Fun Facts About U.S. Money

All About Coins, Bills and The Mint

Fun Facts About U.S. Money
February 2, 2015

Did you know that it costs more to make a $5 bill than a $10, and that the average $100 bill lasts 15 years? Who are the only three women to grace American coins? We use cash and coins constantly to make purchases, but few of us give much thought to our currency beyond how we should spend it. However, there are many fun facts about U.S. money that few people ever consider.

The Average Life of Bills

Did you know that each denomination of U.S. currency has a different lifespan? According to the Federal Reserve, the average life of each bill depends on its denomination. Surprisingly, the life spans do not seem to match any particular pattern. Here is how long each denomination typically lasts:

  • $1 bill - 5.9 years
  • $5 bill - 4.9 years
  • $10 bill - 4.2 years
  • $20 bill - 7.7 years
  • $50 bill - 3.7 years
  • $100 bill - 15.0 years
Coins Last Longer Than Bills

Not surprisingly, the average life expectancy of a coin is much longer than that of a bill. According to the US Mint, coins last about 30 years, which is more than five times the life of the one-dollar bill.

It Costs Money to Make Money

Few people consider how much money it costs to print the money you use every day. The budget for making new bills in 2014 is $826.7 million. As with their life spans, each bill has a different cost based on its denomination and they do not follow a pattern. Here is how much each bill costs to produce:

  • $1 and $2 bills - 5.4 cents per bill
  • $5 bills - 10.1 cents per bill
  • $10 bills - 9.2 cents per bill
  • $20 and $50 bills - 10.2 cents per bill
  • $100 bills - 13.1 cents per bill
Women on Coins

Only three women are featured on circulating U.S. coins today. Sacagawea is featured on the golden dollar coin, Susan B. Anthony appears on the silver-colored dollar coin and Helen Keller appears on the back of the Alabama state quarter.

Only One Coin Has This Difference

Take a look at all of your coins. Did you notice that one coin is different from all of the rest in one particular feature? If you look closely, you will notice that the portraits all face to the left. However, on the Lincoln cent, the portrait faces to the right.

Coins Can Only Be Changed After 25 Years

Did you know that coins can only be changed after 25 years? Well, that is unless Congress authorizes a change prior to that time period. After 25 years, the Secretary of the Treasury may change circulating coin designs.

There are many fun facts contained in the money we carry around every day, but perhaps we spend it too quickly to notice.

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abe | 04.07.15 @ 23:12
I do not want a woman on the $20 bill.
Peng | 05.27.15 @ 16:54
That's not Sacagawea on the $1 coin. It's model Randy'L He-dow Teton. Which is illegal, because federal law prohibits putting a living person on U.S. money. I guess they figure it's ok if you call her Sacagawea, even if no one knows what Sacagawea looked like, but to me it's no more legal than putting a picture of Barack Obama on the $100 bill & calling him Ben Franklin.
$commenter.renderDisplayableName() | 12.03.16 @ 13:44
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