Everyone spends money, but not everyone understands where it comes from. The dollar bill is one of the most ubiquitous forms of currency in the country, so it only makes sense that you know what exactly it is you’re using to trade for goods and services. Here are eight surprising facts about the dollar bill that just might shock you!
Number Eight: Your Dollar Bill Will Eventually Self-Destruct. The average dollar bill only lasts about 18 months before it disintegrates. The wear and tear of exchanging hands, sitting in pockets and going through washing machines really exhausts the fibers in the bill. Speaking of wear and tear…
Number Seven: Your Ripped Bills Are Still Worth the Whole Dollar. As long as over half of your bill is intact, merchants are legally obligated to take your dollar. So forget the tape – throw away the smaller half and hope some poor fool tries to spend it!
Number Six: Almost All Dollar Bills Are Contaminated. Over 90% of all dollar bills contain trace amounts of cocaine. The same percentage of dollar bills are covered – and we mean covered – in bacteria. That doesn’t necessarily mean every dollar will make you sick, but you probably don’t want to stick your fingers in your mouth after handling money.
Number Five: That “Paper” Isn’t Actually Paper. Try ripping a dollar bill, and you’ll see it doesn’t behave quite like paper. Dollar bills are actually made of a combination of linen and cotton, so next time you hear someone say “Money doesn’t grow on trees,” you can tell them that money doesn’t sew itself, either.
Number Four: The Secret Service Was Created to Protect the Dollar Bill. Though you may think the main job of the secret service is to protect important people, originally the service was created to battle counterfeit bills. The service was created in 1865, when nearly one third of all money was thought to be counterfeit.
Number Three: You Can Track Every Dollar You Spend. Using the website “Where’s George?” people can track their money using the serial numbers found on bills. Some bills that have been tracked have the signature red stamp on them.
Number Two: Approximately $70 Million of Counterfeit Dollars Are Currently in Circulation. You may have come in contact with a counterfeit bill and not even realized it. One trick to detect counterfeit money is to run your finger along the lapel of the person on the bill. You should feel small ridges along their lapel. No ridges? Not real (or very, very, very old) money.
Number One: The Dollar Bill Comprises 45% of All U.S. Currency. Nearly half of all currency in circulation in the United States are dollar bills. Though the penny has gotten a lot of hate as of late, we doubt the dollar bill will experience that anytime soon.