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Facts About United States Coins & Currency

Facts About the $1 Note

  • The first $1 notes (called United States Notes or "Legal Tenders") were issued by the Federal government in 1862 and featured a portrait of Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase (1861-1864).
  • The first use of George Washington's portrait on the $1 note was on Series 1869 United States Notes.
  • The first $1 Federal Reserve Notes were issued in 1963. The design, featuring George Washington on the face and the Great Seal on the back, has not changed.
  • Of all the notes printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the $1 note makes up about 45% of currency production.
  • 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.
  • Faceplate Numbers and Letters are the small numbers and letters that can be found in the lower right and upper left corners of a bill. In the left corner is the Note Position Number. This consists of the Note Position Letter and a quadrant number. The combination indicates the position of the note on the plate from which it was printed. In the lower right corner, the Note Position Letter is followed by the Plate Serial Number. This identifies the plate from which the note was printed. The Plate Serial Number for the reverse (back) side of the note is in the lower-right corner, just inside the ornamental border on the reverse of the bill.

Image: www.moneyfactory.gov/images/1noteid.pdf

Facts About the $2 Note

  • The first $2 notes (called United States Notes or "Legal Tenders") were issued by the Federal government in 1862 and featured a portrait of the first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton (1789-1795).
  • The first use of Thomas Jefferson's portrait on $2 notes was on Series 1869 United States Notes. The same portrait has been used for all series of $2 United States Notes as well as for all $2 Federal Reserve Notes.
  • Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's estate in Virginia, was first featured as the vignette on the back of the Series 1928 $2 United States Note.
  • In celebration of the United States' bicentennial, a $2 Federal Reserve Note, Series 1976, was introduced. The new design maintained the portrait of Jefferson on the face but the back was changed from Monticello to a vignette of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The most recent printing of the $2 note has the Series 2003 date. There are no plans to redesign the $2 note.
  • The vignette on the back of the current $2 Federal Reserve Note features an engraving of John Trumbull's painting "The Signing of the Declaration of Independence." The original Trumbull painting portrayed 47 people, 42 of whom were signers of the Declaration (there were 56 total). However, because of a limited amount of space on the note, 5 of 47 men in the painting were not included in the engraving.

Facts About the $5 Note

  • The vignette on the reverse of the $5 bill depicts the Lincoln Memorial. There are engraved on that building the names of the 48 States in the Union in 1922, the year the Memorial was dedicated. Consequently, the note vignette shows the names of those states that are engraved on the front of the building.

    They are as follows: Upper frieze - Arkansas, Michigan, Florida, Texas, Iowa, Wisconsin, California, Minnesota, Oregon, Kansas, West Virginia, Nevada, Nebraska, Colorado, and North Dakota. Lower frieze - Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Carolina, Hampshire, Virginia, and New York. (The States of South Carolina and New Hampshire are shown without their prefixes.)

Facts About the $10 Note

  • 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 bill.

Facts About the $20 Note

  • The Series 2004 and 2006 $20 note first entered circulation on October 9, 2003.
  • The 1996-2001 series $20 bill was first issued in September 1998.

Facts About the $50 Note

  • The Series 2004 and 2006 $50 note first entered circulation on September 28, 2004.
  • The Series 1996-2001 $50 notes first entered circulation in October 1997.

Facts About the $100 Note

  • The new $100 note design debuted on April 21, 2009 during a ceremony at the Department of the Treasury's Cash Room.
  • The Series 1996-2003A $100 note was first issued in March of 1996.
  • The $100 note has been the largest denomination of currency in circulation since 1969.
  • The first $100 notes (called United States Notes or "Legal Tenders") were issued by the Federal government in 1862 and featured a vignette of an American eagle.
  • The first use of Benjamin Franklin's portrait on $100 notes was on the first series of Federal Reserve Notes, Series 1914.
  • Beginning with Series 1996, $100 notes feature large portraits, watermarks in the paper, and color-shifting ink. The notes also include microprinting (small lettering that is hard to replicate) on the face of the note, "USA 100" is within the number in the lower left corner, and United States of America appears as a line in the left lapel of Benjamin Franklin's coat.
  • Since Series 1928, the $100 note has featured an engraving of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The former State House of Pennsylvania, Independence Hall is often called the birthplace of our Nation. Within its walls, the Declaration of Independence was signed and the Constitution of the United States was drafted.
  • There is no record that the man and woman standing in front of the hall close to the building are embracing. The hands of the clock on the hall are set at approximately 4:10. There are no records explaining why that particular time was chosen.

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