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16 Mind-Blowing Facts About Money That Will Make Your Jaw Drop

Harriet Tubman will soon replace Andrew Jackson as the face of the $20 bill, becoming the first woman in more than a 100 years and first African American ever to appear on the front of a paper note. But this is far from the first big change our nation currency has seen.

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Pennies used to be a lot snarkier

istock/Catherine Lane

Renaissance nerd Benjamin Franklin designed America’s first U.S. penny in 1787. Instead of E PLURIBUS UNUM, it was emblazoned with the motto: "MIND YOUR BUSINESS".

That eagle was a celebrity


The eagle on your money may have a name. From 1830 to 1836, a certain bird swooped into Philadelphia’s U.S. Mint building so often that workers named him “Peter the Mint Eagle,” cared for him, and allegedly used him as a model for coin engravings for years to come.

Pennies could bankrupt us


Today, it costs more than a penny to make a penny. According to the U.S. Mint, it costs them roughly 1.7 cents per coin. Here are some genius uses for all those spare pennies.

Your change makes the TSA wealthier


Change adds up fast. In 2015, the TSA collected $765,759.15 in loose change at airport security checkpoints across the country. They get to keep it all.

Paper money is not paper


U.S. paper money is not paper at all: It's 75 percent cotton and 25 percent linen. In Ben Franklin’s day, people repaired torn bills with a needle and thread.

Money: the ultimate compost


Today, we trash them. A farm in Delaware mulches more than four tons of worn-out U.S. cash into compost every day.

Machine rejecting your bill? Microwave it


It takes about 4,000 double folds (first forward and then backward) before a bill will tear. It takes far fewer folds for a vending machine to reject your bill—but you can fix that by popping your Washington in the microwave for about 20 seconds to crisp it right up. Here are other unexpected things to put in the microwave.

Most paper money never sees puberty

Jonathan Kitchen/Getty Images

Bill death happens more often than you’d think. With a lifespan of about 4.5 years, the $10 bill is our shortest-living note. Our longest-living note, the $100 bill, lasts only 15 years.

$2 bills are not as unique as you think

istock/Christopher Bradshaw

$2 bills are seen as a rarity, but there are more than 1.1 billion of them in circulation. You can request some from most local banks.

Printing new money uses 9 tons of ink. EVERY. DAY.


The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing uses nearly 9 tons of ink to prints 26 million currency notes each day, with a face value of approximately $974 million. Recession? What Recession!

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