Strange Facts You Never Knew About Your Money

You might not think twice about the money you use every day — but you should. There could be some facts about your bills and coins that might fascinate you.

Do you know what bills are made out of? (Hint: It’s not paper). What about how long the typical bill stays in circulation? Or even why the government puts out new types of coins so often? Or how much collectors will pay for rare coins?

From the hidden messages in money to the security features you never noticed, click through to discover some interesting facts about your money.

$2 bills are often considered unlucky.

The $2 bill was first printed in 1862. Interestingly, $2 notes were considered unlucky and unpopular throughout most of history.

The back of the bill depicts the famous John Trumbull painting “Declaration of Independence” — sans five of the 47 people who appear in the original. So, although plenty of conspiracy theories about money have fixated on the $2 bill, perhaps the real controversy here is who was left out on the final design.

If you’re itching for more money facts, find out the cost behind America’s most recognizable landmarks.

A majority of U.S. bills have traces of drugs on them.

A 2009 study by chemist Yuegang Zuo of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth found that 85 percent to 95 percent of paper money in circulation contains traces of cocaine. In Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Boston and a few other major cities, bills showed traces of cocaine 100 percent of the time. Compare that to China and Japan, where the percentage was much lower at only 20 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

A bill’s life expectancy is no longer than 15 years.

After being used on a regular basis, bills wear out and are taken out of circulation. The $1 bill gets the most use and typically only lasts about 5.8 years.

However, it’s not the shortest life expectancy for a bill — that title belongs to the $10 bill, which surprising only lasts about 4.5 years. The $5 bill also has a shorter lifespan than the $1 bill, coming in at 5.5 years, whereas the $20 and $50 bills start to trend upward at 7.9 years and 8.5 years, respectively. The longest lifespan belongs to the $100 bill, which lasts an average of 15 years.

Your damaged currency can still be valuable.

If you have money that’s been badly damaged, don’t be too quick to throw it out. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing might redeem it at full value.

To qualify for the redemption, you must have more than half of the original note, including any relevant security feature. Or, you can qualify if you have less than half but are able to prove how the note was mutilated and that the missing portions were destroyed.

It takes about 10 years to become a banknote engraver.

The responsibility to approve all U.S. currency designs belongs to the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. However, banknote engravers are the ones who handle the complex and intricate job of engraving the money.

If this sounds like your dream job, you better get started: It takes a 10-year apprenticeship to become a banknote engraver. But, if that sounds like too much time, check out these high-paying finance jobs.

Commemorative coins help raise money for various causes.

From time to time, Congress authorizes the U.S. Mint to make a limited production run of special commemorative coins. These coins are still legal currency, but they’re generally not intended for general circulation.

By selling commemorative coins to collectors, the U.S. Mint has raised over $500 million to fund various museums, monuments and other programs.

People have sued over the “In God We Trust” motto on currency.

The motto “In God We Trust” hasn’t always been a staple on U.S. currency. It wasn’t until 1957 that it first appeared on paper bills, but it has appeared on the penny since 1909, the dime since 1916 and all full-, half- and quarter-dollar coins since 1908.

However, the motto isn’t appreciated by all. Kenneth Mayle, a self-described satanist from Chicago, filed a federal lawsuit in May 2017 that claimed the implicit religious message behind the motto violated his rights. A judge threw out the case, and then Mayle lost his appeal with the 7th Circuit Court of U.S. Appeals.

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