Friday, January 18, 2008

The Best Things in Life Are Free ...

... but you can give 'em to the birds and bees ...

Came across an interesting site while doing some research on American paper money, sparked by the fact that the ten and twenty dollar bills both feature men who were wounded or killed in duels.

Most of you probably know the faces of the men on the current circulating denominations up to a hundred (and not counting coins): Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Hamilton, Jackson, Grant, and Franklin. Five presidents, a secretary of the treasury, and an original American patriot and signer of the Declaration of Independence, plus the apocryphal kite and all.

But did you know that there used to be much larger bills floating around? $500, McKinley; $1000, Cleveland; $5000, Madison, and $10,000, Salmon P. Chase. Three presidents and a banker. I am given to understand they took those out of circulation for a number of reasons, not the least of which was to address the problem of counterfeiting. A bogus twenty is one thing, a fake ten thou note would sting if you got stuck with it. Plus there weren't a lot of places to use such notes. Big Mac, fries, a Coke, here you go, got change for a Chase ... ?

Only two women who were real people appear on the paper money. Martha Washington and Pocahontas.

One Native American man made it onto the green: Running Antelope -- a Sioux, who was depicted in a Pawnee headdress by an idiot of an artist, which pissed off both the Sioux and Pawnee.

Ain't the internet great?


Dan Moran said...

I could see a use for a $1,000 bill, what with inflation and all. Get to be a pain, hauling around those boxes of hundreds.

Edwin Voskamp said...

And the $100,000 featuring Woodrow Wilson.

All the large denomination bills are still legal tender, but were last printed at the end of WWII and discontinued by Nixon. A few hundred of both the $5,000 and $10,000 bills are supposed to exist, amongst them the ones that were part of the Binion's Horseshoe casino $1,000,000 display.

Steve Perry said...

Yeah, the 100K bills were orange on the back, but never put into general circulation, but used only in the banking industry.

Be fun to have one to carry around in your wallet as mad money.

Mark Jones said...

I also suspect that they discontinued the large denomination bills mostly as a way to make the drug trade harder. Huge wads of cash get way harder to move (or hide) when you can't use large denomination bills. $100,000 in $1000 bills is a lot less bulky than $100,000 in twenties or fifties.