a lack of United States coins.

The History of the Paper Dollar

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

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The Massachusetts Bay Colony was the first of the thirteen colonies to issue permanently circulating banknotes in 1690. The reason behind this was because the paper could be more readily printed and circulated than gold coin. Many of these early bills were marked “Tis Death to Counterfeit.” In the early 1700s, each of the thirteen colonies had issued their own banknotes called “colonial script.” 1789 brought about the First Band of the United States which issued fixed denominations and printed banknotes until 1811 when it closed. From 1816 to 1841, the (you guessed it) Second Bank of the United States took on the responsibilities of printing banknotes.


The civil war, in 1861, needed to be funded with money that there just wasn’t enough of. In 1862, under Abraham Lincoln, the demand notes were issued, taking the place of interest bearing currency. Some necessities were added and changed in the next few years in order to stop counterfeiters. The new “Greenbacks” had an engraved Treasury seal and red and blue fibers in the paper which made them (at the time) very difficult to counterfeit which would cost the banks more money. Gold certificates were also issued against gold coin and bullion and were still in circulation until 1933 as well as silver certificates being issued for silver dollars until 1957. 1865 brought on the need for a Secret Service to police and control counterfeiters. How much was that really needed and how much of the US’s money was counterfeit? Oh only about one-third!


The one dollar United States Note was redesigned with a portrait of George Washington in the center and a vignette of Christopher Columbus. The back of the note also featured green and blue tinting. In 1880 the red floral design was added around the words “One Dollar” and “Washington D.C.” From 1890 to 1899 the gold and silver certificates were redesigned repeatedly in order to continue to make them harder and harder to be counterfeited. In 1910 the Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing took on all currency production functions including engraving, printing and processing. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 created the Federal Reserve System. This means that the Federal Reserve became the central bank, regulating the flow of money. The Federal Reserve also became, to this day, the only authorized entity to issue Federal Reserve Notes (also known as, The Dollar(s)) which are the only U.S. currency produced and 99% of all currency in circulation!


“In God We Trust” No matter your religion, you know this phrase. This phrase was required by Congress in 1955 to be on every piece of currency and to this day, it still is. The last major change that was made was the microprinted security thread which was first introduced in 1990. It started with the $100 bills and the $50 bills, then eventually was introduced into the $20s, $10s, $5s, and $1s. Take a look at the money in your wallet. Now you know part of the long road traveled it took to get there.

What Is A Dollar Bill Made Of ?

Monday, December 1st, 2008

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dollar made ofEver wondered what your dollar bill is made of? Do you know why money doesn’t disintegrate when left in the washing machine? That’s because paper money is more cloth than it is paper! In fact there is no paper at all, or even wood, used in any of our dollar bills. Paper money is made out of rags of paper, also known as heavy paper. These rags are cotton and linen fabrics beaten together to create cotton and linen fibers, making it really sturdy and durable.  

These rag fibers bond together more strongly than that of the fibers found on normal paper. Note that normal paper is made out of selected cellulose fiber which comes from trees, and these cellulose based paper absorbs water immediately and falls apart when so, as opposed to rags made out of cotton and linen fibers which molecule structures don’t break down easy. These rag fibers are fundamentally unaffected by water, its composition is so strong that it remains unaltered upon immersion in water or most liquids. The concoction of materials used is also much more resilient than normal paper, it resists wear and tear, and also does not contain the usual agents that makes ordinary paper glow slightly under an ultraviolet light. Paper money or banknote paper is also sometimes impregnated with polyvinyl alcohol or gelatin to give it that extra strength and durability.

Paper money is basically composed of 25 percent linen fibers and 75 percent cotton fibers, and red and blue synthetic fibers of various lengths are distributed evenly and consistently throughout the paper like material. It is said that prior to World War I, these fibers were made out of silk, but the practice was quickly discontinued because it wasn’t cost effective and practical.

Most banknotes these days are made using the mould method in which a watermark and thread is incorporated during the material forming process, mainly to thwart currency counterfeiters. To keep up and stay ahead of currency forgers, paper money today has also become so high-tech, and the newer designs include state-of-the-art technology like Cornerstone, Platinum and Optiks, all of which increases the strength and security of paper money.

Manufacturers of banknote paper were also swift to recognize the problems associated with dirt and they developed a special paper with a thin layer of varnish on the surface to repel them. Recently, the composition of materials used in producing paper money has also changed dramatically with the introduction of synthetic technology, which comprises an impenetrable network inside the cotton fiber structure, supporting the banknote and intensifying its mechanical stability, Newer products like Synthec and Diamone Composite has also responded to this call and the growing demand for higher mechanical stability of the paper, making paper money more resistant to wear and tear. Consisting of 80 percent cotton fiber and 20 percent synthetic fiber, Synthec based paper money lasts longer and is more flexible. Some countries around the world have also adopted polymer, which is basically soft plastic, to replace the traditional cotton and linen composites. 

More On The United States $1 Bill

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

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Like the rest of the United States currencies, the one dollar bill is composed of 25 percent linen and 75 dollar billspercent cotton, with red and blue synthetic fibers distributed throughout the paper. The notes weigh one gram each and are 2.61 inches in width and 6.14 inches in length, with a thickness of .0043 inches. The United States one dollar bill is worth one hundred United States cents.

The United States government spends 4.2 cents to produce a single dollar bill and dollar bills are printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, also known as the BEP. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produces well over than sixteen and a half million one dollar bills every day, and most of these notes are used to replace older and worn out dollar bills which are no longer deemed fit for circulation. The average dollar bill has a life span of about eighteen to twenty-two months, depending on frequency of usage, and wear and tear. The United States Treasury estimates that there are billions and billions of one dollar bills which are circulating the globe to date.

The first one dollar bill was issued as a Legal Tender Note back in the year 1862. These early one dollar bills featured the portrait of Salmon P. Chase, who was the Secretary of the Treasury under President Abraham Lincoln. Only until the year 1869, was the portrait of George Washington used on the one dollar bill, and this remains the case until today. A vignette of Christopher Columbus sighting land was also featured to the left of the note during this time.

In 1886, the picture of Martha Washington, who was also the original first lady and wife of George Washington, was featured on the one dollar silver certificate, making her the first women ever to appear on any United States currency. Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S Grant are also amongst the few to have been featured on the United States one dollar bill, although this depictions dates to 1899. The designs on the one dollar united states note and silver certificates were more streamlined and standardized beginning 1923, with minor exceptions such as color and ink.

In the year 1929, all United States currency changed to the standard and current size we now see, although various designs and depictions continued to be featured throughout the years after. In the 1957, the one dollar bill became the first piece of United States currency to bear the legendary motto ‘In God We Trust’. The current design of the one dollar bill was finalized in 1969 and has remained the same ever since, and no plans to redesign the one dollar bill has been proposed to date, even though higher denominations from five dollars onward have been redesigned to curb counterfeiting.

The United States one dollar bill is also the most experimented and tested bill in the nation’s history. In 1933, a test was conducted to determine the different ratios of cotton and linen used in the paper of dollar bills. Another well-known test was done in 1942 during World War Two to test alternative types of paper that paper currency can be issued in. This was a precautionary measure in case the current type of paper supply ran out. In 1992, the one dollar bill was again put under the microscope when the Bureau of Engraving and Printing began testing a web-fed press, to facilitate the production and issuance of more dollar bills.

Designs On The $1 Bill

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

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It is said that 45 percent of all United States currency produced today consists of the one dollar bill, whichone dollar bill would make it the most seen and used of all denomination of US currency. The one dollar bill also brags having the second oldest design of all US paper money, largely because of its obverse design which was adapted in 1963, which is also the year that the one dollar bill was inducted into the Federal Reserve Note status.

The visual rendering of George Washington, the first President of the United States is fittingly featured on the obverse side of the one dollar bill, and has been so since 1869. The Federal Reserve District Seal is placed to the left of George Washington as well as the name of the Federal Reserve Banks that issued the note.

To the left of George Washington is the Federal Reserve District Seal. The name of the Federal Reserve Bank that issued the note surrounds a capital letter between A and L, to identify which of the twelve Federal Reserve Banks it was issued from. The sequential numbers of the these banks are also displayed over the open spaces on the four corners of the dollar bill. The Treasury Department Seal is placed to the right of George Washington and the balancing stars represents justice for all. The chevron of stars signifies the original colonies and the key below it stands for authority and trust. The year 1789 printed on the seal represents the year the Department of Treasury was established.

Below the Federal Reserve District seal, and to the left of George Washington, is the signature of the Treasurer of the United States. This will vary from time to time depending on the terms being served by the official, and the Secretary of the treasury’s signature is placed on the right side of the seal. The series and the year that the dollar bill was printed will be shown to the left of this Secretary’s signature and the number one (1) on the edges of the bill is entwined with olive branches.

The reverse side of the one dollar bill has a design infusing the Great Seal of the United States and various other symbols which purposes have been debated by historians and controversy enthusiasts alike. An unfinished pyramid is placed to the left of this seal and the separated top of the pyramid portrays the all-seeing eye. The shadow cast by the pyramid from the rising sun is said to symbolize the undiscovered lands to the west of the nation and the rising sun is said to symbolize the beginning of a new and powerful country. The Latin phrase Annuit Cœptis which means that God has favored the undertakings of the nation is also located above the pyramid.

Novus Ordo Seclorum which translates to ‘a new order of the ages’ is written on a ribbon below the pyramid and this phrase is said to be taken from the fourth Ecologue of Virgil. Also shown on the base of the pyramid is the roman numerals MDCCLXXVI or 1776, which is the year that the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence took place.

To the right of the reverse side of the note is a picture of the obverse side of the Great Seal which depicts a heraldic Bald Eagle and on the front of this eagle is a shield, said to signify the country’s fledgling ability to stand on its own. A glory of stars is also illustrated on the top of the eagle’s head and clutched between its beak is a ribbon that reads “E PLURIBUS UNUM” which translates to, ‘From many, one’. To symbolize the yearning for peace, but the readiness to fight, the eagle is also depicted holding an olive branch in its right claw with arrows in its left.

The Presidents on United States Currency

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

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The decision as to which United States President graces the designs on the dollar bill is determined by thedollar tree United States Congress. United States Presidents have appeared on official banknotes, coins for circulation and commemorative coins in the United States as well as all around the world. Even throughout phases of redesigns, although there were significant changes in fabrication, the presidents which are depicted on the currency remained the same.

Currently, images of presidents that are struck on United States coins are Abraham Lincoln who was the 16th U.S. President for the penny, Thomas Jefferson who was the 3rd U.S. President for the Nickel, Franklin D Roosevelt who was the 32nd U.S. President for the Dime, George Washington who was the 1st U.S. President for the Quarter, John F Kennedy who was the 35th U.S. President for the Half Dollar, and Dwight D Eisenhower for the one dollar coin, although one dollar coins depicting President Eisenhower was ceased in 1978. Susan B Anthony and Sacagawea, both significant historical figures, currently grace United States one dollar coins.

The names of the presidents depicted on the United States paper currency are George Washington who was the 1st U.S. President for the one dollar bill, Thomas Jefferson who was the 3rd U.S. President for the two dollar bill, Abraham Lincoln who was the 16th U.S. President for the five dollar bill, Andrew Jackson who was the 7th U.S. President for the twenty dollar bill, Ulysses S Grant who was the 18th U.S. President for the fifty dollar bill, and Benjamin Franklin on the one hundred dollar bill. Note that Benjamin Franklin was not a President of the United States, although he was a very prominent figure in its history.

Other presidents that were featured are William McKinley who was the 25th U.S. President on the five hundred dollar bill, Grover Cleveland who was the 22nd and 24th U.S. President on the one thousand dollar bill, James Madison who was the 4th U.S. President on the five thousand dollar bill, and Woodrow Wilson who was the 25th U.S. President on the one hundred thousand dollar bill. Salmon P Chase, depicted on the ten thousand dollar bill, was a former Secretary of the Treasury and was the only non-president that was depicted in the larger denominations of the United States currency. All of these notes, however, are now considered obsolete and are no longer in circulation.

Recently, the Presidential Dollar Coin Program was passed by congress and former presidents will be honored if their death is two or more years before the intended issue date of these coins. Presidents that will grace these coins to date, in sequential order, are George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford,  and Ronald Reagan. Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush may be depicted as well if they meet the requirement above.

The Canadian Dollar

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

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The Canadian Dollar, like its name suggests, is the major currency of Canada. To tell it apart from other the canadian dollardollar denominated currencies around the world, the Canadian dollar adopted the letter ‘C’ in front of its dollar ($) sign. Currently, the Canadian Dollar is amongst the top-ten most traded currency in the world.

Dating back to 1858, the first Canadian coins which was struck in 1 cent, 5 cent, 10 cent, and 20 cent denominations, were issued by the Province of Canada. Other coin denominations like 50 cents, 1 dollar, 2 dollars, 5 dollars, and 10 dollars were issued much later to meet the public demand. Canadian Coins are minted and produced by the Royal Canadian Mint. The facility is located  in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and currently issues coins in denominations of 1 cent, 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent, 50 cent, 1 dollar, and 2 dollars. These coins are also called, in respective order, a penny, a nickel, a dime, a quarter, 50¢ piece, a loony, and a toonie.

The designs on the reverse and obverse side of these coins also usually revolves around Canadian symbols, like wildlife and the effigy of Queen Elizabeth the Second, although some pennies and dimes of the yesteryears, which are still in circulation, carries the image of King George the Sixth.

Issued between 1813 and 1815, largely due to the War of 1812 where it was used during the emergency, the first form of paper money issued in Canada were the British Army Bills. These were denominated between 1 and 400 dollars. The first banknotes, however, were issued in 1817 by the Bank of Montreal. Other chartered banks around the country also followed suit thereafter and began issuing these notes for several decades to come. Prior to the year 1858, many notes were issued in currencies like shillings, pounds and dollars, resulting in varied denominations such as 1 dollar, 2 dollars, 3 dollars, 4 dollars, 5 dollars, 10 dollars, 20 dollars, 25 dollars, 40 dollars, 50 dollars, 100 dollars, 500 dollars, and 1000 dollars. This ceased after 1858 though, and only dollar denominations were used from then on.

the canadian dollar2The Province of Canada began issuing paper money beginning 1841, and these notes were produced for the government by the Bank of Montreal between 1842 and 1862. The notes were issued in denominations of 4 dollars, 5 dollars, 10 dollars, 20 dollars, 50 dollars, and 100 dollars. The Province of Canada began officially issuing its own paper money in 1866, and these came in denominations of 1 dollar, 2 dollars, 5 dollars, 10 dollars, 20 dollars, 50 dollars, 100 dollars, and 500 dollars. After the year 1896, denominations of 500 dollars, 1000 dollars, 5000 dollars, and 50,000 dollars were issued and used for bank transactions only.

In 1935, the Bank of Canada was founded and began issuing notes in denominations of 1 dollar, 2 dollars, 5 dollars, 10 dollars, 20 dollars, 50 dollars, 100 dollars, and 500 dollars, and 1000 dollars, officially ceasing the currency issuing operation of the chartered banks in 1944. As part of the fight against money laundering and organized crime, in the year 2000, the Bank of Canada stopped issuing 1000 dollar notes and began withdrawing them from general circulation.

To date, Canadian dollar banknotes issued by the Bank of Canada remains of legal tender in Canada. Just as American Dollars are accepted by many Canadian merchants and businesses in cities which are near the American/Canadian border, the Canadian Dollars are also accepted by some businesses in the northernmost cities of the United States.

The History Of Paper Money

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

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It is well known that paper currency or paper money was first created by the Chinese,who also incidentallyworld paper currency invented paper around 100 AD. The development of paper money in its earliest form can be traced right back to the 7th century. In the year 812, as a temporary solution to massive copper shortages, a Chinese Emperor started issuing paper money as a form of currency to aid trade, and this caught on so well that by the year 970 it was considered as a dominating type of currency in ancient China.

Stag skins, bark, or parchments marked with the imperial seal as “bills of payment” were used as a form of paper money during this time in history, and the penalty for those caught counterfeiting was death.

Before Marco Polo came back from his many voyages to China, dated between 1275 to 1292, the people of Europe initially doubted that the Chinese effectively used paper for as a form of currency, and paper money only began circulating in Europe 300 years later. However, the use of paper money ceased in China in the year 1455.

Paper currency had a lot of problems in gaining acceptance in Europe, although leather money was temporarily used around the year 1100, as a substitute to silver when the precious metal started becoming scarce. The history of paper currency in Europe started as emergency money substituting regular money such as coins. The first emergency paper bills are dated back to the year 1483 and the first bank notes were printed in the 17th century.

In 1161, a Swedish bank starting issuing paper currency but the money quickly lost its value when the bank started flooding the market with it. These first bank notes carried a guarantee that it could be traded at any time for coinage. Interestingly the name of this bank note was ‘cash’, a term that we still use today to describe paper money. The oldest existing bank note in the world is the 1000 ‘cash’ note of the Ming dynasty.

euro paper moneyThe usage of paper currency only caught on in Europe in the early 1700’s, when the French Government officially began issuing paper currency. The idea came from the paper receipts goldsmiths often gave their customer as a proof of payment and these receipts can be exchanged for gold as and when needed. This act was a milestone and was so significant that money was seen as a representation of valued commodity, as its exchangeable for silver and gold anywhere. A piece of paper currency is as good as a guarantee by the issuing institution, either the government or the bank, that would ensure the holder of the bill receive a predetermined amount of silver or gold from its reserves when it is produced. This is where the system in which money was backed by gold originated from, with the exception of times of war or national emergencies when paper money was supported by actual supplies of precious metal. This practice, however, ended in 1971.

Today, paper currency can be exchanged for almost any form of goods or services, in its value in return. This monetary system has proven so effective for so long that it may take a very long time before the currently emerging electronic money, as we know it today, will be commonly used as an alternative currency to paper money.

The United States Mint

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

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The United States Mint was established on April 2, 1792, by the Unites States Congress through the Coinageunited states mint Act of 1792. The United States Mint building is said to be the first structure built under the Unites States Constitution and continues to hold this location in Philadelphia, which was also the capital of the republic back then. This historical building was also appropriately called “Ye Olde Mint”. The United States Mint comes under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Treasury and is fully backed by the Treasurer of the United States.

The first director of the United States Mint was David Rittenhouse, a well renowned American astronomer, inventor, clockmaker, mathematician, surveyor, scientific instrument craftsman, and public official. Henry Voigt, who is credited with some of the first designs on the United States coinage, was employed by the Treasury to be the Mint’s first Superintendent and Chief Coiner. One of the most critical positions at the Mint is that of the Chief Engraver, which was held by such acclaimed men, among others being Frank Gasparro, William Barber, Charles E. Barber, James B. Longacre, Christian Gobrecht, and Anthony C. Paquet. The current director of the Mint is Edmund C. Moy.

The main objective of the United States Mint is to supply sufficient amounts of coinage for ease of trade and commerce in the United States. The Mint currently churns out an average of fifteen billion coins annually. Its other responsibilities include dispensing United States coinage to the Federal Reserve banks and its subsequent divisions, maintaining the physical charge and securing the country’s one hundred billion dollars worth of gold and silver holdings, the minting of proof, uncirculated, commemorative coins, and medals to be sold to public, producing and selling all United States platinum, gold, and silver bullion coins, and last but not least administering its other minting locations in Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; West Point, New York; Denver, Colorado; San Francisco, California; and Fort Knox, Kentucky, where the United States Bullion Depository is currently situated. Both the Denver and Philadelphia Mints is known to produce up to 65 million to 80 million coins per-day!

united states mintThere were several other Mints that was set up in the mid-nineteenth century by the Treasury Department which are no longer operational today. These Mints were located in Charlotte, North Carolina; Dahlonega, Georgia; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Carson City, Nevada, respectively. Some say that apart from the end of the Civil War, these Mints ceased its operations because of the drying up of precious metals like gold and silver, around these areas. Another prominent Mint was set up in Manila, Philippines, in 1920. This is the only US mint established outside of the Continental United States which was in charge of minting coins for the colony, and all coins struck at this mint would bear the M mintmark, for Manila. The Manila Mint closed down in 1941, during the initial stages of the second World War.

Today, the United States Mint receives more than one billion dollars in revenues, each year, and as a self-financed organization, its net profits are handed over to the General Fund of the Treasury. The Mint prides itself in propagating world-class business practices in producing, selling, and protecting the coinage and assets of the United States of America.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

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The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is currently the largest and only producer of all legal tender United bureau engraving printingStates currency today. It prints billions of Federal Reserve Notes every year and delivers them to the designated Federal Reserve Banks, to be issued and circulated accordingly. These Federal Reserve Notes are produced at two of its current facilities located in Washington D.C., and Fort Worth, Texas. Tours are offered to the public at these buildings and it showcases the various steps of United States currency production. The tour usually begins with the process of sorting out the large sheets of blank currency papers, closely followed by the intricate methods of getting the dyes ready, to the actual printing procedures itself, and ending with the ready to be spent dollar bills.

Apart from currency production, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing also plays an important role in advising other Federal managed agencies on document security matters. It also processes claims for the redemption of all United States currency that have been mutilated. It prides itself in its continuous effort in the research and development area which focuses on the continued use of state-of-the-art automation and counterfeit prevention technologies for use in the production of United States currency, further guaranteeing its integrity.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing began its operation in the United States Treasury building back in 1862, resulting from a legislation which was enacted to help fund the Civil War. This legislation authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to issue paper currency in lieu of coins, largely because of the slowly diminishing funds that was desperately needed to sponsor the war. Before long, in 1877, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing was entrusted with the sole responsibility of producing all United States paper currency.

Prior to this, a private firm produced Demand Notes in sheets of four, and these sheets were then sent to the Treasury Department where dozens of clerks signed the notes, with another multitude of workers cutting the sheets and trimming it down by hand. This process eventually became mechanized and was moved down to the building’s basement, giving birth to the Bureau, an important umbrella of the Treasury which proved to be efficient as well as practical.

Before it was officially recognized in congress and was given specific allocations of operating funds through various legislations, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, in prior to the year 1875, was more commonly known as First Division of National Currency Bureau. Other of its failed labels include, Printing Bureau, Small Notes Bureau, Currency Department, and Small Notes Room.

Apart from printing currency, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is also given the task to produce revenue stamps, treasury securities, military commissions, award certificates, invitations and admission cards, different types of identification cards, passports, forms, and other special security documents for a variety of Government agencies. This additional responsibilities which was taken on by the Bureau beginning 1894, established it as the nation’s pioneer security documents printer which responds in like to the United States Government, both in times of peace and war.

The New and Enhanced Five Dollar Bill

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

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On March 2008, the newer, safer, smarter, and more secure five dollar bills were produced and put into new 5 dollar billcirculation. These notes is said to be so advanced that its much harder to forge and almost impossible to reproduce. So smart is the new five dollar bill that counterfeiters find it grueling to keep up with its technology. Two of the most important security features, that were first introduced in the 1990’s, are retained on the newly designed five dollar bill, which makes it so much easier to inspect. These features are the tried and tested watermark and the security thread.

The watermarks on the redesigned five dollar bill comprise of a large number five located to the right of the portrait and a column of three smaller fives which is positioned to its left. The large number five watermark actually replaces the previous watermark portrait of President Lincoln found on the older five dollar bills. These two new enhanced watermarks can easily be seen by holding the notes up to the light.

As for the security thread of the new five dollar bills, these have been moved to the right of the portrait, compared to the older version which is located to the left. The number five, as well as the words “USA”, alternates the visible pattern along the threads from either sides of these notes. When held under an ultraviolet light, this embedded security thread will turn a shade of blue glow. Like the watermarks, the security thread can also clearly be seen when held up to a light source.

Newer enhanced portraits and historical images also grace the new five dollar bills. Apart from making counterfeiting more difficult to achieve, these new notes also include other features that aids in telling the different denominations apart, particularly for people who are visually impaired.

New colors have also been added to these notes to make life just that much harder for currency forgers. The most noticeable difference is the addition of a shade of purple around the center of these bills, which slowly blends into a greyer shade when it nears the edges. The numbers “05” is also added to the left of the portrait on the front of the bill, as well as the right of the Lincoln Memorial vignette on its reverse side.

new 5 dollar billsOther prominent changes were also made to the new five dollar bills and these include the Symbol of Freedom on the background of the bills, an altered portrait of President Abraham Lincoln, a redesigned vignette of the Lincoln Memorial, micro-printing of the words “FIVE DOLLARS,” “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” “USA,” and “USA FIVE,” enhanced Federal Reserve indicators, and the relocation of the serial numbers.

Because United States currency is widely circulated and used around the world, public awareness efforts have been initiated by the government to properly introduce these new notes, its sole aim being to educate the public on the various changes, how to properly utilize the security features, and steps that can be taken to further authenticate the bills. Hopefully this exercise will prove effective in ensuring the smooth transition of the new five dollar bills into the financial market. Interestingly, given all these added features and complex designs, the new five dollar bills will continue to be easily recognized globally as essentially American.

The Legendary 100 Dollar Bill

Friday, October 24th, 2008

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Currently, the largest denomination of all Unites States currency, which remains of legal tender, is the one
100 dollar billhundred dollar bill. These bills have been in full circulation since 1969 following the termination of the larger five hundred dollar, one thousand dollar, five thousand dollar, ten thousand dollar, and one hundred thousand dollar denominations. One hundred dollar bills are said to comprise of up to 7 percent of all United States currency produced today.

Delivered by the Federal Reserve Banks in mustard-colored strips, the average life span of the current one hundred dollar bill in circulation, according to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, is approximately five years or sixty months, before it succumbs to general wear and tear.

The obverse side of the one hundred dollar bill features the famous inventor, diplomat, and U.S. statesman Benjamin Franklin. The bill is also one of two of United States legal tender denominations today which does not feature a President of the United States of America. The other note is the ten dollar bill, which depicts the image of Alexander Hamilton, the first United States Secretary of the Treasury.

The reverse side of the one hundred dollar bill is printed with the illustration of the United Sates Independence Hall. Interestingly, the clock on the building appears to show the time of 2:22 or 2:23, although some currency enthusiasts argues that its actually showing 4:10 instead. Another inconsistency is the numeral four on the clock face which is written as “IV”, whereas the real Unites States Independence Hall shows “IIII” instead.

The first one hundred dollar bill was issued in 1862 as a large sized United States Note, and featured the Bald Eagle on the left side of the obverse. Before showcasing Benjamin Franklin on the Federal Reserve Note in 1914, the one hundred dollar bills produced in prior to that year featured other prominent figures such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and even James Monroe.

In 1928, the smaller standardized sized one hundred dollar bills began its circulation. These smaller bills were also made out to be consistent in design, making all variations of the one hundred dollar bills from then on to carry the same portrait of Benjamin Franklin, the exact border designs on the obverse and reverse, and the vignette of the United States Independence Hall.

Some of the many nicknames one hundred dollar bills have been given are a “Benjamin,” a “Benjie,” a “Frank” or “Franklin”, a “C-note”, a “Century Note”, a “bill”, a “Big-face”, a “Large”, a “Charlie”, and even a “Big one”.

Late in 2008, newer and more secure one hundred dollar bills with enhanced designs and features are expected to be released. One of the state-of-the-art fixture that will grace these notes is the new Crane & Company security feature called Motion™, which consist of up to 650 thousand micro-lenses, which are embedded in the notes during the printing process. This will allow for selected images on the one hundred dollar bill to shift when the note is seen at a certain angle, making it almost impossible for counterfeiters to replicate.

EuroBillTracker – The leading Euro Bank Note Tracking Website

Friday, October 10th, 2008

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eurobilltrackerThe EuroBillTracker website has been tracking Euro banknotes circulating the globe since early 2002. Said to be inspired by the Where’s George website of the United States, the site was created by Philippe Girolami and managed by an international non-profit team. The growth of the site is credited to active users who take care of the forums, translate the site, provide email support, and handle various other tasks. This free to use website is developed with the sole purpose of tracking Euro banknotes as it travels around the globe.

Basically, what the site does is extract various disseminated information by generating graphs and statistics, ultimately notifying its users as the Euro currency makes its way around the world. It also literally tracks Euro banknotes by informing a user who originally enters a banknote information into the system and subsequent users with the same banknote information, by email, on its whereabouts, at any given time. It also statistically ranks various other related details such as the most number of notes entered by a user, best countries in term of frequency of tracking, as well as which countries are the notes most settled in.

Typically, a user enters information of their Euro banknotes on the site and if a note is already registered, the user is notified immediately on its historic whereabouts, and anytime that particular note is entered again on the system, an email notification will be sent to whoever that has entered the information of that particular note - past, present and future. Currently, more than 46000 notes are registered, on an average, at the website every day, and since its launch, a little more than 50 million notes have been tracked.

Due to its popularity, a community of trackers, from the higher volume tracking countries, was started up to help support the site, especially in the Benelux countries, Finland, and Slovenia. Ironically, the number of users from the more populated nations such as France, Spain, and Ireland have been low.

This community has also been organizing annual pan-European meetings since 2004, and in August 2008, a conference was held in Ljubljana, to discuss its bright future. Due to its success, it is now consented that a new pan-European meeting be held every six months. Apart from these yearly international engagements, local national gatherings at various levels have also been organized in support of its effort.

Currently, the website is said to be administered by a non-profit organization called The European Society for EuroBillTrackers, which has its headquarters in Belgium. This outfit was said to have stemmed from a principal disagreement with the founders and webmasters of the site, causing a split of the EuroBillTracker website late in 2007, but was later integrated back into a single site in January 2008.

To date, the number of users registered on the site have exceeded over 130000, and the total value of all Euro banknotes entered so far is well over the billion mark, a very encouraging statistic indeed. Here’s to wishing the same success for our site here at TrackDollarBills :)

Federal Reserve Notes vs. United States Notes

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

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united states notesProduced by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and issued by the 12 Federal Reserve Banks of the Unites States of America in accordance to the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, the Federal Reserve Notes are one of two remaining US paper currency in circulation which are off legal tender today.

Before obtaining the notes, the Federal Reserve Bank must first prove that it owns equal amounts of collateral in value as a guarantee. These are usually in the form of gold certificates, US securities, and other physical assets. This requirement, which was motioned by the United States Congress, is to ascertain that in case of the dissolution of the Federal Reserve System, the liabilities of these notes can be transferred and managed by the United States Government, after first attaining the warranted assets and collateral of the Federal Reserve Banks.

Being first printed in 1914, the Federal Reserve Notes of today are not exchangeable for any form of commodities, even gold and silver, and aren’t secured by anything either. This wasn’t always the case though, as it was redeemable for silver before the year 1964, and gold before the year 1933, both these years being the end of the silver and gold standards respectively. Today, in exception of what the notes will or can buy, it has no obligated value by itself. In simple terms, the Federal Reserve Notes will only buy you all the goods and services backed by the nations economy, a term also known as fiat currency.

Federal Reserve Notes are distributed to commercial banks belonging to the Federal Reserve System, and are issued by the Federal Reserve Banks as and when requested. In order to pay for the Federal Reserve Notes in full, these commercial banks are required to first draw down their accounts with the Federal Reserve Banks in their respective districts.

The other US paper currency which remains as legal tender today are the United States Notes, even though it is no longer placed in circulation since its issuance was discontinued in January 21, 1971, making it obsolete. The United States Notes, interestingly, was also the first paper currency issued in the United States of America, making its debut during the Civil War after it was approved by the Legal Tender Act of 1862.

federal reserve notesThe United States Notes was issued directly by The Treasury Department, under the watchful eyes of the Unites States Government. It was limited to an amount of only $300 million in circulation at any given time, an insignificant figure these days but a magnanimous sum during the Civil War. In prior to the year 1964, the United States Notes, like the Federal Reserve Notes, was also commonly exchanged for silver and gold.

The most significant difference between a United States Note and a Federal Reserve Note is that a United States Note was reassigned into circulation free of interest, or as a bill of credit, whereas the Federal Reserve Note will generate interest to banks and stockholders. These stockholders will then act as a lending agent between the Government and the people.

Another difference between these two types currencies is that the treasury seal and the serial numbers on the United States Notes are printed in red, while these features appears in green on the Federal Reserve Notes. The United States Notes have also been credited with originating the term “Greenback”, as the currency was first printed in a distinctive green reverse, giving birth to the famous moniker that US dollar bill is today known as.

Designs On US Dollar Coinage

Friday, September 26th, 2008

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coinsDollar coins have had as colorful of a history as any paper currency here in the United States. It has, throughout time and again, been minted in various metal elements, which includes gold, silver, copper-nickel, and manganese-brass.

The first dollar coin minted back in 1974 was made out of silver. The minting of this silver dollar continued steadily until 1935, although it is said that its production was temporarily ceased between 1803 and 1836. Seven different designs were listed to have graced the dollar coin throughout this period and these are the Flowing Hair from 1794 to 1795, the Draped Bust from 1795 to 1803, the Gobrecht Dollar from 1836 to 1839, the Seated Liberty from 1840 to 1873, the Trade Dollar from 1873 to 1878, the Morgan Dollar from 1878 to 1921, and the Peace Dollar from 1921 to 1935.

Gold dollar coins, that was made out of 90 percent pure gold, were produced from 1849 to 1889. The decision to mint gold dollar is said to be credited to the gold rush period of the 1840’s. Because of its worth, the gold dollar is the smallest coin ever produced in the United States to date. The gold dollar coin spanned three periods of design stages, the first being the Liberty Head from 1849 to 1854, the Small Indian Head from 1854 to 1856, and the Large Indian Head from 1856 to 1889. It is also said that although gold dollar coins were no longer minted after 1889, several issues were struck in 1915 and 1922 to commemorate the Panama Canal and U.S. Grant respectively, and continued to circulate until the abandonment of the gold standard in the 1930’s.

The next phase in the United States coinage was the copper-nickel clad dollar coins, a period which spanned from 1971 to 1999. Designs on this variety of mint includes the Eisenhower Dollar from 1971 to 1978, the Eisenhower Bicentennial from 1975 to 1976, and the Anthony Dollar from 1979 to 1999. The Anthony Dollar or also cynically known as the “Carter quarters”, due to the poor performance of the dollar during President Jimmy Carter’s term, was minted in tribute to Susan B. Anthony, an important American civil rights leader of the 19th century.

In the year 2000, the Sacagawea Dollar series took birth and it still remains one third of all coins produced to date. The only other design of coinage that is of legal tender is the Presidential Dollar Coin Program, which was introduced in 2007.

The program was initiated to commemorate the former Presidents of the United States and it was decided that four new engraved relief portraits of them be minted each year, in sequential order by term served in office. The Statue of Liberty is engraved on its reverse, along with the inscription “$1 and the words “United States of America”. Presidents that have adorned the coins so far are George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and Martin Van Buren, the latter being released this coming November.

If this program should continue to depict all of our Presidents, George W. Bush would adorn the dollar coin in 2016. Cant wait!

Dollarization

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

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dollarizationDollarization, in a nutshell, transpires when a nation uses foreign currency to substitute theirs. Although the terminology may have different interpretations, officially what happens is a country ceases the use of their own domestic currency and opts for a much stabile foreign currency, usually to help aid their already ailing economies. Although similar in effect, dollarization is another slow but sure-fix alternative to pegging or maintaining a floating currency, which are all efficient methods in endowing a much steady and secure economic and investment environment.

So far, currencies that have been officially used for dollarization are the United States dollar, the Euro, the Australian dollar, the Russian ruble, the Swiss franc, the Indian rupee, the New Zealand dollar, and the Turkish new lira.

Today, more countries in the world have dollarized their currencies to the US dollar as compared to any other foreign money. Amongst some of the countries that have adopted the US dollar as legal tender are British Virgin Islands, East Timor, Marshall Islands, Ecuador, Federated States of Micronesia, El Salvador, Turks and Caicos Islands, Palau, and Panama. These countries may have opted for dollarization due to its emerging and transitional economies, or could also have had owing issues with rising inflation.

Dollarization wasn’t always an approachable option though, as it was previously believed to be not viable on a political stand point. However this changed in 1999, when it began gaining a reputation as an implementable strategy by a number of countries in dire need of an economic surge. This was probably because it was thought to be the most instrumental strategy in lowering inflation and promoting better financial strength.

Many of these countries may have also already been using US dollar informally in prior to fully engaging in dollarization, probably in private or public transactions, banks accounts or even contracts. The full switch to foreign legal tender would mean that individuals and institutions were beginning to desperately protect their interests against an imminent and fore-seeable devaluation of their local exchange rate. Dollarizing their economies would also mean that their financial markets become more credible, ending any further damaging financial speculations and further stifling capital markets. The fact that the disparities in exchange rate is no longer a threat is also a driving factor behind the reduction of interests on foreign lending.

Apart from many of its advantages, dollarization also has its short-comings. One of the main disadvantages of dollarization is a nation virtually gives up its right to directly control its own economy or administer any monetary policies, and its ability to manage exchange rates. This is primarily because with dollarization the country no longer prints its own currency.

Another drawback to dollarization is the practicing country will no longer be able to collect any profits from the issuing of currency. This happens when the cost of producing the currency is lower than the actual currency itself. The US Federal Reserve collects all profits in this instance. Apart from the negative impact this has on GDP, the country in its entirety also suffers a significant loss of income.

Dollarization also robs a nation of its sense of individualism, due to the autonomous financial and economic policy that’s conditioned with it. Whatever the pros and cons of dollarization may be, experts say that it is only to be used as an extreme alternative, as most countries that have adopted it finds it a process that is almost impossible to reverse, without causing long lasting financial repercussions that is.

The US Dollar As The Leading International Reserve Currency

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

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euros us dollarsThe US dollar has always been the most imperative reserve currency in the world, to date at least. So significant is the US dollar bill in its trade that it is said that up to 70 percent of international currency reserves today is made out of the US dollar. This is probably the reason why the United States can afford to run higher global trade deficits and get away with it, its because of the much delayed impact this has on its economy. This “float” illusion also ultimately gives the US dollar bill enough time to recuperate, and in doing so helps to absorb some of the brunt of a financial crisis.

The reason the US dollar gained such an acclaimed reputation is due to it consistency in strength, making it a favorite amongst international traders. It was so commonly used in international trade that nations began stockpiling US currency as a indefinite form of bailout. The stash also directly helps strengthen export competitiveness within these countries, although this would also directly result in the weakening of their own respective currencies. Another advantage to stockpiling the US dollar is the fast and great inflows of capital it creates, which ultimately helps its intention in buffering against any impending financial predicaments.

This wasn’t always the case though, the US dollar did not have as much international presence as it does today early in the century, and this is why many experts say the US economy crashed back in 1929, during the great depression, because the world wasn’t as dependant on it as it is today.

Even essential commodities like gold and oil are priced in US dollar to create a more common global denominator, eliminating unhealthy trade competition, and many countries retain the currency as a means to ease trade.

The US dollar was initially established as a reserve currency principally because the US flooded the world with economical but quality manufactured goods, forcing international markets to have US dollar ready-at-hand. This is no longer the case these days, US made goods are now expensive and countries like Japan produce higher quality goods for fraction of the price.

Today, the US dollar is slowly loosing its appeal as the preferred reserve currency globally, thanks to the introduction of the Euro, arguably a much more stable currency, although continuous debates follows those who may think otherwise. Whatever it may be, I think the US dollar will preserve its status as the number one reserve currency for a long long time to come.

Fascinating Money Facts

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

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money factsWhile cruising around the Internet the other day I found these little tidbits of information about money. Thought I’d share them with all of you.

Did you know that money in the larger denominations such as the $50.00 and $100.00 dollar bills can last up to 8 years while the average life of a $1.00 bill is 18 months? Why is that I wonder? Any ideas?

Now this is interesting. 97% of all paper money has traces of cocaine in it. Hmmm wonder if the government wants us all high so we won’t pay attention to what they’re doing. And if our money has cocaine in it, where is the government getting their drugs from? I thought drugs were illegal? While I’m sure the cocaine is probably a natural ingredient in the materials used to make the money, it still makes you wonder. Am I the only one who thinks about this stuff?

Here’s some more fodder for conspiracy theorists. On the clock tower of Independence Hall that is printed on the $100.00 bill the time is set at 4:10. According to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, there are no records explaining why that particular time was chosen. Does anyone know the significance of 4:10? I don’t, but would very curious to hear your theories.

We American’s must really love our one dollar bills because almost half of all money printed in the United States is a one dollar bill.

Martha Washington is the only woman to ever appear on a U.S. currency note. Her face graced the one dollar Silver Certificate of 1886 and 1891, and was on the back of the one dollar Silver Certificate issued in 1896. Now that would be a very unique piece of history to have if you can find one.

Now I know very few people actually have $10 billion dollars, but if you did and you spent $1.00 every second of every day it would take you 317 years to spend it.

The name “Greenback” often associated with the one dollar bill comes from Demand Note dollars created by Abraham Lincoln in the late 1800’s. He created these special notes to finance the Civil War. This money was printed in black and green on the back side of the bill. Hence the name Greenback.

Talk about sturdy! Did you know that you’d have to fold a bill of any denomination over 8,000 times forward and backwards before it would tear?

And for all the women out there: Statistics have shown that in 75% of American homes it’s the women who manage the money and pay the bills.