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Fun Facts About the U.S. Treasury

The United States Treasury is responsible for the circulation of currency. Their job is important in the fact that they keep updated paper and coin money moving through the economy. They monitor the quality and durability of paper bills and reprint them or destroy them as necessary.

The treasury is a government-run agency. People who work in financial industries tend to know a lot about the treasury, currency, business, and finances, but most Americans may be surprised by some of the facts surrounding the treasury.

US Treasury
US Treasury

Paper Currency

It wasn’t until 1862 that the first paper currency was introduced. This happened to be around the same time as the Civil War. Many experts believe that paper currency was issued because citizens began hoarding their coins, which at the time were made of gold and silver, in order to save their money from the ravages of war. The paper currency of 1862 would have looked a lot different than the dollar bills of today.

Most people don’t realize that millions of new bills are printed every day. This is necessary because paper bills don’t last forever. One and five dollar bills last between eighteen months and two years before they’re destroyed by the treasury, while ten dollar bills last three years.

Twenties last four years, while fifties and hundreds last nine. This doesn’t mean that a one dollar bill from ten years ago isn’t good anymore; it means that if it’s been eighteen months and the treasury gets a hold of it, it will be destroyed and a new one will be made.

How much does it weigh?

Another fun fact is to determine the weight of a million one-dollar bills. If someone were to have a bag full of ones equal to a million dollars, they wouldn’t be able to carry it by themselves. The bag would be huge and would weigh more than 2,000 pounds.

It would be much more efficient to have a bag full of hundred dollar bills that equal one million, which would only weigh about twenty pounds. Of course, most people wouldn’t complain if they were given a million dollars, whether it was in one dollar notes or one hundred dollar notes.

Signature of the Finance Minister on the Dollar Bill

The dollar bill is having the signature of the then finance minister in U.S. Treasury and not the president. The signature or seal indicates that the currency has been authorized by the highest head of the issuer, and the signature of the finance minister on the dollar can also be seen as a manifestation of the superpower of the U.S. Treasury.

Male vs. Female

Usually, portraits of men are printed on paper notes. Most people have never asked the question, why hasn’t a woman’s face ever been printed on paper currency?

They may be surprised to learn that a woman’s face was printed on a one dollar certificate from 1886 and 1891. That person’s face was Martha Washington. Hers was the only female face ever to appear on United States currency.

The next question one might ask is if the face of an African American ever appeared on United States currency. Unfortunately, this hasn’t happened with official currency yet, however, some of their signatures have, including one African American woman, Azie Taylor Morton. Commemorative coins were issued around 1940 with the displayed faces of Booker T. Washington.

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