42 Incredibly Fun Facts About Money I Bet You Didn’t Know

fun money factsI love money. I love the smell of it. I love the feel of it as I swim around in it à la Scrooge McDuck.

OK, I don’t roll around in it. It’s filthy. Trust me. You will learn this shortly.

But I really do enjoy money. I love learning about it too.

When FXX was running a “The Simpsons” marathon last summer, I knew I couldn’t miss the $10 trillion dollar bill episode. It is easily my favorite.

Here are a few short clips of my favorite scenes.

While the story is fictional, it made me consider, “What are some real facts about money that would be fun to learn about?”

After burning the midnight oil and reading through the National Archives, I have the following money facts I know you will enjoy.

42 Fun Facts About Money

#1. One bill weighs 1 gram and 454 bills equal one pound.

This means if you have $1 million in singles, it would weigh over 1 ton!

A suitcase of $1 million in $100 bills weighs over 20 pounds!

Speaking of $100 bills, close to 80% of the U.S. currency is in $100 bills.

The odd thing is I rarely see a $100 bill, not to mention most places I go have signs saying they no longer accept them.

#2. The Federal Reserve is missing 2/3 of the $100 bills they printed.

They counted up all of the $100 bills there are in banks, cash registers, etc. and found that close to 2/3 of the $100 bills are unaccounted for.

In other words, they are most likely overseas.

Conspiracy theorists are on the case and blaming The Illuminati!

#3. The most counterfeited denomination of money is the $20 bill.

counterfeit money

The next most counterfeited bill is the $100 bill.

In foreign countries, the US $100 bill is the most frequently counterfeited.

And since we are on the topic of counterfeiting, according to the Coinage Act of 1972, counterfeiting by Mint employees is punishable by death.

#4. North Korea is the largest counterfeiter.

North Korea has mastered the art of counterfeiting U.S. currency, specializing in a perfect replica of our $50 and $100 bills.

Their fakes are so impressive that they are referred to as “superdollars,” and require specialized equipment at the Federal Reserve to be detected.

As of 2009, an estimated $45 million worth of these fake bills have been identified.

#5. Emerich Juettner was a pro at counterfeiting.

Actually, he was horrible at counterfeiting but was smart in how and when he spent his fake bills.

He worked his scam by counterfeiting $1 bills and made just enough to survive.

As a result, it took the U.S. Secret Service 10 years to catch him. And when they did, he only spent 4 months in prison.

The best part of this money fact is that a film was made about Emerich Juettner and his counterfeiting ways, which ended up making him more money than he made from counterfeiting.

#6. The typical lifespan of a $1 bill is just 18 months.

While the lifespan of a $100 bill is close to 9 years. And you thought dogs aged fast!

Here is a total breakdown:

  • $1 bill: 18 months
  • $5 bill: 2 years
  • $10 bill: 3 years
  • $20 bill: 4 years
  • $50 bill: 9 years
  • $100 bill: 9 years
  • Coins: 30 years

#7. You can make your worn out money crisp again.

It takes about 4,000 double folds (first forward and then backward) before a bill will tear.

You can restore the life of your bill somewhat by ironing it.

#8. Money is recycled when worn out.

Worn out coins are melted down and used to make new coins.

Worn out bills are shredded, recycled, and then made into roof shingles or fireplace logs.

So the next time you buy one of those starter logs for your fireplace, you could literally be burning money!

#9. Money is dirty.

We’ve all heard how dirty money is and how reportedly there are traces of cocaine on 90% of paper money, but did you know that money is dirtier than a household toilet?

How about the fact that the flu virus can live on a bill for up to 17 days!

Note to self, stop putting money in your mouth when in a hurry at the checkout line!

#10. The Secret Service was originally made to fight counterfeiting.

In July of 1865, the U.S. Secret Service was created during the Civil War to fight counterfeiting.

Counterfeiting was a huge problem back then, and by the end of the war between 1/3 and 1/2 of all U.S. paper currency in circulation was counterfeit.

#11. Before the Federal Reserve in 1913, each bank printed its own money.

Oh to be a bank employee in 1910! I’d have suits made out of $100 bills.

No wonder the rich would light their cigars with $100s!

burning money

#12. Germans used money as wallpaper.

After World War I, hyperinflation wreaked havoc on the German currency, causing it to lose almost all of its value.

As a result, people would give money to kids to play with, and many people used it as wallpaper.

#13. Move to Zimbabwe to be a billionaire overnight.

Around the start of the 2000s, Zimbabwe experienced hyperinflation that peaked in 2008.

Just how bad was the hyperinflation?

At the peak, a single U.S. Dollar was worth 2,621,984,228 Zimbabwe Dollars.

So if you had just a $1 bill and moved to Zimbabwe, you would be a billionaire.

Unfortunately, a loaf of bread cost 10,487,936,912 Zimbabwe Dollars.

#14. Only 8% of the world’s currency is actual physical money.

No, the rest isn’t Bitcoin.

The majority of transactions are all done digitally so no physical currency exchanges hands.

Think about how often you pay for things with your credit or debit card, or online using PayPal.

This is why only 8% of currency is physical money.

#15. More monopoly money is printed in a given year than money in the entire world.

monopoly money

How crazy is that?

I wonder why Rich Uncle Pennybags is never mentioned on the Forbes Billionaires List?

#16. Speaking of printing money, the US prints money at 2 facilities.

The United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing (also called the “Money Factory”) has two active facilities from which it prints money today.

Combined, these two facilities use an astounding 9.7 tons of ink per day.

I want to know which company they buy the ink from so I can invest my money there!

#17. The ink used to print money is high tech.

So high tech that it has trackable, magnetic, and color changing properties.

My question is, why can’t I get my hands on color changing ink? That would spruce up the meeting reports I have to print out at my business!

#18. The blue ribbon in $100 bills dances.

The blue ribbon woven through the new hundred dollar bill contains thousands of micro lenses that give the appearance of the Liberty Bell dancing.

#19. Money engravers are extremely skilled.

Not only do money engravers work with incredible precision, but they also have to illustrate backwards.

The designs they cut into the plates is the mirror image of what it will look like when it is printed.

Think this job sounds fun? It takes close to 15 years of training to become an engraver.

#20. The U.S. once made a $100,000 bill.

The largest bill ever produced (no not the $10 trillion dollar bill) was the $100,000 gold certificate.

It was made to be used between banks and not for the general public.

#21. Martha Washington is the only woman to appear on a U.S. currency note.

She was on paper money back in 1886, 1891, and 1896.

Since then, no woman has been featured on paper money.

But women have been featured on coins a number a of times.

#22. The first gold rush was in North Carolina.

gold nuggets

Most people think the first gold rush was in 1849 in California.

But in 1799, a 12-year-old boy found a 17-pound gold nugget on his family’s farm.

Word spread fast and the gold rush soon followed.

And to think of all the digging I did as a kid and all I found were rocks and dirt.

#23. Secret designs on the $1 bill links it to the original 13 colonies.

If you look closely at the $1 bill, you will notice a few interesting things tied to the number 13 which is a reference to the original 13 colonies.

Remember these weird money facts the next time financial trivia comes up at trivia night.

  • 13 different representations of the number 13 on the bill.
  • 13 steps on the pyramid.
  • 13 vertical bars on the shield.
  • 13 horizontal stripes on the top of the shield.
  • 13 stars above the eagle.
  • 13 leaves and 13 berries on the olive branch in one of the eagle’s talons, and in its other there are 13 arrows.
  • On the front of the bill, on the Department of Treasury seal, there are 13 stars above the key.

#24. All 50 states are listed across the top of the Lincoln Memorial on the back of a $5 bill.

I didn’t believe this when I read it.

But then I checked it out and all 50 states are in fact listed.

In order to read them, you are going to need a magnifying glass.

#25. Over 60 communities throughout the U.S. have their own local currency.

While every place in the Us will accept US currency, there are some places that have their own money.

And you can only use this money in these communities.

Walt Disney World is one such place. Here is a list of the others.

#26. Apple makes on average over $163 million a day.

If you do the math, that comes to $1 million about every eight minutes.

So by the time you finish reading this article, Apple made over $2 million!

#27. Quarters and dimes have ridges because people used to “shave” the edges of the coins when they were made of pure metal.

Merchants had to weigh the coins to make sure they were receiving unshaved coins.

The ridges made it almost impossible to shave them.

The coins still have ridges today, even though they aren’t made of pure metal any longer.

The reason?

So visually impaired people can distinguish between them easier.

#28. Pennies in your garden deter pests.

Pennies buried in a garden will repel slugs, which get electric shocks from touching copper and zinc.

#29. A penny costs more to manufacture than it is worth.

It costs the government roughly $0.02 to make a single penny.

No wonder we’re in debt!

#30. Loose change really does add up.

In 2015 the TSA collected $765,759.15 in loose change at airport security checkpoints across the country.

This proves you should download the free Qapital app and take advantage of your loose change.

And if you were wondering what happened to the loose change the TSA collected, they kept all of it.

#31. The average person has $56 of loose change in their house.

loose change

Other than the couch, I don’t know where this loose change is hiding, but apparently it’s there.

My question is how did they complete this research study?

Did they assign people to go into people’s homes and dig around?

If so, there has to be other fascinating studies of other random things they found.

#32. The average allowance is now $65 a month.

You read that right.

Long gone are the days of getting $5 for an allowance.

According to a survey, kids today get close to $800 a year from an allowance.

All I know is if I were a kid today, I would be investing that money so I could retire by the time I hit 40!

#33. Curious where piggy banks originated from?

In Old English “pygg” was a type of clay that was used for making jars and dishes that held money.

Over the generations, the word eventually morphed into “piggy bank.”

#34. There are ATMs on every continent on Earth.

There are over 1.6 million ATMs in the world, and there is even one in Antarctica.

Why there is an ATM in Antarctica beats me.

Last time I checked, there weren’t any retail shopping centers there.

When are ATMs used most?

Friday is the most popular day at the ATM.

Here is another fun banking fact. The average amount people withdraw is $80.

#35. More than half of lottery tickets sold are bought by 5% of people. 

While it is fun to play the lottery once in a while and dream of a life with $200 million, the reality is we barely have a chance of winning.

Someone needs to tell these 5% of people that they could be doing much better financially if they simply invested the money they used to buy lottery tickets.

#36. Women who wait to marry earn more.

A study discovered that women who wait until age 30 or older to marry earn more money.

In fact, the average difference is over $18,000 a year.

I guess this is because marrying younger means starting a family earlier and missing out on years of income and potential raises at work.

#37. The lottery kills you.

lottery tickets

Sticking with the lottery, a person who drives 10 miles to buy a lottery ticket is 3 times more likely to die in a car accident while driving to buy the ticket than they are in winning the lottery.

Just another reason why you are better off saving and investing your money instead.

#38. Pablo Escobar spent $2,500 a month in rubber bands.

How about that money fact?

When his drug cartel was booming, they spent $2,500 a month to hold all of the bricks of money together.

#39. Rats like to eat money.

And if that last money fact wasn’t crazy enough for you, how about this one.

Pablo Escobar had so much money in his warehouse that rats ate roughly $1 billion and it didn’t matter.

Must be nice to lose that amount of money and not care.

#40. A coin once sold for over $40 million dollars.

The 1913 Liberty Head nickel sold for $43.7 million dollars.

It is a rare coin made by a rogue Mint employee.

Apparently, there are only 5 known to be in existence.

And while we are on the subject of rare coins, here are the 5 rarest coins.

  • 1849 Double Eagle: No 1849 Double Eagles were struck for circulation and only two proof versions of the coin are known to exist. One of the coins is a part of the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution. A second coin was presented to then-Treasury Secretary William M. Meredith and was later sold as part of his estate. The present location of this coin remains unknown. If this coin ever surfaces into the market, it would easily sell for more than $10 million.
  • 1804 Draped Bust Silver Dollar: This was one of the most valuable U.S. coins until the sale of the 1933 Double Eagle in 2002. Because dies were used until they wore out, most of the silver dollars minted in 1804 were dated 1803. Only 8 examples of the 1804 are known to exist.
  • 1776 Continental Dollar: In 1776, the Revolutionary War was underway and the U.S. wanted to show its independence by producing its own currency. The coins were originally to be minted in silver but the U.S. could not secure a loan of the metal. The circulating coins were minted using a pewter alloy. Although the coins had no intrinsic value, they were much more desired than paper currency. An entire book could be written on the significance of this piece.
  • 1880 $4 Stella (coiled hair): The Stella was one of many proposals made to Congress for an international trade coin, with a face value of $4 to match the value of the Spanish 20-paseta, Dutch 8-florin, Austrian 8-florin, Italian 20-lire, and French 20-franc pieces. Very few of the coins were minted and given to members of the U.S. Congress. Eyebrows were raised when some of the coins later turned up at area brothels. A Proof 66 example sold at auction in 2005 for $977,500.
  • 1915-S Pan-Pac $50: These large $50 “slugs” weigh in at nearly 2.5 ounces of gold. They were minted in 1915 to commemorate the opening of the Panama Canal. Two varieties were created, round and octagonal. The round issues have a surviving population of 483 and the octagonal at 645 coins. These coins sold at the exposition for $100 each, but today’s price is over six figures for one in gem condition.

#41. There are 293 ways to make change for $1.

When I learn this money fact, I spent 15 minutes coming up with different ways.

I found 57, then got tired.

I’m sure there is a site out there that lets you plug in the info and it will tell you all 293 ways.

#42. If you have $10 in your pocket and you have no debt, you are wealthier than 25% of Americans.

In other words, you are wealthier than close to 81 million people.

I don’t even know what to say about this.

Final Thoughts

So there you have a handful of interesting and fun facts about money.

I hope you liked them.

Just be sure to try and remember some of them so when you are at Quizzo night, and financial trivia comes up, you can score points.

In all seriousness, at the end of the day, I enjoy money because it gives me options in life.

When you stay out of debt and build your savings, you have the option to take an incredible vacation, work a job you love regardless of the salary, or even retire early.

In fact, I was able to take a job I love because of the freedom money offers.

In 2013 I left my job and began to blog full-time.

Money really can open up many doors for you. Just don’t let money control your life and the decisions you make.

Use it as a tool to help you get the most out of life.

You do that first by avoiding debt at all costs.

You also need to set up a budget so you know where your money is going.

This will help you save as much as you can each month.

Finally, you need to invest your money, as investing successfully will grow your wealth and open up more doors in life.

Here are some great articles to help you get started.

24 thoughts on “42 Incredibly Fun Facts About Money I Bet You Didn’t Know”

  1. That’s a bit of a relief because I have more than $10 in my pocket but sad and in shock because of that fact about Americans. By the way, I enjoyed your fun facts about money and agree that money is just a tool.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Jason. It really is depressing about the stat about $10. Really makes you wonder what others are doing with their money.

      1. There is a lot to be said about the “Jones” people only appear to have money… when you peel back their financial curtain… There are a lot of people in the US who have less net worth than homeless people on the street…

        The big difference is in their ability to go out and generate income to change that..

        Way off topic from your Blog post… But I would suspect some of these arrogant folks on here are in debt up their eyeballs…
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZvYvOkqxA8

  2. Enjoyed your article – thanks. My wife and I live debt free, looks like we are the exception to the rule. I find the personal and government debt situation disturbing. Additionally your point about money being dirtier than a household toilet brings new meaning to me regarding the term “dirty money”.

    1. I find it disturbing too. I just don’t know what can be done about it. I’m sure it requires a handful of changes and not one magic bullet.

  3. Yuck about the germy money! While I always figured it was dirty, I didn’t realize it was that bad! Interesting about the penny…I’ve heard it before and have heard the some people support eliminating it altogether!

    1. Every so often I hear the debate about doing away with the penny as well. I guess it would be tougher than we think. Prices and taxes would all have to be adjusted. Or you could just round up or down depending on the ending amount, but that would make for one accounting nightmare come year end!

  4. I have more than $10 in my pocket…but I also have a mortgage so I have debt…I’m not finding that statistic to be unusual (or even that depressing) at all. Am I seeing this wrong?

      1. That’s not what the “fun fact” says. I have a VERY positive net worth. I just also happen to have debt in that I have not paid off my low interest mortgage yet. So I’m still sticking with the mindset that this particular statistic is not as depressing as some of the others…

  5. Money doesn’t do much for me, but I like casino chips. I like holding them, stacking them, clicking them together. Unfortunately I don’t like losing them, which is their usual fate. 🙂

    1. I thought the idea of shaving down coins was fascinating myself. There is always someone out there looking to get an edge!

  6. Some very interesting (and depressing) facts here. I’ve always wondered why the US still prints it’s notes on paper. Here in Australia we’ve used a plastic polymer for our notes for many years and they last a lot longer than a couple of years.

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