U.S. Currency Facts
DID YOU KNOW?
During fiscal year (FY) 2007, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing produced
approximately 38 million notes a day with a face value of approximately $750
95% of the notes printed each year are used to replace notes already in, or
taken out of circulation.
The first paper currency issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury were
Demand Notes Series 1861.
During the Civil War period, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing was called
upon to print paper notes in denominations of 3 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 25
cents, and 50 cents. The reason for this is that people hoarded coins
because of their intrinsic value which created a drastic shortage of
In 1929, the size of currency was reduced to about 2/3's of its former size
when production was converted to 12-subject plates. The familiar portraits
and back designs of our currency were also established at that time.
The approximate weight of a currency note, regardless of denomination is (1)
one gram. There are 454 grams in one (1) U.S. pound, therefore, there should
be 454 notes in (1) one pound(Avoirdupois system). If the troy system were
used, there are (12) twelve ounces in (1) one pound; therefore, if one note
weighs approximately (1) one gram, then (1) troy pound contains
approximately 375 notes.
If you had 10 billion $1 notes and spent one every second of every day, it
would require 317 years for you to go broke.
A stack of currency one mile high would contain over 14½ million notes.
Currency paper is composed of 25% linen and 75% cotton. Red and blue
synthetic fibers of various lengths are distributed evenly throughout the
paper. Prior to World War I the fibers were made of silk.
Between the Fort Worth, Texas and the Washington, DC Facilities
approximately 18 tons of ink per day are used.
Have you ever wondered how many times you could fold a piece of currency
before it would tear? About 4,000 double folds (first forward and then
backwards) are required before a note will tear.
The average life span of a Federal Reserve Note by denomination:
$ 1 ...............
$ 5 ...............
$ 10 .............
$ 20 .............
$ 50 .............
The 100 dollar note has been the largest denomination of currency in
circulation since 1969.
The obverse and reverse of the Great Seal of the United States appeared in a
currency design for the first time when the $1 Silver Certificate. Series
1935, was issued. The Seal dates back to 1782 -- before the Constitution.
The legend, "In God We Trust," became a part of the design of United States
currency in 1957 and has appeared on all currency since 1963.
The largest note ever printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing was
the $100,000 Gold Certificate, Series 1934. These notes were printed from
December 18, 1934 through January 9, 1935 and were issued by the Treasurer
of the United States to Federal Reserve Banks only against an equal amount
of gold bullion held by the Treasury. These notes were used for transactions
between FRBs and were not circulated among the general public.
The origin of the "$" sign has been variously accounted for, however, the
most widely accepted explanation is that the symbol is the result of
evolution, independently in different places, of the Mexican or Spanish
"P's" for pesos, or piastres, or pieces of eight. The theory, derived from a
study of old manuscripts, is that the "S" gradually came to be written over
the "P," developing a close equivalent of the "$" mark. It was widely used
before the adoption of the United States dollar in 1785.
Contrary to popular belief, the automobile pictured on the back of the $10
note is not a Model "T" Ford. It is merely a creation of the designer of the
The hands of the clock in the steeple of Independence Hall on the reverse of
the $100 Federal Reserve Note are set at approximately 4:10.
Martha Washington is the only woman whose portrait has appeared on a U.S.
currency note. It appeared on the face of the $1 Silver Certificate of 1886
and 1891, and the back of the $1 Silver Certificate of 1896.
The beginning of an establishment for the engraving and printing of U.S.
currency can be traced as far back as August 29, 1862, to a single room in
the basement of the Main Treasury Building where two men and four women
separated and sealed by hand $1 and $2 U.S. notes which had been printed by
private bank note companies. Today there are approximately 2,800 employees
who work out of two buildings in Washington, D.C. and a facility in Fort
During Fiscal Year 2007, it cost approximately 6.2 cents per note to produce
9.1 billion U.S. paper currency notes.