38 Incredible Facts About The Modern U.S. Dollar

We’ve previously showed you 31 Fascinating Facts About the Dollar’s Early History, which highlighted the history of U.S. currency before the 20th century. This was a very interesting period in which we looked at the money used by the first colonists, the extreme bust of the Continental currency, the era of privately-issued bank notes, and Congress’ emergency issuance of the fiat “greenback” during the Civil War.

However, as The Money Project - an ongoing collaboration between Visual Capitalist and Texas Precious Metals that seeks to use intuitive visualizations to explore the origins, nature, and use of money - notes, the modern era of the U.S. dollar is just as interesting. We have it starting in 1913, when the Federal Reserve Act was passed by Woodrow Wilson. Not only did it establish a new central bank, but it also gave the Fed the authority to issue the Federal Reserve Note, which is (for now) the dominant form of U.S. currency both domestically and abroad.

Courtesy of: The Money Project

A New Legal Tender

Leading up to the 20th century, there were four main forms of U.S. currency being used:

  • Gold and silver coins
  • Gold and silver certificates
  • Commercial bank notes, issued by private banks and backed by government bonds
  • “Greenbacks”, a fiat currency declared legal by Congress to help fund the Civil War

In 1913, however, the Federal Reserve Note was authorized as U.S. currency. The new notes were supposed to be backed by gold or other “lawful money”, based on the stipulations of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.

However, this only lasted about 20 years. By the time of the Great Depression, the Fed considered itself to be in a tight spot. It simply did not have enough gold to back all Federal Reserve Notes and Gold Certificates in circulation, and at the same time wanted flexibility with monetary policy to fight deflation and unemployment.

In 1933, the Emergency Banking Act was passed by President Roosevelt, and Executive Order 6102 was also signed. The latter move famously criminalized monetary gold, and ended the gold standard.

After all, if gold can’t be legally owned, it can’t be legally redeemed.

Modern Paper Money

After a brief return to a pseudo gold standard after WWII, Nixon severed all remaining ties between gold and money in 1971. Since then, U.S. money has been purely fiat, and backed by the government rather than any physical commodity or precious metal.

Some facts on today’s paper money:

  • There is $1.54 trillion of U.S. currency in circulation, and 97% of that is Federal Reserve Notes
  • Over two-thirds of all $100 bills are held outside the U.S.
  • Dollar bills can be folded at least 8,000 times, which is 20x more than a normal sheet of paper
  • That’s because dollar bills are made of a special 75% cotton and 25% linen blend, patented by Crane & Co.
  • The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing produces 38 million notes every day, worth $541 million
  • The two facilities, located in Washington, D.C. and Fort Worth, Texas use 9.7 tons of ink per day
  • For 2017, the Fed ordered 7.1 billion new notes, worth $209 billion
  • More than 70% of these notes are used to replace damaged ones
  • Notes with smaller denominations ($1, $5, $10) tend to last for shorter periods of time, due to more frequent usage


The coins used today are similar to U.S. Federal Reserve Notes in that their face values tend to greatly exceed their intrinsic values.

This is because cheaper metals such as copper, zinc, and nickel are used instead of gold or silver.

  • The average lifespan of a coin is 25 years, according to the U.S. Mint
  • It’s estimated that Americans throw away around $62 million of coins every year
  • In 2016, the U.S. Mint produced 16 trillion coins, valued at over $1.09 billion
  • The amount of copper in a penny has fluctuated over the years. It ranges from 0% (in WWII, pennies were made of steel so copper could be used for ammunition) to 95%.
  • Today’s pennies are 2.5% copper, with the remainder being 97.5% zinc

Just Remember, Nothing Last Forever...

Source: The Burning Platform


Tallest Skil Sun, 07/09/2017 - 23:55 Permalink

“No $20s, please,” if that fucking stupid Tubman note ever actually gets produced. Same with any of the other 5 and 10 bastardizations. Also, the "eye of god", huh? More like the eye of Moloch.

r0mulus Déjà view Mon, 07/10/2017 - 02:56 Permalink

Lol- yup. I'm 100% sure that MLK Jr. would have vigorously objected to being the face of money for the US government that assassinated him (according to the us civil court verdict). It's really hard for me to call this anything else but official government blaxsploitation. The populace would be so much happier with just better police, nay, governmental, accountability. The worst part is that the centrist dem-publicans will pat themselves on the back over this and point to it as an unassailable form of virtue while we continue to oppress the remaining independent or autonomous brown persons elsewhere around the world!The levels of ignorance, especially that which is convinced it is reliably informed, are depressingly high right now. America is a pretty alienating place if you aren't blue-pilled out of your mind on government kool-aid :/

In reply to by Déjà view

AnarchistRex r0mulus Mon, 07/10/2017 - 05:18 Permalink

That's probably the reason they will put King on the note  ... same with Andrew Jackson being on the Twenty -- Jackson shut down the central bank and called them "a den of vipers" ... his gravestone reads: "I beat the bank".  He shut the banksters out of the US for decades.  So the banksters put him on their money as a joke -- as if to say, no Mr. Jackson, we beat you.

In reply to by r0mulus

onmail1 Sun, 07/09/2017 - 23:56 Permalink

Using US dollar means
that you are slave to America (and to west)
they print dollars, euro & pound endlessly
and buy all your good stuff
The rest of the world has become a slave
to dollar currency
whereas the white man has only insatiable desire
for your products & services
they throw few dollars & euros & fckk ur daughters




amusedobserver Mon, 07/10/2017 - 01:20 Permalink

Regarding #23:The smallest unit coin is the penny valued at one one-hundredth of a dollar, or .01 dollars.  If 16 trillion coins were produced, AND IF THEY WERE ALL PENNIES, the total value would be $160 billion.  How can the total value of all coins produced in 2016 be only $1.09 billion? Does anybody ever proofread their own work anymore?  How could something this stupid get published?

Anteater Rusty Shorts Mon, 07/10/2017 - 02:54 Permalink

And the luciferian satanic Pentagon budget goes up 13% every year since the Israeli's dancing on roof tops and Cheney's shekhinah ('shock and awe' google it). The Chosen like to mark their territory. We are -$20T in thrall to their goat gods. They are willing to slit our grandchildrens' throats on their altar of beelzebub and moloch.

In reply to by Rusty Shorts

Truthseeker20 Mon, 07/10/2017 - 02:00 Permalink

This article is getting us ready for the UN taking over the death of the dollar. NWO is around the corner.......It is a pc article. It doesnt tell us the truth about the eye on top ofvthe pyramid.

Fireman Mon, 07/10/2017 - 02:48 Permalink

AuAgandlots of Pb. "Gold is money, everything else is credit."JP Morgue https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFDe5kUUyT0 Onward to the inevitable co££ap$€ of bankster fiat filth!
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Batman11 Batman11 Mon, 07/10/2017 - 05:10 Permalink

The BoE:http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Documents/quarterlybulletin/2014/qb14q1prereleasemoneycreation.pdf “Although commercial banks create money through lending, they cannot do so freely without limit. Banks are limited in how much they can lend if they are to remain profitable in a competitive banking system.”The limit for money creation holds true when banks keep the debt they issue on their own books.The BoE’s statement was true, but is not true now as banks can securitize bad loans and get them off their books.Before 2008, banks were securitising all the sub-prime mortgages, e.g. NINJA mortgages, and getting them off their books.Money is being created freely and without limit, M3 is going exponential before 2008.This is the US money supply leading up to 2008:http://www.whichwayhome.com/skin/frontend/default/wwgcomcatalogarticles/images/articles/whichwayhomes/US-money-supply.jpgEverything is reflected in the money supply.The money supply is flat in the recession of the early 1990s.Then it really starts to take off as the dot.com boom gets going which rapidly morphs into the US housing boom, courtesy of Alan Greenspan’s loose monetary policy.When M3 gets closer to the vertical, the black swan is coming and you have an out of control credit bubble on your hands (money = debt).This is what Glass-Steagall was designed to stop, it could only happen again after it had been repealed.https://cdn.opendemocracy.net/neweconomics/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/04/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13.52.41.png 1929 and 2008 stick out like sore thumbs. 

In reply to by Batman11

RedBaron616 Mon, 07/10/2017 - 07:24 Permalink

It is called paper bills in the article right before it tells you that they are 75% cotton and 25% linen. That means that dollar bills are really made of cloth. Paper is derived from trees. This kind of goof doesn't exactly give me much confidence about the rest of the "facts."

smokintoad RedBaron616 Mon, 07/10/2017 - 09:50 Permalink

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotton_paper Cotton paper, also known as rag paper, is made using cotton linters or cotton from used cloth (rags) as the primary material. Important documents are often printed on cotton paper, because it is known to last many years without deterioration. Cotton paper is superior in both strength and durability to wood pulp-based paper, which may contain high concentrations of acids, and also absorbs ink or toner better. Different grades of cotton paper can be produced.

In reply to by RedBaron616

onmail1 Tue, 07/11/2017 - 01:26 Permalink

US dollar

The Instrument to Enslave The Whole World

We print , u give up all ur best

U cant develop N-option
rather u buy arms from us
(& destroy each other, remain poor)