The origin of the “$” sign has been accounted for in many ways, but the most widely accepted explanation is that the symbol is the result of evolution, independently in different places of the Mexican or Spanish “P’s” for pesos, or piastres, or pieces of eight. The theory, derived from a study of old manuscripts, is that the “S” gradually came to be written over the “P,” developing a close equivalent of the “$” mark. It was widely used before the adoption of the United States dollar in 1785.
The vignette on the back of the $100 note is Independence Hall in Philadelphia. There are three people depicted in the engraving. Two (a man and a woman) are in front of the hall close to the building; the third person is a man pictured looking toward the building. There is no record that the man and woman are embracing.
The hands of the clock are set at approximately 4:10. Although the time is not readily identifiable to the naked eye, it may be verified if examined under twenty-fold magnification. There are no records explaining why that particular time was chosen.
As of July 31, 2000, of the $539,890,223,079 in total currency in worldwide circulation, $364,724,397,100 is in the $100 denomination.
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.
A revolutionary American creation, the Great Seal is a unique combination of natural elements (eagle, olive branch, stars, cloud, light rays, eye) and universal symbols (pyramid, arrows, shield).
The Great Seal was first used on the reverse of the $1 Silver Certificate in 1935. The Department of State is official keeper of the Seal. Symbolically, the seal reflects the beliefs and values that the Founding Fathers attached to the new nation and wished to pass on to their descendants. Charles Thompson (Secretary of Congress – 1782) explained the obverse side of the seal this way: The red and white stripes of the shield “represent the several states…supporting a [blue] Chief which unites the whole and represents Congress.” The colors are adopted from the American flag: “White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valor, and Blue, the colour of the Chief, signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice.” The shield, or escutcheon, is “born on the breast of an American Eagle without any other supporters to denote that the United States of America ought to rely on their own Virtue.”
The number 13, denoting the 13 original States, is represented in the bundle of arrows, the stripes of the shield, and the stars of the constellation. The olive branch and the arrows “denote the power of peace and war.” The constellation of stars symbolizes a new nation taking its place among other sovereign states. The motto E Pluribus Unum, emblazoned across the scroll and clenched in the eagle’s beak, expresses the union of the 13 States. Recent scholarship has pointed out the probable source of this motto: Gentleman’s Magazine, published in London from 1732 to 1922, was widely read by the educated in the American Colonies. Its title page carried that same motto and it is quite possible that it influenced the creators of the seal.
The reverse, sometimes referred to as the spiritual side of the seal, contains the 13-step pyramid with the year 1776 in Roman numerals on the base. At the summit of the pyramid is the Eye of Providence in a triangle surrounded by a Glory (rays of light) and above it appears the motto Annuit Coeptis, or “He (God) has favored our undertakings.” Along the lower circumference of the design appear the words Novus Ordo Seclorum, or “A new order of the ages,” heralding the beginning of the new American era in 1776.
American money is printed on special paper that isn’t really paper at all – it is a mix of cotton and linen, so it’s really a very thin, stiff cloth! If you look closely at a dollar bill, you can see red and blue threads in the paper. This is one of many ways you can tell whether a bill is real or fake (counterfeit).
A brand-new dollar bill feels bumpy, not smooth. This is because money is engraved, which is a special kind of printing. Special metal plates have the money design cut into them. The engraver coats the plates with ink, and then wipes the plates off so that only the design holds the ink. The plates press against the special paper, which transfers the ink.
Every dollar bill goes through this process three times: first in green, to print the back, then in black, for the front, and then green again for the serial numbers and the seals of the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve.
When the government first started printing paper money, it used private printing companies. To make sure the money was legal, government officials had to sign every bill – by hand! Every bill needed two signatures, and there were only six Treasury workers to do all that signing.
In the Zillions survey,(a consumer advice magazine for kids) 43% of the kids interviewed said they received an allowance-31% said they got neither an allowance nor spending money! More that eight out of ten kids in the survey said, “all kids should get an allowance.” What do you think?
Have you ever wondered why we have “piggy” banks instead of bunny banks or doggy banks? Pig-shaped money jars go all the way back to the 1200s. In the Middle Ages, people used to keep their money in a jar made out of a reddish clay called pygg. This kind of pottery became known as “piggery,” which was also the word for the place where pigs lived! People must have called their money jars “piggery banks,” so, as a kind of joke, potters began to make money jars in the shape of a pig.
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.