About Dollar Bills
The basic face and back designs of all denominations of United States paper currency, except the backs of the $1 and $2 denominations in general circulation today, were adopted in 1928.
The front of the bills feature portraits of famous, deceased American statesmen: George Washington on the $1, Thomas Jefferson on the $2, Abraham Lincoln on the $5, Alexander Hamilton on the $10, Andrew Jackson on the $20, Ulysses Grant on the $50, and Benjamin Franklin on the $100. Notes of higher denominations, while no longer produced featured William McKinley on the $500, Grover Cleveland on the $1000, James Madison on the $5000, and Salmon Chase on the $10,000.
Faceplace 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.
The backs of the bills feature images reflective of the history of our nation: The Great Seal of the United States on the $1, the signing of the Declaration of Independence on the $2, the Lincoln Memorial on the $5, the Treasury Building on the $10, the White House on the $20, the Capitol on the $50, and Independence Hall on the $100. Denominations higher than $100 feature ornate impressions of the numerical value of the note, such as an ornate "500."
A popular and often asked question about design is the one that appears on the back of the $1 note, the Great Seal of the United States. The front of the seal shows an American bald eagle behind our national shield. The eagle holds an olive branch, which symbolizes peace, with 13 berries and 13 leaves. In the left talon, the eagle holds 13 arrows, which represents war. The 13 leaves represent the original colonies. The eagle's head is turned toward the olive branch, showing a desire for peace.
The top of the shield represents the Congress, the head of the eagle the Executive branch, and the nine tail feathers the Judiciary branch of our government. The 13-letter motto, "E Pluribus Unum," on the ribbon held in the eagle's beak means "Out of Many, One."
On the reverse of the seal is a pyramid with 1776 in Roman numerals at the base. The pyramid stands for permanence and strength. The pyramid is unfinished, signifying the United States' future growth and goal of perfection. A sunburst and an eye are above the pyramid, representing the overseeing eye of a deity. The 13-letter motto, "Annuit Coeptis" means "He has favored our undertakings." Below the pyramid the motto, "Novus Ordo Seclorum" means "A new order of the ages," standing for the new American era.
The motto "In God We Trust" first appeared on U.S. coins in 1864. However, it was not until 1955 that a law was passed which stated that thereafter all new designs for coins and currency would bear that inscription.
DID YOU KNOW?
* During fiscal year (FY) 2007, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing will produce approximately 38 million notes a day with a face value of approximately $750 million.
* 95% of the notes printed each year are used to replace notes already in, or taken out of circulation. During FY 2007, 45.47% of the notes printed are $1 notes.
* The first paper currency issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury were Demand Notes Series 1861.
* During the Civil War period, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing was called upon to print paper notes in denominations of 3 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, and 50 cents. The reason for this is that people hoarded coins because of their intrinsic value which created a drastic shortage of circulating coins.
* In 1929, the size of currency was reduced to about 2/3's of its former size when production was converted to 12-subject plates. The familiar portraits and back designs of our currency were also established at that time.
* The approximate weight of a currency note, regardless of denomination is (1) one gram. There are 454 grams in one (1) U.S. pound, therefore, there should be 454 notes in (1) one pound(Avoirdupois system). If the troy system were used, there are (12) twelve ounces in (1) one pound; therefore, if one note weighs approximately (1) one gram, then (1) troy pound contains approximately 375 notes.
* 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.
* A stack of currency one mile high would contain over 14� million notes.
* Currency paper is composed of 25% linen and 75% cotton. Red and blue synthetic fibers of various lengths are distributed evenly throughout the paper. Prior to World War I the fibers were made of silk.
* Between the Fort Worth, Texas and the Washington, DC Facilities approximately 18 tons of ink per day are used.
* Have you ever wondered how many times you could fold a piece of currency before it would tear? About 4,000 double folds (first forward and then backwards) are required before a note will tear. *
The average life span of a Federal Reserve Note by denomination:
* The 100 dollar note has been the largest denomination of currency in circulation since 1969.
* The obverse and reverse of the Great Seal of the United States appeared in a currency design for the first time when the $1 Silver Certificate. Series 1935, was issued. The Seal dates back to 1782 -- before the Constitution.
* 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.
* The largest note ever printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing was the $100,000 Gold Certificate, Series 1934. These notes were printed from December 18, 1934 through January 9, 1935 and were issued by the Treasurer of the United States to Federal Reserve Banks only against an equal amount of gold bullion held by the Treasury. These notes were used for transactions between FRBs and were not circulated among the general public.
* The origin of the "$" sign has been variously accounted for, however, 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.
* 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.
* The hands of the clock in the steeple of Independence Hall on the reverse of the $100 Federal Reserve Note are set at approximately 4:10.
* 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.
* The beginning of an establishment for the engraving and printing of U.S. currency can be traced as far back as August 29, 1862, to a single room in the basement of the Main Treasury Building where two men and four women separated and sealed by hand $1 and $2 U.S. notes which had been printed by private bank note companies. Today there are approximately 2,800 employees who work out of two buildings in Washington, D.C. and a facility in Fort Worth, Texas.
* During Fiscal Year 2007, it cost approximately 6.2 cents per note to produce 9.1 billion U.S. paper currency notes.
The Great Seal of the United States on Paper Currency
The face (obverse) of the Great Seal first appeared on the back of the $20 Gold Certificate, Series 1905. In 1935, both the face and back (reverse) of the seal appeared for the first time on paper money on $1 Silver Certificates.
Mandated by the First Continental Congress in 1776, the Great Seal took many years of work by multiple individuals and committees before final adoption in 1782. The Department of State is the official keeper of the seal. A description and explanation of both the obverse and reverse of the seal comes from the Department of State pamphlet "The Great Seal of the United States" (September 1996):
Obverse Side of the Great SealThe most prominent feature is the American bald eagle supporting the shield, or escutcheon, which is composed of 13 red and white stripes, representing the original States, and a blue top which unites the shield and represents Congress. The motto E Pluribus Unum (Out of many, one), alludes to this union. The olive branch and 13 arrows denote the power of peace and war, which is exclusively vested in Congress. The constellation of stars denotes a new State taking its place and rank among other sovereign powers.
Reverse Side of the Great Seal The pyramid signifies strength and duration: The eye over it and the motto Annuit Coeptis (He [God] has favored our undertakings) allude to the many interventions of Providence in favor of the American cause. The date underneath is that of the Declaration of Independence and the words under it, Novus Ordo Seclorum (A new order of the ages), signify the beginning of the new American era in 1776.
The number thirteen, symbolizing the 13 original colonies, shows up numerous times:
* 13 total letters/digits in both 1776 (4) and its Roman Numeral equivalent MDCCLXXVI (9)
* 13 stars above the eagle
* 13 steps on the Pyramid
* 13 letters in ANNUIT COEPTIS
* 13 letters in E PLURIBUS UNUM
* 13 vertical bars on the shield
* 13 horizontal stripes at the top of the shield
* 13 leaves on the olive branch
* 13 berries on the olive branch
* 13 arrows
* 13 hats
The obverse side of the dollar is printed in black. The back (reverse) of the one dollar bill is printed in green (this is why the dollar bill is sometimes called a greenback). Other phrases that appear on the back are, "THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA," "IN GOD WE TRUST," "ONE," "ANNUIT COEPTIS" (which means, "Providence favors our undertakings"), "MDCCLXXVI" (which is 1776 in Roman numerals), "NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM" (which means, "A new order of the ages"), "E PLURIBUS UNUM," "THE GREAT SEAL OF THE UNITED STATES," "ONE DOLLAR," and various serial numbers.
There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.
In God We Trust added in 1957 by President Eisenhower
32 one dollar bills are printed each time the plate comes down. Directly below the big number 1 on the upper left top of the one dollar bill is a large letter, and a small number. The letter
indicates which row the bill you are looking at was taken from. The number beside the letter indicates the position of the bill on that row.
Just above the small one on the right hand side of the one dollar bill is a very small number and letter combination which tells exactly which specific plate was used to print this particular bill.
Now we reintroduce the Seal so that you can go directly across George's picture to the Bank seal on the left hand side in the same position. You will notice it has a LARGE letter in the center of the seal. These letters identify the bank that issued the bill. The letter K, for example, indicates that the Federal Reserve Bank in DALLAS Texas issued the bill. The Letter J identifies the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City Missouri. If the letter B is there the bill was issued in New York. The letter D indicates the Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland Ohio. The letter H indicates the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis Missouri. E indicates the Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond Virginia, etc..
Now we are ready to look at the SERIAL NUMBERS. There is one in the lower left hand portion of the one dollar bill, and a matching number in the upper right hand portion. The letter which precedes the numbers must be the same number that you saw identifying the Federal Reserve Bank. J for J. B for B, and D for D.
Interestingly enough, if you read off the serial number and give a DIFFERENT first letter than the one actually on the bill, the Treasury Department can tell instantly that you have made a mistake, or have a counterfeit bill in your hands. In the upper left hand corner -- beside the ROW identifier I mentioned previously, you will find a NUMBER. It is rather inconspicuous unless you are looking for it. This number is yet another identifier of the issuing bank. The number "2" (for example) must match the letter B in the issuing bank's seal. The same number will be found similarly in close proximity to each of the number 1s in each of the four corners of the one dollar bill.
The letter which trails after the numerals in serial number reveals how many times the exact same serial number has run. The letter A identifies it as the first run, and the letter Z identifies it as the 26th run with 32 bills printed on each run. Consequently, there can only be 832 bills printed with the same numbers.
The Presidential dollar coin is similar in size and color to the Sacagawea, but bears no inscription on the obverse (or face) side. "In God We Trust", "E Pluribus Unum", the issue year, and the mint mark appear on the edge. The fact that these national mottos appear on the edge has caused some conservative commentators to decry the designs.  The first dollar, honoring George Washington, was released into circulation on 15 February 2007.
A common minting error on this coin is the omission of the edge lettering; instead, the outside edge of the coin is plain. Because the omission includes the words "In God We Trust", some in the popular media have dubbed it the "godless" coin. A false (although at one time widely reported) error is the report that the edge lettering is upside down. The edge lettering does not occur at the same time as the minting of the coins, allowing for the natural occurrence of the lettering in either orientation.
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