Contemplating cash: Little-known facts about your money

 In Life lessons

Though most of us think about money mostly when we don’t have enough of it, its history and development can be fascinating. Here’s a quick list of some surprising facts about U.S. cash.

• The biggest bill. The highest U.S. denomination was the $100,000 bill, bearing the likeness of Woodrow Wilson and issued in limited numbers in 1934 for Federal Reserve Bank transactions. The largest bill in public circulation was the $10,000 bill, bearing the face of Salmon P. Chase.

• The smallest bill. Paper money was first introduced in the U.S. during the Civil War to combat a shortage of coins. Bills were printed and distributed in denominations of 20 cents, 25 cents, and 5 cents.

• Groovy coins. A dime has 118 grooves along its edge; a quarter has 119. Ridges originally were added to make counterfeiting difficult; today they mainly serve the purpose of helping people with impaired vision to identify coins by touch.

• Change for a dollar. There are said to be 293 different combinations of coins capable of making change for one dollar.

• The weight of wealth. One million dollars in one-dollar bills would weigh about 2,040 pounds; in 100-dollar bills, that cool million would weigh in at about 20.4 pounds.

• Old vs. new money. A dollar bill typically lasts about 18 months in circulation before being “retired.” Five-dollar bills endure for about two years. Fifty- and hundred-dollar bills hang on for nine years.

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