100 fascinating facts about money


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Money and politics go hand in hand.

The most important Presidential election in history is just around the corner, and you know what else prominently features Presidents?


What better way to celebrate the election than to talk about money?


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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.

Numismatics table
miki-tiger / iStock

Fact 1. The study of money

The study of money is called numismatics.

Philadelphia Mint building
RomanBabakin / iStock

Fact 2. Giddy up!

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

Chinese flag with Yuan
Grindi / iStock

Fact 3. China did it first

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

Ancient coins in sand
kvkirillov / iStock

Fact 4. Coins go waaaay back

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

Queen Elizabeth II

Fact 5. Queen Elizabeth II is a money icon

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

Different international currencies
IvancoVlad / iStock

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

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

Monopoly money
martince2 / iStock

Fact 7. Monopoly money is easier to come by

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

Credit cards

Fact 8. Real-life currency is getting more rare

Only 8% of currency is in physical form.

Public bathroom
ananaline / iStock

Fact 9. Money is actually gross

Money is estimated to be dirtier than a toilet.

Pennies in dirt
ligora / iStock

Fact 10. Goodbye, slugs, hello pennies!

Pennies planted in the garden will repel slugs.

TSA checkpoint

Fact 11. The TSA has a full piggybank

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

Little girl with allowance money
oleksagrzegorz / iStock

Fact 12. Average allowance money

The average allowance is $65 a month.

Broken jar with ancient coins
Yingko / iStock

Fact 13. Piggybanks have history behind them

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

Research center in Antartica
SteveAllenPhoto / iStock

Fact 14. ATMs stretch all seven continents

In fact, there is an ATM in Antarctica.

A pile of lottery tickets
Warren-Pender / iStock

Fact 15. Lottery tickets actually have a small following

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

Rat with money
Irina Tiumentseva / iStock

Fact 16. Pablo Escobar even made rats rich

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

Man putting money in the microwave
LightFieldStudios / iStock

Fact 17. Have shriveled dollar bills?

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

Largest banknote ever
Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Hungarian National Bank) / WikiMedia Commons

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.

Salt on money
Photosiber / iStock

Fact 19. Salary = salt?

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

Zimbabwe banknotes after inflation
swisshippo / iStock

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.

A bundle of ancient Chinese coins
VM_Studio / iStock

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.

A pile of US coins
swisshippo / iStock

Fact 22. Cent is derived from Latin

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

Livestock in a field
nobtis / iStock

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.

international space station

Fact 24. Going to space is expensive stuff

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

A sand dollar in the sand
Faina Gurevich / iStock

Fact 25. The sand dollar actually was… a dollar

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

Bill Gates

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.

Closeup of credit card companies
Kritchanut / iStock

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.

Diner's Club International Japanese credit card
Hitomi / WikiMedia Commonns

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.

Vintage BankAmericard sign
Infrogmation of New Orleans / WikiMedia Commons

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.

Apple Storefront

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

Apple earns $300,000 per minute.

U.S. Secret Service vest
Ben185 / iStock

Fact 31. The Secret Service had a different original purpose

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

Portrait of the President Ulysses S. Grant close up from 50 dollar bill
Dmytro Synelnychenko / iStock

Fact 32. Want to become a money engraver?

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

A photo from the Gold Rush in 1850
Public domain / WikiMedia Commons

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.

Woman with credit cards
Farknot_Architect / iStock

Fact 34. Adults love their credit cards

The average adult has between 8 and 10 credit cards.

A pile of credit cards
Bet_Noire / iStock

Fact 35. Some more than others…

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

Closeup of U.S. dollar bill
Nelson_A_Ishikawa / iStock

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.

Man holding up U.S. dollars with a clock
nito100 / iStock

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.

Money being printed
scanrail / iStock

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.

Worn out U.S. dollar bill

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

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

Printing $1 bills
scanrail / iStock

Fact 40. $1 bills take the lead

Almost half of all notes printed are $1 bills.

Man sleeping with money
AndreyPopov / iStock

Fact 41. Paper bills are designed with comfort in mind

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

Martha Washington
U.S. public domain / WikiMedia Commons

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.

U.S. two cent coin
Brandon Grossardt for the photograph; James Longacre for the coin design., 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.

Closeup on penny
joeygil / iStock

Fact 44. Coins tell you where they were produced

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

The U.S. Mint
davidevison / iStock

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.

A pile of quarters
ScottNodine / iStock

Fact 46. Quarters were a lot fancier at one point

Quarters were originally made of silver.

Lady Liberty quarter
wrangel / iStock

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.

U.S. coins in a row
wrangel / iStock

Fact 48. The penny likes to be bold

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

Pennies in a pile
John_Brueske / iStock

Fact 49. In fact, you lose money making pennies

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

100,000 bill
National Numismatic Collection,National Museum of American History / Wikimedia Commons

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

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

Money in the dirt
photopsist / iStock

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.

$100 bill under banknote detector
-zlaki- / iStock

Fact 52. Nothing is perfect, except fake money

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

A stack of dollar bills
Michael Burrell / iStock

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

454 bills are equal to one pound.

Inspecting $20 bill
kfb / iStock

Fact 54. $20 bills get the most heat

The most counterfeited bill is the $20 bill.

The Federal Reserve Board Building in Washington D.C.
AgnosticPreachersKid / WikiMedia Commons

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.

$1 bill closeup showing 13 colonies' stars
Mike Rosiana / iStock

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).

Walt Disney World banner
Manakin / iStock

Fact 57. Disney World has their own money

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

The Liberty Head Nickel
US Mint (coin), National Numismatic Collection (photograph by Jaclyn Nash) / Wikimedia Commons

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.

Coin ridges
vbice / iStock

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.

Side view of quarters
libre de droit / iStock

Fact 60. Quarters are groovy!

There are 119 grooves on the outside of a quarter.

Funeral casket

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.

The Isabella quarter
United States Mint – Charles Barber / Wikimedia Commons

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.

Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill
Radionphoto / iStock

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.

2 dollar bill
barr5557 / iStock

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

$2 bills are largely considered unlucky.

Money checked under UV light
Vadym Plysiuk / iStock

Fact 65. Thank Pablo Escobar for this one…

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

One dollar bills
jokerpro / iStock

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

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

Security thread on a $100 bill
tapui / iStock

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

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

Dollars with change
OlyaSolodenko / iStock

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

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

United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C.
lucky-photographer / iStock

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.

The Articles of Confederation stamp
yangchao / iStock

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.

Greenback currency during Civil War
National Numismatic Collection,National Museum of American History / Wikimedia Commons

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.

A Confederate Greyback bill
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.

Airplane on money
Evgen_Prozhyrko / iStock

Fact 73. U.S. currency stretches international borders

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

Printer ink
vladacanon / iStock

Fact 74. Got ink?

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

1 dollar bills and change

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

There are 293 ways to make change for $1.

Ripped dollar bill
alfexe / iStock

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.

In God we trust
AAUB / iStock

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

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

Silver dollar
juicybits / iStock

Fact 78. The silver dollar’s eagle actually existed

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

Coins in cash register
RoschetzkyIstockPhoto / iStock

Fact 79. Coins have a long circulation life

Coins can last an average of 30 years in circulation.

Doctor's scale
Jay Pierstorff / iStock

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.

A buck in the wild
EEI_Tony / iStock

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.

A vintage 5 dollar bill
jmbatt / iStock

Fact 82. The dollar was born in 1785

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

Gold bars

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.

A 2008 penny
peterspiro / iStock

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

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

Woman with dollar bills in wallet
PixelsEffect / iStock

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.

The fugio cent
Scovill Mint in Waterbury, Connecticut / WikiMedia Commons

Fact 86. MYOB , will you?

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

A pile of nickels and dimes
jdwfoto / iStock

Fact 87. Nickels cost more than dimes in production

Nickels are more expensive to make than dimes.

Clock on the back of the $100 bill
Ruslan Lytvyn / iStock

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.

North Korea and U.S. flag
themotioncloud / iStock

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

North Korea is the greatest culprit of counterfeit American currency.

Sheets of zInc
Bet_Noire / iStock

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

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

tax stress

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

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

credit card fees
keira01 / iStock

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.

Woman stressed over bills
Damir Khabirov / iStock

Fact 93. Do you know your net worth?

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

Roulette casino

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.

An elderly couple stressing over retirement

Fact 95. Forget retiring at 65

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

Student loan debt concept
zimmytws / iStock

Fact 96. Student loan debt is a real problem

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

buying a new car

Fact 97. Car loans are going up

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

A visual of compound interest
William_Potter / iStock

Fact 98. Interest is a never-ending cycle

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


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.

Woman selling shoes online

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.

A jar with money
Julia_Sudnitskaya / iStock

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.