Interesting figures

7,000 tons of currency shreded The Federal Reserve shreds 7,000 tons of worn out currency each year. As you probably guessed, the note most frequently replaced is the $1 bill. There are currently four billion $1 bills in circulation, and the life expectancy of each is approximately 18 months. Bills of larger denominations stick around longer since they are handled less than the $1 bill. The Life Expectancy for the $5 bill is 2 years, for $10 it is 3 years, for $20 it is 4, for the $50 and $100 bills it rises to 9 years
$58 million "lost" every year Virgin Atlantic Airways discovered that it takes in an average of 18 cents per passenger per flight in loose change found in the plane's seats. If that figure holds for the approximate 320 million people who fly from one country to another worldwide each year, the total is about $58 million. Lost coins on domestic flights don't amount to much, however. Chicago O'Hare cleaning crews said they found only about 6 cents per flight. It is suggested that more travelers to other countries "accidentally" leave foreign coins behind to avoid dealing with them once they get home
$696 million The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) is responsible for designing and printing the US paper currency. There is also a satellite production facility located in Fort Worth, Texas, which began operations in January 1991. The BEP produced approximately 37 million currency notes each day with a face value of about $696 million, and 45 percent of these notes are the $1 denomination. About 95 percent of the currency notes printed each year are used to replace notes that are already in circulation
$8 billion worth of coins circulating There is approximately $8 billion worth of coins circulating in the US today. The U.S. Mint produces nearly 30 billion coins for general circulation each year (28 billion in 2000 and 21 billion in 2001)
$100,000 The largest denomination of currency ever printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) was the $100,000 Series 1934 Gold Certificate featuring the portrait of President Wilson. 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 Department. The notes were used only for official transactions between Federal Reserve Banks and were not circulated among the general public
The $2 bill Contrary to the impression of many US citizens, the $2 bill remains one of the country's circulating currency denominations. On September 12, 1996, Robert E. Rubin, the 70th Secretary of the Treasury, was presented with a new series $2 bill. The Series 1995 notes were printed at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing's (BEP) Western Currency Facility and bear the seal of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. According to BEP statistics, 590,720,000 Series 1976 $2 bills were printed and as of February 28, 1999, there was $1,166,091,458 worth of $2 bills in circulation worldwide
Bacteria on coins and currency A study of American coins and currency revealed the presence of bacteria, including staphylococcus, E. coli, and klebsiella, on 18 percent of the coins and 7 percent of the bills
Fold 4,000 times You can fold a piece of US currency forward then backward about 4,000 times before it will tear
$1.19 and no change If you have three quarters, four dimes, and four pennies, you have. You also have the largest amount of money in US coins possible without being able to make change for a dollar
Change and more There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar (but don't expect me to list them)
Portrait on coins The first coin to feature an African-American was the Booker T. Washington Memorial Half Dollar in 1951. For the autorization of any commemorative coins, the Congress must enact legislation and after approving the silver half-dollar coin honoring Booker T. Washington, the Congress stopped authorizing commemorative coins for many years
Sacajawea dollar When the Sacajawea dollar coin was launched in 2000, a half billion coins were issued within 14 weeks of the first ones rolling off the mint presses. It took the Susan B. Anthony dollar 14 years to reach that much circulation. The "Sackie," with its golden patina, was hoarded by collectors at an average rate of 13 coins per person in the United States when it was first issued
Lincoln cent The most collected coin is probably the United States Lincoln cent. Minted in tremendous numbers from 1909 to the present, they are inexpensive and widely available with the exception of a few rare dates
Why is a Quarter called two bits? During the colonial days, people used coins from all over the world. The most commonly used coin was the Spanish milled dollar, which was also called the "pieces of eight" or "ocho reales." This "peso" or "ocho reales" became the de-facto monetary unit of the Americas and it was even used in the US as legal tender up until the 1830; it was equivalent to the US dollar.

The Spanish milled dollars were easily cut apart into equal "bits" of 8 pieces. One "bit" would be equal to 1/8 of a dollar, and 2 bits would equal 2/8 (or 1/4 - a quarter of a dollar). By the way, this is the reason that stocks trade in 1/8 increments. It is because originally the US colonials used "reales" to bid on stocks (one real = 1/8 of a peso or one bit). Even the dollar sign is a relic of this, as it was originally a figure 8 with two vertical strokes through it
Dime The word "dime" is an anglicized version of the word "disme" (pronounced "deem"), meaning tenth. The word is traced back to Simon Stevin van Brugghe, aka Simon Stevinus, aka Stevin. Stevinus invented the decimal system as a convenient alternative to the fractional system that was being used in mathematics. He published a paper, called 'De Thiende' in 1585 under the name Stevin. It was immediately translated to French, and was translated to English by Robert Norton in 1608, and entitled 'Disme: the art of tenths, or, Decimall arithmeticke.'

Although the decimal system won a fair amount of acceptance in the scientific community it did nothing for currency. Stevin's paper was republished in 1634. The article found favor in the American Colonies, and when the United States won its independence, the founding fathers, saw the decimal system monetarily as a way to make a dramatic change from the past. Among the first coins issued by the United States was the 1792 Half Disme, and the 1792 Disme. Within a couple of years, the word became "dime."
Coin design US coin design cannot be changed more than once in 25 years without special legislation by Congress
Bucks The slang term for a dollar, buck, likely came about in the early US frontier days when the skin of a male deer (a buck) was a common currency
Uncommon denominations There are $2 bills in circulation, but they were last printed in 1996. In the 1930s, a series of $100,000 bills were printed, the largest denomination in U.S. history. These bills were used only for transactions between Federal Reserve banks; they were never circulated publicly

100,000 dollars bill

Hidden pictures On an American one-dollar bill, there is an owl in the upper left-hand corner of the "1" encased in the "shield" and a spider hidden in the front upper right-hand corner
The States All 50 states are listed across the top of the Lincoln Memorial on the back of the $5 bill
Inflation crisis

Unisted States currency during inflation crisi

How much cash is there in U.S. currency? According to the Federal Reserve, in September 1999 it was about $6,250 billion (M3). How much money is that? It's a lot... But if you look at the U.S. federal budget for 2000, you will see that it is only enough money to run the U.S. federal government for a few years

Fort Knox

The United States Bullion Depository Fort Knox in Kentucky opened in 1937. For its construction, 16,000 cubic feet of granite, 4,200 cubic yards of concrete, 750 tons of reinforcing steel, and 670 tons of structural steel were used as building materials. The cost of construction was $560,000 and the building was completed in December 1936, although the first gold was moved in January 1937. It is a classified facility, which means that no visitors are permitted and no exceptions are made.

  • Amount of present gold holdings: 147.3 million ounces
  • The only gold removed has been very small quantities used to test the purity of gold during regularly scheduled audits. Except for these samples, no gold has been transferred to or from the Depository for many years
  • The gold is held as an asset of the United States at book value of $42.22 per ounce
  • Highest gold holdings this century: 649.6 million ounces (December 31, 1941)
  • Size of a standard gold bar: 7 inches x 3 and 5/8 inches x 1 and 3/4 inches
  • Weight of a standard gold bar: approximately 400 ounces or 27.5 pounds

In the past, the Depository has stored the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, Lincoln's Gettysburg address, three volumes of the Gutenberg Bible, and Lincoln's second inaugural address. In addition to gold bullion, it has stored valuable items for other government agencies, such as the Magna Carta. The crown, sword, scepter, orb, and cape of St. Stephen, King of Hungary were also stored at the Depository, before being returned to the government of Hungary in 1978.