100 fascinating facts about money


Written by:

The most important Presidential election in history happened a few months ago, and you know what else prominently features Presidents?


While we contemplated something along the lines of “Bad Financial Advice from U.S. Presidents,” we thought something more lighthearted and fun, but also informative, was in order.

With those ideas in mind, we spent several weeks (okay, maybe just a few hours) scouring the internet looking for the most interesting money facts we could find.

These facts cover U.S. currency, world money and historical money. They range from the depressing to the exciting, from the shocking to the bizarre.

Here are 100 fascinating money facts for you to enjoy.

Image Credit: Prostock-Studio / istockphoto.

Fact 1. The study of money

The study of money is called numismatics.

Image Credit: miki-tiger / istockphoto.

Fact 2. Giddy up!

The first Philadelphia Mint used horses in harness to drive the machinery that produced coins.

Image Credit: RomanBabakin / istockphoto.

Fact 3. China did it first

The first paper money was made in China 1,000 years ago.

Image Credit: Grindi / istockphoto.

Fact 4. Coins go waaaay back

The first coins were made about 2,500 years ago.

Image Credit: kvkirillov / istockphoto.

Fact 5. Queen Elizabeth II is a money icon

Queen Elizabeth II has appeared on more currency than any other person.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

Fact 6. There’s a lot of currency out there

There are over 170 different currencies in use around the world.

Image Credit: IvancoVlad / istockphoto.

Fact 7. Monopoly money is easier to come by

There is more Monopoly money printed every year than actual money.

Image Credit: martince2 / istockphoto.

Fact 8. Real-life currency is getting more rare

Only 8% of currency is in physical form.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

Fact 9. Money is actually gross

Money is estimated to be dirtier than a toilet.

Image Credit: ananaline / istockphoto.

Fact 10. Goodbye slugs, hello pennies!

Pennies planted in the garden will repel slugs.

Image Credit: ligora / istockphoto.

Fact 11. The TSA has a full piggybank

The TSA collected $765,759.15 in loose change at airport security checkpoints in 2015.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

Fact 12. Average allowance money

The average allowance is $65 a month.

Image Credit: oleksagrzegorz / istockphoto.

Fact 13. Piggybanks have history behind them

Piggy banks originated from the “pygg,” a clay used for making jars that held money.

Image Credit: Yingko / istockphoto.

Fact 14. ATMs stretch all seven continents

In fact, there is an ATM in Antarctica.

Image Credit: SteveAllenPhoto / istockphoto.

Fact 15. Lottery tickets actually have a small following

Over half of lottery tickets are bought by 5% of people.

Image Credit: Warren-Pender / istockphoto.

Fact 16. Pablo Escobar even made rats rich

Drug Lord Pablo Escobar had so much money laying around that rats ate approximately $1 billion.

Image Credit: Irina Tiumentseva / istockphoto.

Fact 17. Have shriveled dollar bills?

Putting bills in the microwave for about 20 seconds will make them crispy again.

Image Credit: LightFieldStudios / istockphoto.

Fact 18. One dollar can take you a long way in some places

The largest denomination ever printed was in Hungary in 1946, worth 100 quintillion pengoes.

Image Credit: Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Hungarian National Bank) / WikiMedia Commons.

Fact 19. Salary = salt?

The word “salary” comes from sal, meaning “salt” in Latin. Early Romans used salt as money.

Image Credit: Photosiber / istockphoto.

Fact 20. Zimbabwe faced huge inflation

The world’s worst inflation is in Zimbabwe. There was a 6.5 sextillion percent inflation rate in 2008.

Image Credit: swisshippo / istockphoto.

Fact 21. Again, China did it first (this time with money lingo)

The word “cash” originated in ancient China, where a bundle of 100 coins was called one cash.

Image Credit: VM_Studio / istockphoto.

Fact 22. Cent is derived from Latin

The word “cent” is derived from the Latin centum, meaning “hundred.”

Image Credit: swisshippo / istockphoto.

Fact 23. The term “Cash Cow” was actually based off of cows…

The term “cash cow” originated from early forms of currency in the form of livestock.

Image Credit: nobtis / istockphoto.

Fact 24. Going to space is expensive stuff

The International Space Station is the most expensive object ever built at $150 billion U.S.

Image Credit: 3DSculptor.

Fact 25. The sand dollar actually was… a dollar

Sea shells were once commonly used as money in many parts of the world.

Image Credit: Faina Gurevich / istockphoto.

Fact 26. Bill Gates is set for life (even as a high-roller)

Even spending $1 million a day, it would take Bill Gates 218 years to spend all his money.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

Fact 27. Credit cards aren’t even that old

Credit cards originated in the U.S. during the 1920s and could be used at individual companies.

Image Credit: Kritchanut / istockphoto.

Fact 28. The Diner’s Club made history

The first credit card that could be used at a variety of companies was introduced by the Diner’s Club in 1950.

Image Credit: Hitomi / WikiMedia Commonns.

Fact 29. The first national bank card began in California

The first national bank card was BankAmericard, which began in California with Bank of America in 1958. It was later renamed VISA in 1976.

Image Credit: Infrogmation of New Orleans / WikiMedia Commons .

Fact 30. Apple makes more per minute than most people per year

Apple earns $300,000 per minute.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

Fact 31. The Secret Service had a different original purpose

The Secret Service was originally created to fight counterfeiting in 1865.

Image Credit: Ben185 / istockphoto.

Fact 32. Want to become a money engraver?

It takes 12-15 years of training to become a money engraver.

Image Credit: Dmytro Synelnychenko/istockphoto.

Fact 33. A 12-year-old started the gold rush

The first gold rush in the U.S. happened in 1799 in North Carolina, when a 12-year-old boy found a 17-pound gold nugget on his family’s farm.

Image Credit: Public domain / WikiMedia Commons.

Fact 34. Adults love their credit cards

The average adult has between 8 and 10 credit cards.

Image Credit: Farknot_Architect / istockphoto.

Fact 35. Some more than others…

Walter Cavanagh, also known as Mr. Plastic Fantastic, has more than 13,000 credit cards.

Image Credit: Bet_Noire / istockphoto.

Fact 36. The dollar bill has hidden meanings behind it

The Latin E Pluribus Unum means “one out of many” and means one country out of many.

Image Credit: Nelson_A_Ishikawa / istockphoto.

Fact 37. How long does money last?

A $1 bill lasts an average of 18 months, a $5 bill lasts two years, a $10 bill lasts three years, a $20 bill lasts four years, and $50 and $100 bills last an average of nine years.

Image Credit: nito100 / istockphoto.

Fact 38. Nothing to fear, new money is printed every day

38 million notes with a face value of $541 million are printed every day.

Image Credit: scanrail / istockphoto.

Fact 39. Out with the old, in with the new

Ninety-five percent of the notes printed each year replace those already in circulation.

Image Credit: RUBEN RAMOS / istockphoto.

Fact 40. $1 bills take the lead

Almost half of all notes printed are $1 bills.

Image Credit: scanrail / istockphoto.

Fact 41. Paper bills are designed with comfort in mind

Paper bills are made of 25% linen and 75% cotton.

Image Credit: AndreyPopov / istockphoto.

Fact 42. Martha Washington made it on money

Martha Washington is the only woman to appear on a U.S. currency note back in 1886, 1891, and 1896.

Image Credit: U.S. public domain / WikiMedia Commons.

Fact 43. A two-cent coin did exist at one point

A two-cent coin was minted between 1864 and 1873.

Image Credit: Brandon Grossardt for the photograph; James Longacre for the coin design., Public domain / WikiMedia Commons.

Fact 44. Coins tell you where they were produced

The marks “S,” “D,” “P,” or “W” designate the Mint where the coin was produced.

Image Credit: joeygil / istockphoto.

Fact 45. There are four U.S. Mint locations

The four U.S. Mints are located in Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco and West Point, New York.

Image Credit: davidevison / istockphoto.

Fact 46. Quarters were a lot fancier at one point

Quarters were originally made of silver.

Image Credit: ScottNodine / istockphoto.

Fact 47. Lady Liberty was the OG on the quarter

Lady Liberty was on the quarter for over 100 years before being replaced by George Washington in 1932.

Image Credit: wrangel / istockphoto.

Fact 48. The penny likes to be bold

The penny is the only coin where the figure faces to the right.

Image Credit: wrangel / istockphoto.

Fact 49. In fact, you lose money making pennies

A penny costs more than a penny to make (about 2.4 cents).

Image Credit: John_Brueske / istockphoto.

Fact 50. U.S. currency used to have a huge value at point point

The largest U.S. currency was the $100,000 bill.

Image Credit: National Numismatic Collection,National Museum of American History / Wikimedia Commons.

Fact 51. U.S. money may not grow on trees, but it can help grow trees…

A farm in Delaware mulches 4 tons of U.S. bills into compost daily.

Image Credit: photopsist / istockphoto.

Fact 52. Nothing is perfect, except fake money

Counterfeit currency is frequently detected because they are more perfect than actual currency.

Image Credit: -zlaki- / istockphoto.

Fact 53. A pound of dollar bills doesn’t come easy

454 bills are equal to one pound.

Image Credit: Michael Burrell / istockphoto.

Fact 54. $20 bills get the most heat

The most counterfeited bill is the $20 bill.

Image Credit: kfb / istockphoto.

Fact 55. Each bank used to be in charge of printing money, too

Each bank printed its own money until the Federal Reserve was established in 1913.

Image Credit: AgnosticPreachersKid / WikiMedia Commons.

Fact 56. The $1 bill commemorates the original 13 colonies

The $1 bill contains many references to the original 13 colonies (look for things in 13).

Image Credit: Mike Rosiana / istockphoto.

Fact 57. Disney World has their own money

Many communities throughout the U.S. have their own currency, such as Walt Disney World.

Image Credit: Manakin / istockphoto.

Fact 58. The Liberty Head nickel will cost more than five cents

The 1913 Liberty Head nickel sold for $43.7 million, with only 5 known to exist.

Image Credit: US Mint (coin), National Numismatic Collection (photograph by Jaclyn Nash) / Wikimedia Commons.

Fact 59. Ridges on coins have a purpose

Coins have ridges to deter counterfeiting, as people used to shave the edges off coins back when they were made of gold and silver.

Image Credit: vbice / istockphoto.

Fact 60. Quarters are groovy!

There are 119 grooves on the outside of a quarter.

Image Credit: libre de droit / istockphoto.

Fact 61. Sorry, you can’t have your face on money if you’re reading this

No living person can have their face on currency.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

Fact 62. The first U.S. woman on a coin wasn’t even American

Queen Isabella of Spain was the first woman to appear on a U.S. coin.

Image Credit: United States Mint – Charles Barber / Wikimedia Commons.

Fact 63. Non-presidents are on U.S. bills

Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton are the only non-President to appear on a U.S. bill.

Image Credit: Radionphoto / istockphoto.

Fact 64. $2 bills are cool, but not with superstitious people

$2 bills are largely considered unlucky.

Image Credit: barr5557 / istockphoto.

Fact 65. Thank Pablo Escobar for this one…

Eighty-five to 95% of paper money contains traces of cocaine.

Image Credit: Vadym Plysiuk / istockphoto.

Fact 66. The $1 bill is due for an upgrade

The $1 bill hasn’t had a redesign in over 50 years.

Image Credit: jokerpro / istockphoto.

Fact 67. U.S. dollar bills have discreet security designs

Security threads on different U.S. bills glow in different colors.

Image Credit: tapui / istockphoto.

Fact 68. U.S. dollar bills have a good profit margin

All U.S. bills cost less than 20 cents to make.

Image Credit: OlyaSolodenko / istockphoto.

Fact 69. U.S. dollar bills can be printed in one of two places

All U.S. dollar bills are printed in either Washington, D.C. or Fort Worth, Texas.

Image Credit: lucky-photographer / istockphoto.

Fact 70. States could make their own money before the consititution

The original Article of Confederation (the predecessor to the Constitution) gave states the right to make their own money.

Image Credit: yangchao / istockphoto.

71. The Civil War had specific currency made by the U.S. government

“Greenbacks” were paper currency issued by the U.S. during the Civil War.

Image Credit: National Numismatic Collection,National Museum of American History / Wikimedia Commons .

Fact 72. The Confederate, however, had their own currency during the Civil War

“Greybacks” were paper currency issued by the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.

Image Credit: National Numismatic Collection – National Museum of American History / Wikimedia Commons.

Fact 73. U.S. currency stretches international borders

Two-thirds of U.S. currency is found outside the U.S.

Image Credit: Evgen_Prozhyrko / istockphoto.

Fact 74. Got ink?

7 tons of ink is used to print money every day.

Image Credit: vladacanon / istockphoto.

Fact 75. Need to use change for a dollar? You got options

There are 293 ways to make change for $1.

Image Credit: TRITOOTH / istockphoto.

Fact 76. I dare you to try ripping a dollar bill

A bill can be folded 4,000 times forward and backward before it will rip.

Image Credit: alfexe / istockphoto.

Fact 77. “In God We Trust” isn’t an old phrase

The motto “In God We Trust” first appeared in 1963.

Image Credit: AAUB / istockphoto.

Fact 78. The silver dollar’s eagle actually existed

The bird on the silver dollar was a real eagle named Peter.

Image Credit: juicybits / istockphoto.

Fact 79. Coins have a long circulation life

Coins can last an average of 30 years in circulation.

Image Credit: RoschetzkyIstockPhoto / istockphoto.

Fact 80. $1 bills are heavier than $100 bills

One million $1 bills would weigh 2,040.8 pounds, while one million in $100 bills would weigh only 20.4 pounds.

Image Credit: Jay Pierstorff / istockphoto.

Fact 81. “Buck” comes from the actual animal

The slang “buck” comes from times before paper money when Americans would trade buck animals for goods and services.

Image Credit: EEI_Tony / istockphoto.

Fact 82. The dollar was born in 1785

The U.S. officially adopted the dollar as its unit of currency in 1785.

Image Credit: jmbatt / istockphoto.

Fact 83. The gold standard is a thing of the past now

The U.S. went off the gold standard (currency is backed by gold) on August 15th, 1971.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

Fact 84. The only number on coins is their birth year

The only number on a coin is the year it was minted.

Image Credit: peterspiro / istockphoto.

Fact 85. Billions of dollar bills are in circulation

There are between 7.5 and 9 billion $1 bills in circulation at any given time.

Image Credit: PixelsEffect / istockphoto.

Fact 86. MYOB , will you?

The motto on the first U.S. coin was “Mind Your Business.”

Image Credit: Scovill Mint in Waterbury, Connecticut / WikiMedia Commons.

Fact 87. Nickels cost more than dimes in production

Nickels are more expensive to make than dimes.

Image Credit: jdwfoto / istockphoto.

Fact 88. The time 4:10 has significance

The clock in the steeple of Independence Hall on the back of the $100 bill is set to 4:10.

Image Credit: Ruslan Lytvyn / istockphoto.

Fact 89. North Korea has a history of U.S. money fraud

North Korea is the greatest culprit of counterfeit American currency.

Image Credit: themotioncloud / istockphoto.

Fact 90. Modern pennies aren’t actually made of copper

Today’s pennies are made from 95% zinc and coated in copper.

Image Credit: Bet_Noire / istockphoto.

Fact 91. We are in A LOT of debt as consumers

The total outstanding U.S. consumer debt is currently $3.9 trillion.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

Fact 92. More than a third of that debt is from credit cards

Thirty-seven percent of all households carry some sort of credit card debt.

Image Credit: keira01 / istockphoto.

Fact 93. Do you know your net worth?

One in five Americans have a zero or negative net worth.

Image Credit: Damir Khabirov / istockphoto.

Fact 94. Gambling brings the most U.S. revenue

Gambling in the U.S. brings in more revenue than theme parks, sporting events, cruise ships and music combined.

Image Credit: Depositphotos.

Fact 95. Forget retiring at 65

Ninety-six percent of Americans will not be able to retire by age 65.

Image Credit: CREATISTA / istockphoto.

Fact 96. Student loan debt is a real problem

The total amount of outstanding student loan debt hit $1 trillion in 2012.

Image Credit: zimmytws / istockphoto.

Fact 97. Car loans are going up

The average new car loan is now more than $30,000.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

Fact 98. Interest is a never-ending cycle

The average American will pay more than $600,000 in interest over their lifetime.

Image Credit: William_Potter / istockphoto.

Fact 99. In fact, 12% of your income goes towards it

Twleve percent of the money taken home by the average American family is spent on interest.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

Fact 100. Can you cover an expense of $400 or more?

Forty-seven percent of Americans cannot cover a $400 expense without borrowing money or selling something.

Image Credit: CrispyPork/istockphoto.

Moral of the story


What a list of money facts. The founding fathers would be proud.

While the majority of our articles seek to impart deep and profound finance knowledge, we thought we’d change things up a bit for the election by compiling 101 fascinating money facts for you to peruse and do with what you will.

Hey, at least you’ll be able to clean up on Jeopardy night!

Talk about Money Learned.

This article originally appeared on MoneySavedMoneyEarned.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

Image Credit: Julia_Sudnitskaya / istockphoto.