Unknown facts about the US dollar

The US dollar is the most popular currency in the world. About 90% of all financial operations are conducted with the US dollar on exchanges, and the rate of this particular currency has been and remains the most stable. Therefore, interest in the dollar does not decrease either among traders, investors, ordinary people who store their funds in this currency, or even not much interested people - it is important for everyone to know what is the reason for the popularity of the dollar and whether it has any secret side? Surely there is. We’ll tell at least a few little-known facts about the American dollar.

Everybody knows what a dollar bill looks like. Still, we are talking about the most popular currency in the world. But stories related to the US dollar are not known to everyone. We present to your attention several facts regarding the most popular currency on the planet.

The origin of the dollar

The prototypes of those dollars that we used to see and use today are bills of exchange, debentures, that were in circulation in the USA in the 1860s. Their reverse side was printed in green ink at that time, for which the bills were nicknamed "greenbacks". And even today, “buck” is persistently used among not only local residents of the United States, but also the population of the whole world. But few people know that until 1929, green was not used at all for printing banknotes. And only after the official dollar standard was adopted in 1929, green dyes began to be used again to print banknotes.

By the way, despite the fact that the green color really inspires confidence among people using this currency, the color was chosen not only for this reason. That is simple, green dyes were the cheapest at that time.

But modern banknotes of the American dollar again acquired new shades in the form of slightly pink and yellow.

Structure, weight and size

Dollar bills cannot be called 100% paper. No, not like that. Dollar bills cannot be called such at all, because in their manufacture textile materials are used, such as linen (25%) and cotton (75%). In simple words - woodless paper is used to make a banknote, so the banknote is elastic to the touch, but is durable. If you try to break it, which, of course, is not worth doing, then the bill will not be torn immediately, returning to its original form. Its strength was proved by experiments, as a result of which it was revealed that in order to tear a banknote without applying force for this, it will have to be bent at least 4000 times in the same place.

Despite the fact that all banknotes are made, regardless of their denomination using the same technology, the life of each of them is different. To a greater extent because some bills are used more often and others less often. For example, a 100 dollars bill can be used for 60 months on average, but a 5 dollars bill will last only 24 months, while the shortest life of a 10 dollars bill is 18 months.

The most popular banknotes in the United States are denominations of 1 and 20 dollars. But in other countries, 100 dollars bills are often used, which creates big problems for giving change. Therefore, if you pay attention, most often goods sold in foreign countries “for dollars” have a rounded amount in order to give change easier.

By the way, the size of banknotes is 155.956 mm by 66.94 mm with the weight of 1 gram.

Design features

Today, on every banknote and coin, regardless of their denomination, you can find the slogan "In God We Trust" which has become legendary throughout the world. But few people thought about the origin of this phrase.

It was first used in 1864 on a two-cent coin issued at that time, and exclusively as a design element. And it took as much as 100 years for this phrase to be officially printed on all coins and banknotes, in 1964 the corresponding law was adopted.

By the way, since we’ve started talking about design, it’s worth noting that the $100 banknote was changed only twice during its entire existence. And just superficially, without moving Benjamin Franklin off the pedestal, but only slightly modifying his portrait.

In general, banknotes of the American currency are adorned by portraits of famous people exclusively male. And despite the fact that the US government is actively fighting for gender equality. Be that as it may, the fact is clear - women were not allowed to the banknotes of the national currency, like the portraits of famous African-American figures, by the way. And only the only lady adorned a certificate of 1 silver dollar in 1886. This woman was Martha Washington.

However, if we believe the statements of the US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew from 2015, there will be a new bill in denominations of $10 with a picture of a woman by 2020. Which woman, however, is unknown. Like whether this promise will ever become a reality.

As for the portraits of current presidents on banknotes of the US national currency, it has been prohibited by law since 1866 - surviving politicians have no right to decorate banknotes and coins of the state.

Face value of the US dollar

The smallest denomination of the US dollar is 1. The largest is a 100 dollars bill. In total, in the line of dollars the following options are presented: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollars. And in all this diversity, it is least likely today to see a 2-dollar banknote. All because its release ceased in 2003.

Therefore, if someone still has such a banknote, you can safely consider it special, because sooner or later they will become unusable and go out of circulation, leaving only a memory of themselves. Numismatists, keep $2 as the apple of their eye!

But the largest bill ever printed in the United States has a face value of $100000 with the image of Woodrow Wilson – 28th US President. The banknote was issued in 1934.

Up to this point, the state already had a currency in denominations of 500, 1000, 5000 and 10000 dollars, but together with the new 100000 bill they were destined to exist only until 1945. And in 1969, the then president of the state, Richard Nixon, banned the issuance of currencies whose face value would exceed $100.

By the way, it’s quite reasonable. The fact is that during the circulation of large banknotes, gangsters actively plundered American banks. Indeed, it was in these institutions that large bills were located with the aim of making settlements between banks within the country.

Today, any of the denominations 500, 1000, 5000 and 10000 dollars, if it falls into the bank, is immediately subject to destruction, because such money has long been withdrawn from circulation.

Nevertheless, collectors still do not lose hope once to meet rare banknotes and are ready to pay for them amounts in excess of face value. For example: in 2006, a banknote of 1860 with a face value of $,000 was sold at auction for $2255000.

Dollar sign $

Each currency has its own "brand" mark, which is used in official documentation, and simply when writing. The US dollar also has it and it looks like this: "$". But few people know where the root of this sign come from. We are telling.

A businessman from New Orleans named Oliver Pollock used peso as his settlement when making financial transactions. The currency was designed in the form of “Ps” - a merger of the letters “P” and “S.” Simplifying the task of calculations, Oliver used the “S” icon in documents, crossing it with two vertical lines, which made it appear that the letter “P” is superimposed on the "S".

And the “$” sign became an official sign of the US dollar a bit later. The Oliver Pollock's idea was picked up by Roberts Morris, who was the representative of the United States government. It was he who became the first to use this sign in official documents.

The magic of number 13

Each dollar bill has its own "drawing" on the back of the banknote. The 1 dollar bill is especially interesting for the images displayed on it, in one way or another, each of them is associated with the number 13:

  • a saying of 13 letters in Latin: “Annuit Coeptis”, which translates as “He blessed our enterprise”;
  • another inscription from a similar number of letters: "E Pluribus Unum", the translation of which reads as “Out of many, one”;
  • the image of an eagle above whose head there is a constellation of the same number of stars - 13;
  • the bird squeezes arrows in the amount of 13 units in its claws, as well as an olive branch with 13 fruits and 13 leaves.

"Why?" – you would ask. The fact that the number 13 was chosen for a reason. It is this number of colonies that has the state inclided: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Amsterdam, soon renamed New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.


Experts from Ohio revealed that absolutely all US dollar banknotes that circulated earlier and are now in circulation contain bacteria. This, of course, is not surprising - money is constantly changing hands. But most of these bacteria are not terrible for human health. However, 7% of the bacteria found, according to experts, can still cause harm to human health and cause diseases such as staphylococcus and pneumonia.

And the dollar is not one!

In addition to the well-known to the masses the American dollar, there are quite a large number of currencies, the name of which includes "dollar" in the world. At the moment, there are 44 types of dollars, including both the well-known - New Zealand, Australian, Canadian, Singaporean - and relatively little-known: the dollar of Kiribati, the dollar of Niue, the dollar of the Cook Islands, etc.

However, no matter how many dollars there are on the planet, the US currency is and remains the most valuable and stable. And as the experience shows, it is best to store savings in a stable currency, which is the American dollar.

Author: Kate Solano for Forex-Ratings.com
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