The history of US currency is a complex one, but also interesting. You pay using coins and cash nearly every day, but do you really know the intricacies behind the design of a dollar or nickel?
- The first paper currency used in the US was issued by the Massachusetts Bay Colony to provide funding for military exploits.
- In 1861, to help finance the Civil War, the US issued non-interest-carrying bills called greenbacks. All money issued after this point is still valid for use today.
- In 1969, the Federal Reserve ended the printing of large-denomination bills—the $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000.
- The largest note ever printed was the $100,000 bill, which was used in circulation in Federal Reserve banks. It never appeared in the general public.
- The Federal Reserve was established in 1913 to help protect the financial interests of the United States.
- The US Secret Service was initially established in 1865 in an effort to stop the counterfeiting of American money.
- In 1990, bills first began printing with security threads and microprinted designs to deter counterfeiters.
- Presidents are chosen for specific bills by the Secretary of the Treasury and the Office of Engraving. No living person can lawfully appear on US currency.
- Dollar bills that get too worn from everyday handling are replaced, whereas coins can stay in circulation for up to 25 years.
- The durability of currency is actually pretty sturdy. It would take 4,000 folds for a bill to tear.
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