15 Fun Money Facts to Amaze Your Friends

fun facts about currency

Fun Money Facts

These fun facts about currency always intrigue me. We are in constant contact with money, but we don’t always know where it came from. Money is a huge part of our lives, and it has a long history throughout civilization in helping us trade for goods and services.

Here are 15 fun money facts that will open your eyes to the way currency has evolved.

Share these fun money facts with your friends and family!

1. The U.S. paper currency is primarily made of cotton.

The United States prints it’s paper money on a blend of cotton and polyester fibers with very little tree pulp that is normally used in paper. This is for durability reasons and to help prevent counterfeiting.

The exact formula is a closely guarded secret, but there are an ever evolving amount of security features in these bills.     

2. Currency bills are dirty.

This goes for every nation on earth that has a form of paper money, and this currency collects everything it comes in contact with. Money touches dirty hands, drugs, and any number of random surfaces. The currency then stays in circulation for more than 18 months.

There is no one checking where your money has been, so you should be wary of how dirty your bills are.

Imagine how many germs could be all over your bills!

3. The United States Secret Service was created to police and prevent counterfeiting.

The “Secret Service Division” of the United States Department of the Treasury was created because they believed that one-third of all the currency in the country was counterfeit in 1865.

Imagine being a store owner and having to check every single bill you collected!     

4. The Federal Reserve controls the printing of currency and used to report how much currency was currently in circulation.

While it ended in 2006, the Federal Reserve created reports on how much money was actually out in circulation. As of 2006, there was a little less than 1 Trillion in physical currency circulation in the United States.

The rest of our money, up to 12 Trillion, is held in vaults, accounts, or digitally.

5. On the back of the U.S. $5 bill, the Lincoln Memorial has all 50 states labeled across it’s facade.

This is duplicated from the monument itself, and is a beautiful detail. The $5 bill makes up only 6% of all the currency printed and will last up to 5.5 years before needing to be replaced.

6. It costs more to manufacture a penny than it is worth.

Manufacturing pennies is costly and they are only worth one cent. They are made of mostly zinc and a small coating of copper, but the material and manufacturing costs about 1.7 cents.

When the penny debuted in 1909, it was the first coin to have a portrait of a real person in the United States on the coin itself, and in this case Abraham Lincoln.

7. The U.S. dollar(USD-$) is the most traded currency in the world and holds an 87.6% share of global turnover by value.

The Euro is the second most traded currency in the world by value. These currencies are used all over the world daily. The U.S. dollar has even been adopted as the primary currency in some foreign nations. Panama uses American dollars as their primary currency.

8. The word “Currency” comes from the Middle English word “Curraunt” meaning “in circulation” and the Latin word currens.

It refers to a monetary system, usually of bank notes and coins. It also represents monetary policy.

9. Digital currency has no centralized government or bank promoting or supporting it’s use.

Cryptocurrency(ex. Bitcoin) uses Blockchain as a system of keeping a public transaction ledger. Bitcoin was created in 2008 by

Satoshi Nakamoto who also created Blockchain as a secure way of decentralizing currency.

It isn’t publicly know who Satoshi Nakamoto is. It seems to be a pseudonym for someone who wants to remain anonymous.

10. Early currencies were metals used as receipts that represented stored commodities such as grain.

This system was used in early Mesopotamia, but collapsed due to the currency only being as strong as the forces protecting the commodities.

In other words, even in the earliest days, currency’s value is tied to the strength of the government that issues it. There had to be grains backing the currency. 

11. Paper money originated from China.

During two dynasties, the Tang dynasty (618–907) and into the Song dynasty (960–1279) due to the increasing difficulty of carrying large amounts of metal coins, they developed paper money.

These bills were only valid for temporary use and in small regions.

Early American Money

Credit: Wikipedia

12. Credit, debt, savings accounts and checks were Introduced by Muslim economists, traders and merchants.

They also helped create banking institutions for loans and deposits.

The oldest bank still in existence is Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, headquartered in Siena, Italy, which has been operating continuously since 1472.

13. Australia introduced the first polymer bank note in 1988.

These bank notes are made from polymers like biaxially oriented polypropylene, which gives the notes much more durability versus the cloth notes used by most countries.

Polymer notes were created to lower the cost of production, but they also reduce the environmental impact of producing currency, and lengthen the time before they needed replacement.

14. From 1791 to 1857, Spanish silver coins were legal tender in the United States.

The $ symbol originated from the scribal of Spanish pesos, where an “S” and a “P” were written on top of each other. Over time the two letters were superimposed upon each other and became the dollar symbol($) we recognize today.

15. Mutilated Currency can be replaced for free!

Submit a claim here as long as there is more than one half of a bill, and you may have it replaced.

Bonus Fact: The legal framework for investing, goes back to 1700BC!

The Babylonians set forth the Code Of Hammurabi to help govern creditors and debtors.

The Story of Money

Money has a long and storied history and will continue to influence our everyday lives but we don’t put enough thought into the actual cash that we handle. 

We seek knowledge on how to acquire it, and how to save it, while even looking for more ways to spend less of it.

These fun facts about money are only a small taste of the subject and we would love to hear any facts you may have found!

Let us know if there are any fun facts that you know about money!

If you would like to follow our journey through the financial world, start here!

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